E-LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES IN TIMES OF COVID-19

E-Learning Opportunities during covid 19 : The Covid-19 outbreak has drastically disrupted almost all sectors globally and still affecting the human life in unprecedented ways. Education sector is one of the worst hit sectors by the novel Corona virus outbreak. Most of the educational institutions across the globe have been closed due to the lockdown imposed nationwide in many countries to contain the spread of the deadly virus. In the fight against Covid-19, Govt. of India also imposed nationwide lockdown in a phased manner to stem the tide.

The Ministry of Human Resource Development has taken several prompt and effective measures in educational sector to address the challenging situation arising out of Covid 19. The ministry through its digital learning platforms helps the teachers and learners to utilize time productively by engaging in on-line learning while maintaining social distancing.

E-LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES IN TIMES OF COVID-19

Some of the digital learning platforms offered under the ministry are as follows:

Swayam (Study Webs of Active- Learning for Young Aspiring Minds) :

Swayam is a Massive open online course (MOOC) platform hosting 1900 courses covering both high school and higher Education in various subjects. Academicians from hundreds of institutions throughout the country are involved in the development and delivery of these courses. The courses offered under this portal are free of cost. However, learners who want to get a certificate after
the completion of the course, need to register for the final proctored exams, with a nominal fee.

Along with Self Learning Material, Swayam portal provides video lectures and facility of self-assessment. The questions and queries of the learners are also being resolved through discussion forum. Nine national coordinators have been appointed to manage the courses in Swayam. They are AICTE (All India Council for Technical Education ) for self-paced courses and international courses, NPTEL (National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning) for engineering, UGC (Univer-sity Grants Commission) for postgraduate education, CEC (Consortium for Educational Communication) for undergraduate education, NCERT (National Council of Educational Research and Training) & NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling ) for school education, IGNOU (Indira Gandhi National Open University) for out of the school students, IIMB (Indian Institute of Management Bangalore) for management studies and NITTTR (National Institute of Technical Teachers Training and Research) for Teacher Training programme. It also offers online Faculty Development Programmes (FDP) and Annual Refresher Programme in Teaching (ARPIT) for teachers and academics. Website: swayam.gov.in.

Swayamprabha: Swayampr-abha is a group of 32 DTH channels devoted to telecast high-quality educational programmes on 24X7 basis using the GSAT-15 satellite. The channels cover various levels of education encompassing school education, Higher Education, vocational and professional education in a variety of disciplines including arts, science, social sciences and humanities. These channels are uplinked from Visakhpatanam & Gandhinagar. The Inflibnet Centre (Information and Library Network Centre) maintains the web portal. These channels are available for viewing all across the country through DD-DTH, Dish TV and Jio TV App. Website: swayamprabha.gov.in

Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU) is also offering digital learning resources through its online platforms like Gyandhara, Gyanvani, Gyandarshan, e-Gyankosh, IGNOU e-content app etc. Gyandhara is an internet radio counseling service. Students can listen to the live discussions by teachers and experts on the topic of the day and can interact with them over phone or through email or through chat mode. Website: https://www.ignouonline.ac.in/gyandhara/

e-GyanKosh is a National Digital Repository where students can find all the digital learning resources developed by the Open and Distance Learning Institutions in the country. Website: http://egyankosh.ac.in/

Gyandarshan is a 24 hour television channel which airs educational and developmental topics. This channel beams programmes produced by IGNOU, CEC, CIET, NITTTRs, IITs, Vigyan Prasar etc. Website: www.ignouonline.ac.in/gyandarshan/

IGNOU e-content app has digitalized study material for all courses which are offered by IGNOU. The app an be downloaded from Google Play Store.

NDL (National Digital Library): This is a digital repository which contains textbooks, articles, videos, audio books, lectures, simulations, fictions and all other kinds of learning media. The NDL provides free of cost access to many books in English and the Indian languages. Website: https://ndl.iitkgp.ac.in/

IIT Pal: IIT Pal provides online coaching for aspirants of IIT entrance exams on physics, chemistry, mathematics and biology subjects through the official website of National Testing Agency. Website: https://nta.ac.in/LecturesContent

e-Shodh Sindhu: e-ShodhSindu is the Consortium for Higher Education EResources which provides access to qualitative digital resources including full-text, bibliographic and factual databases to academic institutions at a lower rates of subscription. This platform provides current, as well as archival access to more than 15,000 core and peer-reviewed journals and a number of bibliographic, citation and factual databases in different disciplines from a large number of publishers and aggregators to its member institutions. Website: https://ess.inflibnet.ac.in/

Shodhganga: is a national digital repository of Indian electronic theses and dissertations set-up by the Inflibnet Centre. Shodhganga provides a platform for research students to deposit their Ph.D. theses and make it available to the entire scholarly community in open access. The researchers can also access study material and theses in vernacular languages, Hindi and international languages. The online platform encompasses 269778 theses, 7500 synopses. Website:https://shodhganga.inflibnet.ac.in/

e-PG Pathshala: e-PGPathshala is another online platform which provides curriculum-based, interactive econtent in 71 subjects across all disciplines of social sciences, humanities, natural & mathematical sciences, linguistics and languages. e- PGPathshala also offers access to e-Adhyayan, UGC MOOCs and e-Pathya. e-Adhyayan provides more than 700 postgraduate course books to the students. UGC MOOCs, a part of the vertical to produce a course on postgraduate subjects in Swayam and e-Pathya, a software-driven course that can be accessed offline for students pursuing higher education in distance learning as well as campus learning mode.

Website: epgp.inflibnet.ac.in e-Pathshala is a portal jointly initiated by Ministry of Human Resource Development and National Council of Educational Research and Training , to provide educational resources for teachers, students, parents, researchers and educators. The learners can access educational e-resources including textbooks, audio, video, periodicals, and a variety of other print and nonprint
materials through mobile phones (android and windows platforms), and tablets (as epub) and on web through laptops and desktops (as flipbooks). Website: http://epathshala.nic.in/

CEC (Consortium for Educational Communication): CEC co-ordinates the creation of e-content for 87 non-engineering undergraduate courses, including the production of over 26,000 modules. The CEC-UGC YouTube channel provides access to unlimited educational curriculum based lectures absolutely free. Website: https://www.youtube.com/user/cecedusat

NROER (National Repository of Open Educational Resources): NROER is a collaborative platform, initiated by the Department of School Education and Literacy, Ministry of Human Resource Development to provide digital educational resources for all school subjects and grades in multiple languages. The Repository organizes its collections into an ever growing semantic map of concepts and the users can access the resources through video, audio, documents, interactive objects and image libraries which are available on homepage. NROER portal has a total of 14527 files including 401 collections, 2779 documents, 1345 interactive, 1664 audios, 2586 images and 6153 videos on different languages. Website: http://nroer.gov.in/welcome

DIKSHA (Digital Infrastructure for Knowledge Sharing): Diksha is a National Digital Infrastructure for Teachers to provide e-learning resources in the education domain. The objective of this initiative is to help teachers and the students to continue their studies as usual, however, through different mode. The Diksha platform offers teachers, students and parents engaging learning material relevant to the prescribed school curriculum. The content can also be viewed through QR code on textbooks. This app can be downloaded from iOS and Google Play Store: Website: https://diksha.gov.in or https://seshagun.gov.in/shagun

UMANG mobile app (Unified Mobile Application for Newage Governance): The app provides a single platform to all Indian citizens to access e-Gov services ranging from Central to local government bodies and other citizen-centric services. In addition to the major e-Gov services, UMANG app offers access to e-pathshala where students can find books and study material of NCERT. UMANG App can be
downloaded free from app stores of Android, iOS and Windows.

The country is witnessing an upsurge in e-learning as the educational institutions including schools, colleges and universities have begun providing online classes for students to keep them on track through various digital platforms like YouTube, Whats App, Skype, Google meet, Google class rooms and others. The online environment offers unprecedented opportunities for the students to continue their learning through a variety of formats and modalities. It also provides them an opportunity to access a wider world of resources and study materials beyond their text books and to spend their time productively during the lock down period.