An important objective of AIP is the creation of e-learning centers at Indian state agricultural universities to integrate Information and Communication Technology (ICT) learning into the agricultural curricula. E-learning centers have the capability to provide e-content management and development training to teachers for undergraduate and postgraduate courses, thereby improving the learning environment for students by making online course material more accessible, as well as enhancing their teaching methodologies.


AIP conducts media production and video editing training workshop at SVPUAT, Meerut

August 11th, 2014 by
11 -12 August, 2014 | Meerut

The Agricultural Innovation Partnership took another successful step to leverage upon the capacity built at Assam Agriculture University in the area of ‘Media production and content development for e-learning courses’ under the project. Dr. Jyoti Gogoi (AAU, Jorhat) who had earlier received training at Cornell University, Ithaca in ‘various techniques of video lecture capturing and editing’, visited SVPUAT, Meerut along with Sathguru team to pass on that expertise to faculty and resources at SVPUAT. The two day workshop held on August 11 & 12, 2014 was highly appreciated by the management and faculty. The faculty underwent this comprehensive and hands-on training to make their teaching material and methods more interesting and interactive.

Various aspects of media production including hardware & server set up, camera set up, audio set up, camera focus, zoom-in & zoom-out techniques along with video-PowerPoint synchronization, data management, etc were covered during the two-day long workshop. As part of the e-learning initiative under AIP, faculty at SVPUAT is equipped to capture lectures and upload it on the e-learning portal developed for the same purpose.

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AIP sensitizes librarians on enhancing library systems & management and e- learning

February 6th, 2014 by

February 5-6, 2014 | Varanasi, U.P

A two- day long collaborative workshop on improving library systems & management and e- learning was conducted by Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) at Banaras Hindu University,Varanasi on 5th and 6th February, 2014. The workshop was attended by senior librarians from ten agricultural universities and senior faculty members from Banaras Hindu University, Cornell University and Sathguru Management Consultants Pvt Ltd. The focus of the workshop was primarily on research  support  services  that  an  agriculture  and  life  sciences  library  might  offer,  including research  data  management,  utilization  of  GIS  data  and  technologies,  and  citation  management, information literacy & E-resources.

The event began with a key note speech by Dr. A.K. Srivastava, University Librarian, BHU, who spoke on various achievements of BHU in e- learning and library science development due to the support of AIP. It was followed by a speech by Dr. Ramasamy, AIP Project Coordinator, highlighting AIP’s contribution towards e- learning. Dr Bahiru Duguma, Director, Office of Food Security, USAID, the chief guest of the event commended the efforts and contribution of AIP in India and emphasized on scope of AIP in other countries.

The workshop session began with a joint presentation by Mr. Rakesh Singh, e- learning coordinator, BHU and Mr. Ananth Murthy, Information Specialist, Sathguru Management Consultants, on implementation of e-learning program at BHU. It was followed by an interactive session by Dr Mary Ochs, Director, Albert R Mann Library,Cornell University, on some of the research support services that an agriculture and life sciences library might offer, including research data management, utilization of GIS data and technologies. The participants actively participated in brainstorming sessions on ways to improve cyber libraries and presented their cases. An interactive session on Information literacy & e- resources was conducted by Dr. Joy Paulson, Director, TEEAL project and International Projects Librarian,Cornell University. Dr. Jim Morris, Outreach and Applied Social Sciences Librarian, Albert R Mann Library,Cornell University, conducted a hands-on tutorial in the BHU cyber library on Zotero, a free web-based software program for managing citations & PDFs and formatting bibliographies in documents. This session helped the participants gain a practical experience of the software and in understanding the benefits of the software.

The final session was dedicated to discussions on policy for e- learning and impact assessment of e- learning. Participants also shared their experience from the program and spoke about the key takeaways from the workshop.

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AIP Adopts OLAT towards a Paradigm Shift in Learning Delivery

May 5th, 2013 by
May 2-5 2013 | BHU, Varanasi
Advances in technology are catalyzing exciting new changes in the production, delivery and accessibility of educational content. At the same time, technology integration in instruction is a strategic reaction of the educational community to acknowledge the demands that society has placed on educational institutions in general and faculty in particular. Cognizant of the pressure on the teaching-learning community to meet the contemporary demands, the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP), towards its concerted effort of modernizing agricultural education in partner Indian agricultural universities, helped the institutions adopt OLAT (Online Learning and Training), an effective Learning Management System.

With its trainings, physical installations of user interfaces and a series of sensitization workshops, AIP has enabled its partner institutions adopt e-learning. OLAT is now empowering the institutions switch from the traditional classroom training to technology-enabled learning. As part of its initiative of sensitizing the student community on using OLAT, AIP imparted hands-on training to the students at the Institute of Agricultural Science, BHU. The training, conducted for four days from May 2-5, 2013 at Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi witnessed the active participation of more than 325 students who were eager to unfold the marvels of technology-led learning.

The university’s Cyber Library played a host to the learners. The program was inaugurated by the Vice Chancellor, Dr Lalji Singh and was attended by several faculty members and resource persons from AIP.

The training acquainted the students with OLAT’s robust learning technologies; create collaborative groups within the environment; attend lectures; work with tools like wikis, chats, forums and utilize several other features that OLAT has to offer. At the end of the program, the students appreciated the relevance of e-learning for professionals in the field of agriculture.

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AIP Conducts Awareness Program on OLAT at AAU

April 6th, 2013 by
April 6 & 8, 2013 | Jorhat, Assam
As part of its attempts to improve the teaching-learning practices in Indian Agricultural Universities, the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) conducted a two-day awareness program on Online Learning And Training (OLAT) on April 6th and 8th, 2013 at Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, Assam. The program was meant to generate awareness among the students on the OLAT platform and help them understand it better. Working closely with AAU, AIP will shortly launch the learning management system at AAU, one of its partner universities, for enhanced and improved student learning experiences through e-learning.

OLAT, a Learning Management System (LMS), is an effective way of enhancing the learning ability of students through advanced teaching methods. The program was attended by 209 students and 10 administrators and faculty from Assam Agricultural University (AAU). The program coordinators included Dr. G. N Hazarika, Dean, Faculty of Agriculture, AAU; Dr. J. K Gogoi, Professor-In-Charge, ARIS Cell, AAU; Mr. Ravinder and Mr. M Dilip A from Sathguru Management Consultants.

Day one of the program started with a review of the agenda, followed by presentations on the types of users, Home page & Home page settings, OLAT access point and structure, course enrollment, etc. The students, administrators and faculty were introduced to modes of enrolling for new courses.

Day-two of the program involved interactive sessions among administrators, faculty and students on the structure of OLAT. Students asked several questions on OLAT during the sessions. At the end of the program, students provided their feedback on their learning experience.

Assam Agricultural University Harnesses the Power of Digital Learning

January 31st, 2013 by

January 21-31, 2013 | Assam

The Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) fosters a futuristic model to reform the educational system in partner Indian Agricultural Universities, to administer which it has selected several areas of interventions. Comprehending the need for rapid and quick interventions in the Indian educational arena, AIP, for the first time in the history of the partnering Indian universities, has undertaken several significant initiatives to promote and set up e-learning centers. As part of these initiatives, AIP conducted a series of trainings at Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology (SVPUA&T) in several phases. During these trainings, faculty members and students were sensitized on the need and advantages of e-learning and were educated on handling AV equipment, capturing lectures, digitizing content, working on Online Learning and Training tool, aspects of e-learning, etc.

In order to capitalize on the skills and knowledge imparted to the faculty by the AIP team and to ensure that the educational community appreciates, utilizes and harnesses the power of Information and Communication Technology (ICT) enabled courses, AAU is organizing several training programs from January 21 to 31, 2013 in all campuses of Assam Agricultural University across the state to train about 110 faculty members from all its campuses. Coordinated by Dr. Jyoti Kumar Gogoi, Professor-In-Charge, Agricultural Research and Information Service (ARIS) Cell, Assam Agricultural University, the training is conducted by those faculty who have been trained by the AIP team on producing digitized content for ICT-enabled courses.

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AIP Empowers AAU to Integrate E-learning into its Curriculum

November 25th, 2012 by
November 5-8, 2012 | Jorhat, Assam

The educational system of a nation determines, to a great extent, the quality and volume of its human capital. It also determines the living standard of the people who are the products of such systems. Having said that, in a country like India, which has millions of students across all disciplines who primarily depend on traditional classroom set-ups, it is quite difficult to achieve and maintain the optimum student-teacher balance. It is also equally challenging to set up an educational infrastructure that addresses all aspects of quality, accessibility and interactivity of current forms of education, and effectively manage training processes.

The issues cited above are not peculiar to India. Many nations in the West have effectively addressed these concerns through e-learning, which has marked advantages over traditional classroom teaching. If effectively adopted in India, it can transform the face of the educational system. Along with the advantages of flexible learning, saving costs on material production, trainers, and infrastructural set-up and reducing travel time, e-learning can produce great results by improving student performance. Also, unlike a one-time classroom session, e-learning offers access to content anytime, anywhere. Such courses, which offer quick adoption and customization, can build capacity among Indian universities, empower them with e-resources and supplement class room teaching. E-learning will also give students quicker access to source materials.

Promoting e-learning in Indian agricultural universities is among the initiatives that AIP has adopted towards improving agricultural education in India. In order to integrate e-learning with the agricultural curriculum, AIP plans to create e-learning centers to deliver ICT-enabled courses to students at partner Indian agricultural universities leveraging on the technological expertise of US partner universities.

As part of one such initiative, the AIP facilitated adoption of e-learning by the Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, Assam. On November 5-8, 2012, Sathguru Management Consultants, the project coordinator for AIP, organized a hands-on training for around 25 faculty and staff members of the university on using, managing and imparting training through Online Learning And Training (OLAT). OLAT is an open source Learning Management System that supports different kinds of online learning, teaching, and tutoring. Earlier this year, Sathguru helped AAU to successfully load and deploy the OLAT program through their server.

Over four days of the program, titled “Administrators’ & Authors’ OLAT Training�?, the university staff members were introduced to several features of OLAT. Two trainers from Sathguru, Mr Anantha Murthy and Mr Ravinder briefed the participants on the history and utility of the tool and trained them on managing content, folders, forums, assessments, tasks, portfolio tasks, questionnaires, enrollment, notifications, calendar, group creation, file discussions, quizzes, linking wikis, blogs, integrating podcast, conducting surveys, connecting via chats, grading modules, integrating time marker for video data, multi-language support, etc. The trainers explained the role of several kinds of OLAT users, which include the basic user (student); the teachers who administer the courses as well as moderate them and the administrators who manage the platform, the users and accessibility to OLAT features. The participants were also trained on customizing Home page design, settings, creating and submitting courses as well as inserting course elements, using Single Page, External Pages, etc.

Under the e-learning initiative, AIP plans to help universities reduce material production costs; create customized courses; build capacity within Indian universities and connect the agricultural universities across the country by creating a network to share resources. These initiatives will help build an ecosystem that will equip today’s universities to meet the educational needs of the next generation students. These will also help transform the educational system in these universities.

On the occasion, Dr. Jyoti Kumar Gogoi, Professor-In-Charge, Agricultural Research and Information Service (ARIS) Cell, Assam Agricultural University said, “This is a paradigm shift in the academic scenario of the University, which is a significant step towards our vision of competitiveness with the present day world in the academic front. With the inclusion of e-learning in the curriculum, the teacher-student interaction will increase and the teaching-learning process will break the boundary of time and place.�?

Media Production Training for Faculty at AAU, BHU and SVPUA&T

November 21st, 2012 by
December 10-21, 2012 | Assam, Uttar Pradesh, India
In order to meet its mandate of creating a unique platform for partner Indian agricultural universities to improve agricultural education in India and establishing e-learning centers to deliver Information and Communication Technology-enabled courses for faculty and students, the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) conducted a two-week training program on media production for faculty and students of Assam Agricultural University (AAU), Jorhat, Assam; Banaras Hindu University (BHU), Varanasi and Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology (SVPUA&T), Meerut, Uttar Pradesh. During the program 16 faculty members and 4 students were trained from these universities.Visiting faculty from the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, Cornell University (an AIP partner institution), Dr Stefan Einarson, Director, Transnational Programs and Mr. Christopher, Production Manager, International Programs, conducted the training program.

The first training was organized in the AAU campus from December 10-14, 2012 for teachers as well as students with the aim to further strengthen the e-learning platform and augment the process of creating a state-of-the-art e-learning center to deliver Information and Communication Technology-enabled courses for faculty and students.

The second training was conducted from December 17-21, 2012 at BHU campus, Varanasi in multimedia production to empower the educational community produce content for e-Learning platforms. During the training at BHU participants from SVPUA&T also took an active part.

During the training programs, the participants were given a detailed overview of the various elements of media production, handling camera, film editing, capturing lectures effectively using camera, synchronizing the captured lectures using Adobe CS6 and publishing lectures on YouTube and on the Online Learning And Training (OLAT) platform. During the course of the training, the team captured two live classroom lectures and published them on YouTube and OLAT.

These trainings are meant to create capacity for innovation in agricultural education through modern technologies and empower the implementation of the envisaged e-learning courses. These efforts will facilitate the institutions develop content for syllabi and guide them digitize and archive course materials as well as provide necessary inputs to shape up e-learning centers that will cater to the needs of the curricula of the universities.

The faculty members from various universities who were trained to capture classroom lectures will now start the operation on a pilot basis using digital cameras and edit the lectures using production software before publishing on YouTube and OLAT. They would further train other faculty members in their universities and prepare and execute a content production plan for the 1st and 2nd semester students before going live. These initiatives will empower the educational community to take a leadership role in producing a whole range of content that can be shared among educational institutions. Digitization of educational content will radically transform the learning environment for the educational community in India and empower people access a learning platform that will provide an entirely new means of global access, usage, re-combination and learner co-creation while ensuring quality, accuracy and trustworthiness.

Click to view the first media clip produced at AAU

Click for a snapshot of the training program for BHU and SVPUA&T faculty

AIP Conducts OLAT Training at BHU

September 11th, 2012 by
September 7-11, 2012 | Varanasi, Uttar Pradesh

AIP conducted a five-day training workshop on Online Learning And Training (OLAT), for the faculty at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) on September 7-11 at the BHU campus. OLAT, an open source Learning Management System, tailored to the needs of Universities and Higher Education institutions, will improve the teaching-learning experiences of students and teachers alike. Initiated by Prof. Ravi Pratap Singh, Director at IAS, BHU & Coordinator, AIP, the program sensitized the faculty on the use and benefits of OLAT and trained them on utilizing the Learning Management System (LMS) as an educational tool to offer effective as well as improved learning experiences to the students through blended learning. Earlier this year, Sathguru Management Consultants, a private partner in the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) project, helped BHU successfully create a platform to deploy the LMS.

About twenty-five faculty members were trained during the five days of training. Mr. Ananth Murthy and Mr. Ravinder M., trainers from Sathguru Management Consultants, provided hands-on training to the faculty on several aspects that included authoring, managing and publishing courses, e-Assessments and Questionnaires. The faculty were also trained on creating an interactive and intuitive platform for stimulating learning and implementing various forms of media for effective teaching. On the last day of the training the participants were trained on creating collaborative groups complete with tools such as forums, wikis and chat.

The hands-on training provided an opportunity for the faculty members to explore the innovative platform which offers a lot of flexibility for teachers and students alike to create course-independent work groups with their own forums and Wikis, start discussion forums, learn from online course modules, take/create self-evaluation tests, set-up learning/work groups, integrate Web 2.0 applications, etc.

The university faculty believes that deploying blended learning models in the university through OLAT will empower them enhance the quality and value of learning through appropriate supporting content, learner collaboration, increased interaction, flexibility and by enabling learners to engage in the learning process anytime, anyplace and on a just-in-time basis. E-learning will also help decrease cost of learning delivery, and reduce travel and subsistence costs.

Cornell Organizes Media Production Training for e-content Development for Indian Faculty

July 27th, 2012 by
July 16-27, 2012 | Cornell University, New York, USA
With the agenda of helping the Indo-Gangetic farmers prosper financially and socially, the Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) project strives to improve agricultural education imparted to the Indian agricultural students and professionals. Along with its ongoing efforts towards initiating changes in the curricula of the state agricultural universities and integrating experiential learning with classroom education, AIP is also gearing up to take its efforts in this direction to the next level by introducing an open source e-learning platform called OLAT (Online Learning and Training) to empower learners with unlimited access to the available knowledge base through e-learning courses. OLAT has been successfully installed at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology (SVPUA&T) and AIP’s efforts are underway to establish similar media production centers at Banaras Hindu University (BHU) and other state agricultural universities.

The training workshop on e-learning and media production methodologies, conducted at Emerson Hall, Bradfield, at Cornell’s College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS) from July 16–27, 2012 is another step taken towards building capacity for agricultural specialists who require adoption of modern teaching approaches and technologies. The training program further strengthened the collaborative effort for dissemination of the educational programs to the Indian agricultural students utilizing the cutting-edge learning solutions through digital technology platforms. Once implemented, these educational programs will enable the faculty to efficiently impart education to the students in a systematic manner while the learners will be better equipped with all-time access to Learning Management Systems and utilize the facility to derive maximum benefit from this virtual teaching-learning methodology. The e-learning courses will supplement classroom training to equip the students with sound understanding of the curricula.

The platform adapted for this purpose, OLAT, for instructing the Indian agricultural students, was tested and installed and the participating faculty members from the two major AIP partner universities, BHU and SVPU&T, were given hands-on training for implementing the platform in the respective institutions.

Under the expert supervision of Stefan Einarson, Director, Information Technology, Cornell University; Anantha Murthy, Information Specialist, Sathguru Management Consultants and Christopher Knight, Production Manager, Translational Learning, CALS, the hands-on training on OLAT was disseminated to Prof. R. K. Singh and Dr. Vijai P, faculty from BHU and also to Mr. Deepak S. and Dr. U. P. Shahi, faculty from SVPUA&T. The participating faculty members were trained not only in promoting interactive e-learning courses in the classrooms but also in assessing the progress of the students online using several parameters. Through OLAT Learning Management System (LMS), prototypes of content were uploaded in text and PPT formats, and the instructors gave the participants hands-on training in creating forums, tests, handling audio-visual equipment to capture video, edit content, record audio and synchronization techniques. Darcy A. Dyll, Web Applications Developer for International Programs, CALS, provided training on Adobe Premier Pro CS6 software. The participants were also given an exposure to Accordant Presenter Plus software for editing content and synchronization. The intensive training session was aimed at equipping the faculty members with the required skill sets and efficiency in capturing classes, edit and synchronize for publishing on OLAT to fortify the teaching methodologies and offer the students interactive and interesting e-learning facilities to derive full benefit from their curricula.

The end of the training program was marked by planning and preparation for an executable work plan to set up media production centers at BHU and SVPUA&T. It was also understood that for proper implementation of OLAT getting the right environment with proper infrastructure, studio installation and maintenance of the facilities are to be ensured. The work plan also focused on acquiring the content from Tamil Nadu Agricultural University and setting up standards for content. Making the infrastructure ready, decisions on filming classes in the interim and Cornell faculty training sessions at BHU and SVPUA&T for media production and hardware/software integration also formed integral parts of the work plan.

In order to avail the full range of benefits from the e-learning courses, the institutes have to follow the goals of integrating at least one e-learning course per department in the undergraduate course. In BHU and SVPUA&T the implementation of the e-learning courses through OLAT will be going through various processes that include assessment of infrastructure requirement, content integration, risk assessment, risk mitigation, student training and their assessment. With strict adherence to the timeline that is set for October 2012, the AIP consortium looks forward to positive changes being made through a collective effort to initiate progressive and innovative approaches.

AIP Conducts Hands-on Training on OLAT for SVPUA&T Faculty

July 2nd, 2012 by
June 28 – July 2, 2012

The Agricultural Innovation Partnership (AIP) aims to strengthen the educational system in Indian agricultural universities using innovative strategies. Towards this, AIP plans to implement the Online Learning and Training (OLAT), an Open Source LMS (Learning Management System) in many of the partner Indian Agricultural Universities. OLAT provides diverse functionality for all institutional needs in web-based learning and training. In the Indian universities, OLAT will ensure a richer teaching-learning experience for both teachers and students through blended learning. Classroom sessions using OLAT can produce effective results by decreasing costs and improving both student and teacher performances. Also, unlike a one-time classroom session, the e-learning courses can be used over and over again for teaching and learning. Learning could now be self-paced and easily managed.

Marking the beginning of its initiatives to sensitize faculty members on OLAT at partner institutions, AIP imparted training to about thirty faculty members at Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel University of Agriculture and Technology (SVPUA&T) from June 28 – July 2, 2012 at the SVPUA&T campus. Earlier this year, AIP facilitated the implementation and deployment of OLAT on the hardware target system at SVPUA&T.

The training program was coordinated by Mr. Deepak Sisodia and Mr. UP Shahi, faculty members, SVPUA&T. Trainers from Sathguru Management Consultants (Mr Anantha Murthy and Mr Ravinder), a private partner in the AIP project, trained the participants during the five-day program. The participants got to know how to effectively handle the software and ways of making optimal use of the LMS. Apart from providing hands-on training on the software, the participants were introduced to the different types and levels of users; ways of handling Home page setting; configuring and managing the software; creating courses; inserting course elements; managing and integrating SCORM, folders, Wiki, podcasts, blogs, forums, file dialogues, assessments, tasks, portfolios, questionnaires, enrolment, notifications, calendar, etc.

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