I presented a paper entitled “The E-Learning Bandwagon: Politics, Policies and Pedagogy” (download pdf or ppt) in the National Conference on “Choice and Use of ICTs in ODL: Impacts, Strategies and Future Prospects”, 29-30 March, 2007 organised by the Prof. Ram Reddy Research Academy of Distance Education (GRADE) of Dr. B.R. Ambedkar Open University, Hyderabad (the first Open University in India established in 1982) on invitation. As usual in many conferences, because of paucity of time, I was asked to present my paper in just 5 minutes. Obviously, I was not very happy because of time spent on the paper preparation, travel, two days spent at Hyderabad and above all the cost incurred to the institution is much more than the 5 minutes presentation. But, this gave me the idea of putting the paper to my website and link it in my blog for wider circulation.
The paper is focusing on the Indian context, and is based on my personal experiences and critical reflection. From the present scenario of e-learning, I present three proposition for discussion and debate:
- There are politics behind promotion of e-learning (I do not see politics as bad; but provide caution to take considered step towards e-learning);
- There are no policies to support e-learning (I urge the policy makers to put appropriate policies); and
- The pedagogies of e-learning are yet to unfold clearly (I emphasize on having appropriate pedagogical designs, though we are all in the process of learning and there is no definitive theory)
I also discuss some of the myths and lesson learned from global e-learning practices. At the end, I have suggested that in order to support e-learning in India, the following steps may be taken:
- Establishment of “Indian Council of Online Learning”;
- Online training of teachers on online technology through;
- Creation of “e-learning consortium” through participation of Open Universities; and
- A portal for teacher development of “Re-usable Learning Objects” as open content material made available to all.
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