Video lectures posted on YouTube by the IITs have been accessed by over 80 million globally. While the number of IIT aspirants go up each year, the number of seats available remains limited. The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), which was initiated in 2003 to enable students and teachers to have access to the quality content of the IITs, has seen over 18 million accessing its video courses globally on its website. And there have been over 80 million video views of the 280 video-only courses currently on YouTube. The number of subscribers till date is over 1.29 lakh, up from 6,728 in 2009.
Currently, 600 course content pages (mostly undergraduate) in web or video format can be accessed free by the students and faculty of 800 colleges in the country. Another 200 video courses and over 400 web-based courses are in the process of being developed and added.
“We lose out a good chunk of students to other institutes every year, which may or may not have the kind of teaching and other aspects of campus life provided by the IITs. This project attempts to deliver content otherwise not available to the youth,” said IIT Madras Prof Mangala Sunder Krishnan, one of NPTEL’s national coordinators.
According to figures provided by IIT Madras, the nodal centre for NPTEL, the web and video courses available on the NPTEL website have been accessed by over 14.6 million in India, just under a million in the US and over a lakh each in Pakistan and the UK. “An analysis of worldwide visits on the NPTEL website shows that 79 per cent from India have accessed the lectures, followed by 16 per cent from the USA and five per cent from the remaining countries,” said Krishnan.
The 10 most accessed courses are basic electronics, surveying, data structures and algorithms, quantum physics, database management system, biochemistry, fluid mechanics, discrete mathematical structures, digital circuits & systems, and software engineering.
Funded by the HRD ministry since 2003, and supported by the National Mission on Education through ICT under MHRD, the project covers the major engineering streams such as electrical, civil, mechanical, chemical, electronics and communication, aerospace, automobile and computer science and engineering. Contents for many postgraduate-level courses - basic sciences, humanities and management - are being added.
NPTEL is collecting feedback from thousands of students and teachers on how they perceive the content, what they would like to do, in what way it is useful to them etc. A preliminary analysis of the data will be posted on the NPTEL website soon.
“With over 1,500 faculty members from IITs, IISc and many other institutes partnering and several more wanting to contribute, NPTEL is the most accessed free online programme of videos and web today in technical education the world over,” said an official.