Open Learning Resources and Community Development
By Cameroon Link
Presenjit Das works with the Institute of Distance and Open Learning of the University of Guahati in India. He explored new pathways of knowledge in the field of high education in Assam. There are over 40 open distance learning opportunities in India. The idea is about 15 years old. India is learning from all over the world and new initiatives are coming up throughout the country. Assam is a North East Indian state. Presenjit Das said, that as open distance learning is discussed, the word openness should be given consideration as a path way. Oral learning India is certainly different from oral learning in other parts of the world.
He said, in the last five years, there has been a remarkable development in the accessibility through the resources of open education. UNESCO chaired a vivid discussion on the use of OER through its International Institute of Educational Planning, IIEP, which affirms that Open Educational Resources,OER, can bring a remarkable change in community development.
According to Presenjit Das, learning in ODL must refer to cultural factors over and above psychological theories of learning. The design of materials must contain implicit references to institutional infrastructure like information channels which are important aspects of the learning process.
Open Distance Learning has to be contextualized. In Assam, in the north east of India, there are 5 major universities out of three offering higher education through open distance learning. The design of curriculum ordinarily refers to the tried and tested pedagogic methods of classroom teaching. Practice reveals that this consistently relegates ODL curriculum to the lower slot in the repertory of courses. The 11th five year development plan of the Indian government suggests an allocation of 600 million rupees for the integration of specifically ICT in school education.
As the government increases investment in ICT for education, continuous effeorts must be made to ensure that investments in technology positively impact on all aspects of education.such community development.
The Institute of Open and Distance Learning in Guahati university has taken a number of visionary initiativesby launching the first e-portal of the North East, notably www.bodhiroom.Idolgu.org on the 13th November 2009.
By providing more effective and efficient access to information, it improves collaboration and communication, integration of information and application, increased document flow and workflow, smarter decision making, increased productivity and integrated knowledge environment.
The e-portal offers an independent discussion forum and news forum for every programme, online interaction facility with fellow students, faculty members and even officials which include the administrative officer of G.U.
A Campus community radio station was launched at G.U. on the 20th November 2010 as another mew development. Addressing challenging issues, Presenjit Das said, the responsibility towards social needs of community development stands as a distinct markerof the ODL system, thus calling on practitioners to maintain practices reinforcing ideas of openness with reference to teacher-student relationship.