Two Tier Education System For Higher Technical Education in India

IntroductionWith ever increasing use of technology and the internet in India and ever growing demand and need for expanding the coverage of Higher Technical Education there is a wide scope of introducing technology in the way the Higher Technical Education is imparted in India. In today’s environment mostly the methods employed are labor intensive, limited to class room interaction, access to which is not available to students in the event of they missing out the classes due to certain reasons. In addition there are difficulties in explaining and demonstrating the complex subjects involving three dimensional figures/models. More over it is an accepted fact that it is difficult for the students to concentrate on a subject in a typical classroom environment for more than about 20 minutes. The best of students have often been found to be losing concentration after about 20 minutes of classroom teaching which mostly becomes monotonous in traditional class where teacher mostly resorts to one way transmission without initiating interactive discussion. Though interactive sessions offer little improvement but it is not always possible to initiate the interaction till the time the students have developed certain level of understanding of basic concepts and fully understand the prerequisite required for a typical course.BackgroundIn order to improve teaching learning process it is important that we go beyond the boundaries of classroom and fixed timetable limits. The teaching material must be delivered to the student at a time, pace and place which provides best learning environment for him. This may have lot of variation depending on individual students needs. The EDUSAT program launched at the initiative of the government has also not achieved the desired success though large numbers of terminals have been established all over India and best of Professors are delivering lectures in real time environment. The root cause of failure can be attributed to the fact that it is still not getting out of a typical class room environment. Though virtual classrooms have been created but still it is limited to formalities of a classroom.Use of technology in improving the teaching learning process normally termed as Educational Technology – also known variously as e-learning, instructional technology and learning technology – is the use of technology to support the enhancement of learning process. It impacts upon the learning process, e.g. in delivering learning materials, facilitating communication and providing assessment and feedback. This technology can effectively be used to enhance and supplement the classroom teaching wherein the material is once again made available to the student at a time, pace and place that is best suitable for his needs. It will fill in the blanks which he must have drawn while he was in the classroom and could not clarify his concepts due to certain reasons. More ever certain other things like tutorials, tests, assignments etc can also handled effectively on line thereby saving the valuable time of the competent faculty members which can be used for other more useful activities.Course management systems (CMSs), which are online systems, were designed and developed to support classroom learning in academic settings, such as universities and other Educational Institutes. CMSs provide instructors with the ability to perform the following tasks:• Place course materials online. Most CMSs provide pre-programmed buttons for the course syllabus, course schedule, and course materials linked to specific lessons, such as copies of readings and PowerPoint slides from lectures.• Track student progress through assessment features, which enable instructors to give quizzes and tests online, and an online grade book, where instructors can post student grades.• Discussion board, where instructors and students can discuss readings and continue class discussions between formal class sessions.• Other communications tools, which let instructors send announcements to classes and communicate individually with students.• Lock box for students, where students can store class materials in a safe place-either a presentation to give later in class or backing up class assignments in a safe place.• Course statistics, which provide information on the use of the course site, including who used the course site and when.• Examples of CMSs include the commercial products Blackboard and WebCT, and the open source system like Moodle.MotivationWith ever increasing need for automation in the education system and the Government having decided to go for decentralization in Higher Technical Education in a big way there has been mushrooming growth of Engineering Institutions all over India. Good faculty members with thorough understanding of basic through advanced topics are difficult to find. With the current system of the faculty resources being utilized only for the benefit of the students enrolled with the Institute/University employing the concerned faculty, the scarce resources are not being utilized optimally. With the current developments and availability of Information Technology tools it may be possible to share the rich experiences of the distinguished faculty resources of certain key institutions in a typical University by other inexperienced faculty members of the same university engaged in teaching similar or same subjects.The basic idea will be to introduce two tier system in the higher technical education. The first tier will involve a continuous and consistent effort made to train and educate the fresh and inexperienced faculty members by using real time interaction with a group of experienced faculty members located at a center of excellence. This will involve creation of a “Nodal Center of Excellence” for each of the course being offered by the university. Such nodal center will design and develop a course by using the best suitable and simple to operate tools available in course management systems to perfection. This course will compulsorily be subscribed to by all faculty members engaged in teaching same course all throughout the University. They can share the expertise available at the nodal center and also clarify the intricacies of the subjects on a day to day basis as the course advances in the semester.The second tier of the system will involve Individual teachers who are already subscribed to the first tier discussed above. Such teachers will run their own course management systems for the benefit of the students attending their lectures.In this manner all the center of excellence established everywhere can be shared by all the institutes affiliated to the university and also the university campus colleges. This will result in:-• Uniformity in the coverage of the syllabus and its standardization.• Discovering the shortcoming of the syllabus and a common platform for discussing the same for future revision.• Clarification of the basic through advanced concepts through the chatting/tools offered by concerned selected service of the CMS.• Standardization and sharing of the grading and assessment of the students without significant variation form teacher to teacher.• Moderation of the grading centrally.• Readily available standardized course material which can be developed by networking of teachers sharing same subject in the university but at different institutions.• Standardization of reference books and the topics to be covered.• Standardization of the depth of individual topics to be covered for each subject.• Typical standardization of question bank.• Development of reference standard study material at the center of excellence which can be shared by all other institutions.• Automation of tutorial submission, FAQ answers, question paper generation, and response to earlier similar question asked.• Provision of authenticated links to related and useful material for further higher study for research.The System can be Implemented in these steps:Conceive, design and develop a two tier education system based on nodal concept of center of excellence in Engineering Education (Higher technical education) typical to Indian Universities by selecting the best suitable tools offered by Course Management Systems (CMS) available and demonstrate the viability of the concept.(1) Step one:(a) Identify the essential and desirable features which should be offered by the nodal center of excellence, in typical Indian University environment, to make it effective in sharing and updating its resources.(b) Carry out comparative study of the available course management systems world wide and selecting the best suitable system for this purpose.(2) Step Two: Developing a comprehensive module in selected course which should preferably support following features:-(a) Learning Tools• Book marking• Student Area• Library and Information Access• Annotation• Glossary• Course Index/Search Engine• Learning Exemplars/Guidance• Access to Grades• Student Guide• Self-Assessment Exercises• Study Skill Building• Student Web Pages(b) Collaboration Tools• Discussion Options• File Sharing• Work Group Areas(c)Faculty Tools• Course Planning, Design, Templates• Automated Glossary• Automated Course TOC/Index/Search Engine• File Management• Instructor Guide/Course Exemplars• Web Search Tools• Multimedia Capability(d)Course Management• Course Pages• Student Management• Automatic student assignment reminders (currently none of the CMS offer this currently)• Course Archive/Backup/Replication• Course Revision• Online Help/FAQs• Administration Tools• Automated Registration• Security• Student Transcript(3) Step Three: Implementing the nodal concept of center of excellence in real time and initiate the process for demonstration purposes.Milestones completedNodal concept has widely been applied in service, telecommunication and repair & maintenance industry wherein certain nodal centers are created with all the facilities and expertise available at easily accessible place which can be accessed by the prospective customers. In telecommunications wherein certain communication nodes are created and users can hook on to these nodes for getting the desired services. In education system the concept has widely been applied in various admission management systems and placement services.The concept of creating the Nodal center of excellence has been experimented in India by EDUSAT which is based on real time lectures in virtual classroom environment. However it has not invoked much enthusiasm. The root cause for this can be attributed to the fact that the lecture tends to be monologue and is not at a place, pace and time as may be required by the perspective learner. More over it lacks personal contact between the teacher and the students. The proposed two tier system of education involving nodal concept is intended to supplement the classroom teaching. It will be designed to optimize the contact time between the teacher and students in a way that the most important tings are attended to during the contact period and things of lesser importance can be attended to by the course management system like tutorials, class tests, assignments etc.This concept can be related to the service industry where in a nodal point, which can be termed as centre of excellence, is established which caters to the training needs of service engineers who are placed all over the operational areas. These service engineers in turn provide service to the customers. In case they find they are not able to address the problem they consult the nodal point for further advice. Almost same concept is applied in case of maintenance support provided by most of the companies for maintenance cover provided to their customers.The defense forces are known to have been using multi tier system for their training, maintenance and repair needs, though their system is not automated but the nodal concept is well established. In the proposed system we intend to use the two tier system with automation by using Course Management Systems.

Businesses For Sale – Common Pitfalls to Avoid

The ability of our economy to prevail through the recent economic hardship felt worldwide, not only relatively unscathed, but in a stronger position than nearly all modern western economies, highlights the real strength of business, entrepreneurial ability and innovation in New Zealand. The opportunities for those with entrepreneurial skills and the desire to drive one’s own destiny, businesses for sale in New Zealand provide the perfect medium to achieve these ends. However, ensuring the correct business is purchased which matches your budget, experience, skills and knowledge is essential. Many new businesses for sale in New Zealand fail within the first year of operation, but there are several key decisions that will ensure success.Firstly, the decision to purchase an established business comes with it an established customer base, turnover, goodwill, staff and history of trading. Secondly, utilising a reputable and trustworthy real estate agency who is experienced in the sale and purchase of businesses in New Zealand will ensure that you are able to peruse a diverse range of potential companies, with the guidance and advice of a professional to aid in the final and correct decision.Real estate agents will guide you through the common pitfalls to avoid when searching for businesses for sale in New Zealand. One of the key pitfalls is lack of preparation prior to making an offer. The best business decisions are based on timely and accurate information. Real estate agents will ensure you have all the correct documentation to base an informed decision, including financial data, employment contracts and staff details, property and lease details, along with any other information pertaining to the long term viability and profitability of the business. Furthermore, the decision to purchase a business should be made on the financial acumen of the business and not a personal desire or liking. Obviously the business must suit the lifestyle desired and skills brought to the business; but only when the proposition is feasible.The unwillingness to leverage professionals, such as real estate agents, is another key mistake. Professional business consultants representing leading real estate agencies in New Zealand thoroughly understand the marketplace, often with insider information pertaining to the number and quality of businesses that are soon to be listed in the marketplace. Additionally, with their knowledge of available businesses for sale in New Zealand, they are able to provide a measure of comparative shopping, where the pros and cons of numerous enterprises can be assessed and evaluated to ensure that the business purchased is the best fit for you which will realise your dreams.

Why Real Estate Investment?

Why should you invest in real estate? Well, investing in real estate for profit is one of the most popular approaches to generating additional income in the United States today. In fact, if you pay attention to recent press you will have seen numerous reports about the real estate investment craze that seems to be sweeping the Nation.When done carefully and intelligently, real estate can yield fantastic benefits that can not be achieved through any other type of investment. Here are just a few examples of why real estate investing can be such a powerful wealth generator.1. Real Estate Markets Are Slow to React – Although real estate, like everything else, has ups and downs, it is generally a lot slower to react than the stock market. For example, you won’t get up in the morning and discover that your real estate investment is worth ten or twenty percent less than it was yesterday.2. Leverage. You can borrow money to buy real estate, whereas, generally you can not borrow money to buy stocks. You can control a large dollar value of real estate with a small amount of your own money by using loans and mortgages. The stock market, by law, limits the amount of leverage (margin) you can use to buy stock. There are no such limits with real estate.3. You Can Purchase Real Estate For Less Than Its Market Value. In many cases you can purchase a property for as low as 60 to 70 percent of the market value. When buying stocks, you may be able to find a stock that is considered “under valued” but generally it’s tough to do that on a regular and consistent basis.4. Real Estate Offers A Tremendous Amount Of Tax Advantages Through Depreciation. Real estate basically has two values, the land and the building(s) on the land. For example, if a property is valued at $250,000 and the assessed value of the land is $75,000, the building would be worth $175,000.The government allows real estate investors to depreciate the value of the building in equal parts over its “useful life” which is defined as 27.5 years. So for example, based on the $175,000 building value above, the annual depreciation value would be $6,363.63 ($175,000 divided by 27.5). This means that for tax purposes, the investor would be able to reduce his/her annual income by $6,363.63!Many people find the notion of depreciation to be confusing since it’s not really a loss of money. I recommend you check with a qualified tax professional for more details and how this can benefit you.5. Real Estate Markets Are Insulated Local Markets. For instance, when the stock market falls, it takes down just about everybody and everything involved with it. When home values drop in one city such as New York, generally it does not affect property values in other cities like Boston or Chicago. To protect yourself, you can have a “geographically diversified” portfolio of real estate investments to hedge against these types events.6. You The Investor Can Control The Value. Another aspect of real estate investment is that unlike any other investment, this investment is controlled by the investor. For example, as an investor, you can increase the value of your investment property by making some modifications to the property such as adding a garage or replacing the carpet, etc. With stocks or any other investment, the investor can’t do anything to increase the value of the investment.7. The Efficient Market Hypothesis (EMH). When a market has prices that always “fully reflect” available information, it is called “efficient”. The stock market for example is considered by most to be an efficient market. When you call your broker to purchase or sell a stock, you can be sure of one thing – the price you bought or sold the stock for was indeed the “correct” price for that stock on that day and at that time. Why? Because the existing price for the stock will already incorporate and reflect all relevant available information about the company such as earnings, and other metrics.With real estate, the market is very inefficient. Unlike the stock market, with real estate, the “correct” price discovery mechanism is left to each buyer and seller to figure out on their own. There is the almost always uncertainty as to whether the price offered by the seller is too high or too low. Moreover, there is typically little to no help available from analysts and research agencies (like when dealing with stocks) in this respect. This inefficiency is the very reason why real estate offers such a great investment opportunity to be smart and win! But it requires experience and a sharp eye for good deals and great negotiation skill. This expertise can be developed.If done correctly, real estate is probably one of the smartest investments you could ever make. Hopefully this short rambling has provided you with a fresh perspective of the many benefits of real estate investing. So be smart, continue to learn and above all don’t wait for some magic moment, just get started.To Your Success!Rik Foote
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