A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive e-Learning World) is an award winning indigenously built multi-modal, multimedia e-learning platform that provides an immersive e-learning experience that is almost as good as a real classroom experience developed by Amrita e-Learning Research Lab. We are a part of Amrita Vishwa Vidhyapeetham, one of the fastest growing institutions of higher learning in India and address the most pressing issue of higher education in India – the shortage of highly qualified teachers.
A-VIEW is part of Talk to a Teacher program coordinated by IIT Bombay and we are funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) under the Indian Government’s National Mission for Education using Information and Communication Technology (NME-ICT) along with various other projects in Virtual Labs, Haptics and Natural Language Processing. A-VIEW is now deployed at several IITs, NITs and other leading educational institutions across the nation.
AERL aims to empower people through digital means of distance education and social collaboration. AERL addresses lack of highly qualified and experienced teachers in institutes of higher education:
- empowers young startups in their journey to full-fledged business organizations,
- provides free tuition programs to college students in order to enhance their knowledge and job prospects,
- provides free e-learning tools to schools and vocational training institutes.
A-VIEW (Amrita Virtual Interactive E-Learning World) is an internet based virtual knowledge sharing platform, developed by Amrita E-Learning Research Labs, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Kollam. It addresses one of the most critical issues of India’s Higher Education system today: Millions of students wanting to learn who are not fortunate enough to have well-qualified teachers to train them. With A-VIEW one good teacher can teach tens of thousands of students simultaneously at different locations all over India, as though in person.
A-VIEW enables distance education using various communication modules like Audio/Video, Whiteboard collaboration, Document sharing and Chat which can either be seen on a single display or multiple displays showing different kinds of content for an enhanced experience. It has lots of advanced modules to enable in-depth knowledge sharing for conducting large class rooms with many students and participating nodes.
A-VIEW is provided free of cost to all institutes of higher education. As of December 2012, A-VIEW has been deployed at more than 2000 universities and colleges all over India. Over time, we expect to implement A-VIEW at most educational institutions in India.
A-VIEW runs on Windows, MAC-OS and Linux; on desktops, laptops and mobile devices such as Aakash tablets and other Android-enabled smart phones and tablets.
Recognition for A-VIEW
A-VIEW enables students from various geographical locations to interact with a teacher in a highly immersive E-learning environment. For its contributions to the education sector, it has won the following awards:
- A-VIEW won the juried Award for the Best Innovation in Open and Distance Learning under Higher Education Category at the World Education Summit held at New Delhi in 2011.
- In June 2012, the Computer World Magazine (USA) recognized AERL for developing A-VIEW with Computer World Honors Laureate under the Training and Education category.
- In September 2012, A-VIEW won the Educational Excellence Award in the field of Educational Technology at the Indo- Global Educational Summit and Expo-2012 held at Hyderabad.
A-VIEW is currently installed in over 2000 Universities and Colleges across India. Following the success of A-VIEW in distance education, AERL started using this product in the following projects:
- ConnectONE: Empowering entrepreneurs at Technology Business Incubators. Over 50 TBIs are benefitted by ConnectONE today.
- Online Gurukul: Providing free online tuition to students across the country. Currently Online Gurukul is being used to train Arts and Science College students in Kerala, India on Career Awareness.
- Pilot programs: Pilot programs using A-VIEW have been launched at non-profit organizations, schools and vocational training institutes.
Industry Linkage and International Collaborations
AERL has Tata Consultancy Services (TCS), as the advisor and guide for the A-VIEW Project. The Lab is associated with University at Buffalo, New York for development of features in A-VIEW such as Face Recognition and Hand Writing Recognition. A-VIEW’s breakthrough work in providing high quality distance education in India has generated a lot of interest both locally and internationally. Dr. Vijay Kumar, Senior Associate Dean of Undergraduate Education and Director, Office of Educational Innovation and Technology, MIT and Dr. Ashok Agarwala, Professor of Computer Science, University of Maryland, College Park are working with AERL on several projects.
- Several universities conduct regular distant education classes to their affiliated colleges using A-VIEW. For example, Mumbai University classes are transmitted to several colleges.
- Hon. President Shri. Pranab Mukherjee dedicated A-VIEW 3.0 to the nation on 11th November 2012. More than 14,000 teachers and students across 240 remote centres in the country witnessed the event live.
- IIT Bombay used A-VIEW to organize a two week workshop in July 2012 to train 10,000 teachers online.
- Shri Sam Pitroda, Advisor to the Prime Minister of India on Public Information, Infrastructure and Innovation, addressed 3000 Amrita students at multiple locations in India from his office using A-VIEW in New Delhi
- Shri N.K.Sinha, Additional Secretary, MHRD and Director NME-ICT addressed more than 60 Universities as a part of the National Interaction Program.
- Dr. Deepak Phatak, IIT Bombay, conducted National Teacher Empowerment Program to train over 1000 college teachers across India in December 2009.
- A certified course in Sanskrit to 40 students spread across France, Germany, and Spain was conducted by Mr. Piyush Thomas Goldenberg.
- Dr. Kannan Moudgalya, IIT Bombay leads ASK A QUESTION Program where IIT Bombay Professors answer student/faculty question’s in their chosen field of Engineering.
- Nearly 60 Universities across the country regularly participate in a Weekly Interaction Program delivered by eminent academicians.
- Classes from many International locations such as San Francisco, Greater San Diego Area, Los Angeles, US, California, San Diego, California, Louisiana, Zürich, Switzerland, VU, Amsterdam, etc are conducted at numerous institutions in India via AVIEW.
“A-VIEW creates an alternative for those who cannot access good teachers, good colleges, or good facilities; but want to learn more than what is taught to them. A-VIEW offers an excellent alternative to face-to-face teaching. It will not replace it, but it is the best alternative that we have.” Dr. Mukta Atrey, IIT Bombay
“I once again congratulate Amrita and IIT Bombay for training 10,000 teachers nationally in one workshop using A-VIEW, institutes should collaborate like this with a national effort to make India the nation that it deserves to be.” Shri. Kapil Sibal, Honorable Union Minister for Human Resource Development
“A-VIEW is not only a conferencing platform, but a distributed classroom environment. We do not see any reason to use international conferencing tools.” Dr. Jayashree Shinde, Dept. of Educational Technology, SNDT Women’s University & Member Standing Committee – NME-ICT
Using A-VIEW, the following programs are being conducted:
- Regular distance education classes from Universities to their affiliated colleges.
- Weekly Discussion Program: Education experts address various issues and discuss with large number of universities (25 to 100) on a weekly basis.
- National Teacher Empowerment Program is led by Dr. Deepak Phatak, IIT Bombay. A-VIEW was used to train over 10,000 Engineering College Teachers all over India during a two week workshop on “Introduction to Research Methodologies” in July, 2012.
- Ask a Question Program: Students across India can ask questions related to Engineering and Science to professors at IIT Bombay. This program is co-ordinated by Dr. Kannan Moudgalya, IIT Bombay.
A-VIEW was designd to leverage the world’s best faculty for the benefit of the academic community at higher educational institutions across the nation by providing a near classroom experience free of cost.
Features of A-VIEW Classroom
- Recorded Classes: A-VIEW records live classes for future use by teachers and students.
- Sharing of animation and YouTube videos: A-VIEW has the capability of sharing content such as animations and YouTube videos to users. This could work as great material for teaching.
- Adaptive Bandwidth: A-VIEW works well with fast and slow internet connections. For fast connections, video and audio would be streamed at high quality. It has the ability to detect slow connections and stream audio and video as per the bandwidth available.
- Multi-Modal interaction: Teachers and students can interact with each other through various methods such as Audio, Video, Text Chat, and interactive whiteboard.
- Document Sharing: It is possible to share PowerPoint slides, pdf, Word documents, Excel worksheets, JPEGs, etc. in A-VIEW.
- Multi-Device Compatible Whiteboard: A-VIEW comes with a digital whiteboard which works similar to a real life whiteboard. It is possible to connect this whiteboard to various devices such as iBall Take Note, U-Board etc. for a more comprehensive experience.
- Acoustic Echo Cancellation (AEC) helps the user to have a clear conversation without echo during a live class.
- Hardware Pre-Testing: The system checks the hardware at the client machine and alerts the user if a device is not connected properly.
- Question Interface enables the users to post their doubts in the question view and other users can vote for the same, this helps the instructor to easily find and focus on the top priority questions.
- Quiz helps the presenter to conduct live quiz to assess the progress of the students
“It was a great experience for me to use A-VIEW; the efficacy of A-VIEW is evident, and we plan to use it more regularly.” Dr. Ranjan Bose, Microsoft Chair Professor, Dept. of Electrical Engineering, IIT Delhi