Friday, October 07, 2011

Indian e-Learning Modules on the Digital Library

India's Consortium For Educational Communication is developing a series of E-learning materials for undergraduate university students. Current topics are: Advertising and Sales Promotion, Botany, Computer Science, Digital Library and Information Services, Fine Arts, History, Mass Communication & Journalism, Physics and Zoology. The materials are publicly available for peer review. I looked at the introductory e-library module "Digital Library and Information Services".

The module consists of a frames based web page (prepared using Microsoft Front Page 5.0), providing:
  1. Objectives: A list of seven objectives for the course,
  2. Download: A 24 page set of course notes in Microsoft Word format. The notes are well formatted and readable,
  3. References: A list of 14 references, most of which are to paper based sources. There are some URL (web addresses) provided, but these are not hypertext links and full references are not provided (no title, author, date, just a web address),
  4. Module: Two videos in Microsoft Media format, which do not plan on my Linux open source computer,
  5. Case study: This module has no case study,
  6. Glossary: A glossary of terms, equivalent to about two A4 pages, is provided,
  7. FAQs: About one page of frequently asked questions is provided. These appear to provide similar explanation of terms as the glossary and do not appear necessary.
  8. Quiz: There is a five question, multiple choice answer quiz. This was reasonably challenging and very useful (I did the quiz and got four out of five).
  9. Summary: A one paragraph of the course topic is provided. However, this is the right most link on the page and so less likely to be noticved. This would be better near the top right o0f the screen.
  10. Assignment: The assignment for self assessment consists of two questions. Each question is just one sentence and do not provide sufficient guidance for a student.
The materials in the module are useful, but this appears to be a very early draft of the content. Given that the Indian government's "National Mission on Education through Information and Communication Technology Project(NME-ICT) talked of open-source software being used, it is not clear why the video in the module requires Microsoft player, or why Microsoft Frontpage was used to create the web pages. The use of frames for the web design may prevent use on modern hand held devices, such as the Indian government's ‘Aakash low cost tablet computer. Content prepared using an open source educational content authoring system, such as AContent, with the content as an IMS Content Package or eBook, would be more sustainable.

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