Professor Mandar Lakshmikant Bhanushe , Assistant Professor-cum-Assistant Director, at the Institute of Distance and Open Learning (IDOL) of University of Mumbai (MU), recently received the Indian Education Award 2013 for his online course in Mathematics in the Best Webinar Series category, recognizing his efforts to make learning more easily accessible to the distance learning students.
The award was presented by Indian Education Congress during the 3rd National Convention and Awards on Business of Education, held on May 3, 2013, at New Delhi. We got a chance to talk to him at the venue. The following is an excerpt from the conversation we had with him:
“Congratulations Professor, on winning the award. We know that this award recognizes your hard work as a pioneer of Information and Communications Technology (ICT) in open and distance learning.
1. What motivated you to leverage technology to make learning effective and easier for distance learning students at University of Mumbai? How has your experience been so far?
My motivation has two names. The Vice Chancellor of University of Mumbai, Dr. Welukar and the Deputy Director of my department, Dr. Hemlata Chari. They are the reason I was able to initiate this great project and achieve so much. So far, the response from the students has been really good and encouraging. As such, next year all contact lectures will be delivered using this technology.
Even my colleagues have decided to use it now. I think that is an achievement in itself.
2. Tell us something about the award-winning Webinar series that you conduct for your students?
These webinars are conducted every Saturday and Sunday evening from 8pm to 9pm. Normally I upload ppt or pdf files and make use of the whiteboard. My webinars are designed in a way that the students listen, learn, understand and practice. There is a blend of theory and practical sessions, which are done on the Scilab software.The lessons are followed by assignment submission. I also make use of the chat feature for class discussions. The poll for feedback has also proved to be a very useful tool.
4. Why did you choose WizIQ?
I have found WizIQ to be a very user friendly Virtual Classroom platform. Learners can attend these sessions from anywhere, while sitting in their study or office. Moreover, we chose it because it has many teacher-centric features like chat, poll,desktop-application sharing, a good and interactive whiteboard, recording facility, downloading the recorded lecture facility, etc.
5. On a lighter note, what would you be if you were not a professor?
I would be a full-time social worker!
6. What is your vision for the future of Open and Distance Learning in India?
We must make an innovative use of technology to reach out to the learners in order to impart knowledge and equip them with the soft skills for their growth.
7. Would you like to give a message to the academic fraternity?
I would advise all educators to become tech-savvy and use all the modern, 21st century tools to reach out to their learners. We are living in an era of ‘Sharing’. So there is a great need to collaborate and contribute for the creation of Open Education Resources.
Thank you Professor for your time and congratulations again.”
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