SATELLITE BASED LIVE AND INTERACTIVE DISTANCE LEARNING PROGRAM IN THE FIELD OF GEOINFORMATICS – A PERSPECTIVE OF INDIAN INSTITUTE OF REMOTE SENSING, INDIA
Keywords: Distance Learning Program, Satellite based live programs, EDUSAT, Outreach for Universities, Geoinformatics
Abstract. Geoinformatics is a highly specialized discipline that deals with Remote Sensing, Geographical Information System (GIS), Global Positioning System (GPS) and field surveys for assessing, quantification, development and management of resources, planning and infrastructure development, utility services etc. Indian Institute of Remote Sensing (IIRS), a premier institute and one of its kinds has played a key role for capacity Building in this specialized area since its inception in 1966. Realizing the large demand, IIRS has started outreach program in basics of Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS for universities and institutions.
EDUSAT (Educational Satellite) is the communication satellite built and launched by ISRO in 2004 exclusively for serving the educational sector to meet the demand for an interactive satellite based distance education system for the country. IIRS has used EDUSAT (shifted to INSAT 4 CR recently due to termination of services from EDUSAT) for its distance learning program to impart basic training in Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS, catering to the universities spread across India. The EDUSAT based training is following similar to e-learning method but has advantage of live interaction sessions between teacher and the students when the lecture is delivered using EDUSAT satellite communication. Because of its good quality reception the interactions are not constrained due to bandwidth problems of Internet. National Natural Resource Management System, Department of Space, Government of India, under Standing Committee in Training and Technology funded this unique program to conduct the basic training in Geoinformatics.
IIRS conducts 6 weeks basic training course on "Remote Sensing, GIS and GPS" regularly since the year 2007. The course duration is spread over the period of 3 months beginning with the start of the academic year (1st semester) i.e., July to December every year, for university students. IIRS has utilized EDUSAT satellite for conducting 4 six weeks training course during 2007 till 2009 and INSAT 4CR for conducting the next 2 programs. Till March 2011, fifty four universities with the participation of over 4000 students have benefited from the program (Table 7 and Figure 8). IIRS also organized workshops on "EDUSAT based distance learning: experiences & future learning" in 2007, 09 and 2011. Feedbacks have been taken to address the issues on course structure, duration etc. and plan for improvement in future programs and wider participation. Majority of the participants expressed satisfaction and provided positive feedback and willing to participate in the future programs.