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Innovative Products and Prototypes
Updated on 14 Jan, 2019


Innovative Support Solutions

 
On-Demand Exam
NCIDE developed an innovative scheme of On-Demand Exam. The scheme was fully operational for more than 135 courses through 18 Regional Centres. Several students appeared in On-Demand Exam as per their need and convenience. The software for generating individualized question papers and for on-line registration for On-Demand exam was developed in-house in NCIDE with the help the Students Evaluation Division, Regional Services Division and the Regional Centres of IGNOU, the scheme of On-Demand Examination is now fully operational. The unique features of scheme included online submission of registration fee, issue of online hall ticket, online attendance record etc. The software could generate a large number of unique and parallel question papers exactly in accordance with the design and blueprint provided by the faculty. Presently the facility of On Demand Examination is on hold.  
 
Bilingual Digital Question Bank
Comprehensive bilingual question banks including marking schemes for about 200 courses covering about 30 programmes, have been developed. Question paper designs, blueprints and the sample papers have also been generated for these courses. Question bank has been used for instant generation of question papers for the On-Demand Exam. It can also be used for generation of question papers for Term End Examinations.
 
Prototype Online Examination System
In order to make the examination system more flexible and learner friendly and aiming at “instant testing-instant result”, NCIDE has developed a prototype system of online examination and evaluation. The Online exam scheme will help in spontaneous generation of question paper online, immediate Evaluation online and, immediate transfer of student data, their results and their records to the Students Evaluation Division. Besides better quality of question paper with 100% objectivity, immediate Evaluation and result declaration are some of the features of this scheme.

IGNOU’s e-Resource of Experts
In order to develop a dynamic database of the experts, NCIDE has developed a web based solution named as “e-Resource of Experts”. The e-Resource of Experts will be useful for identifying the best available expertise in the country for different academic activities of IGNOU such as course writer, editor, translator, question paper setter, moderator, and evaluators. The e-Resource of Experts has three modules namely Data Entry Module, Data Access Module and Administrators Module. The Data Entry Module is open for all. Any academic expert, from any part of the world can submit his/her profile online. The database can be accessed by the faculty and staff of IGNOU through Data Access Module.
 
Automated TMA Generation and Assignment Banking System
NCIDE has taken up a pilot project to develop an Automated TMA Generation and Assignment Banking System for the University. It has a provision of developing an online database of the assignment items in various courses and gives a facility for instant generation of course wise Assignment tests by the faculty.
 
Virtual Training Lounge
The Virtual Training Lounge is a web-based platform that enables trainers to provide training and capacity building of the ODL functionaries online. This system is designed to provide not only synchronous training, but also to sustain the learning experience of the trainees online. The ease of access to the VTL anytime from anywhere makes it an ideal platform for training and its sustainability. Some of its key features are:
  • Access anytime, anywhere through a web based platform.
  • Asynchronous and synchronous collaborative tools, such as discussion board, chat, wikis, blogs etc.
  • Flexible content uploading.
  • WYSIWYG editor for interactive content generation
On-Demand Exam
NCIDE developed an innovative scheme of On-Demand Exam. The scheme was fully operational for more than 135 courses through 18 Regional Centres. Several students appeared in On-Demand Exam as per their need and convenience. The software for generating individualized question papers and for on-line registration for On-Demand exam was developed in-house in NCIDE with the help the Students Evaluation Division, Regional Services Division and the Regional Centres of IGNOU, the scheme of On-Demand Examination is now fully operational. The unique features of scheme included online submission of registration fee, issue of online hall ticket, online attendance record etc. The software could generate a large number of unique and parallel question papers exactly in accordance with the design and blueprint provided by the faculty. Presently the facility of On Demand Examination is on hold.  
 
Features of the Scheme of On-Demand Exam
This innovative and flexible scheme of On-Demand Exam is independent of the traditional fixed time frame and had the following features:
  • No need to wait for the six-monthly term end examination,
  • Choice of deciding the date of exam lies with students,
  • Multilayer security system to maintain confidentiality and secrecy of the entire process ,
  • Students can register online for On-Demand Exam any time from anywhere,
  • Online issue of Hall Ticket mentioning the date, venue and time of examination,
  • Multi-mode registration-fee payment system including online payment through Credit Card or payment through bank draft,
  • Automated online clarification of doubts and information to the students,
  • Individualized question papers for different students generated on the day of examination,
  • Encryption of the Question papers immediately after their generation,
  • Exam conducted under web-based closed circuit camera surveillance,
  • Online submission of attendance on the day of exam, and
  • Online submission of the awards and marks by the examination superintendent.
Eligibility to Appear in On-Demand Exam
Already registered student of IGNOU for a programme being offered by the University, had the option to appear in the On-Demand Exam provided the student had completed the minimum eligibility time and had valid registration period. The eligible students could appear in the examination through ODES as per their wish and preparation as and when they feel ready for the examination, subject to availability of the seats on the day of his/her choice at the On-Demand Exam centre and also the availability of the question bank in that particular course.

Process of Registration for On-Demand Exam
The registration for the On-Demand Exam could be done only online through IGNOU website.  On paying the exam fee by Credit Card, the Hall Ticket was generated instantaneously and the student could take its printout. Registration fee could also be paid through bank draft in favour of IGNOU. In that case an acknowledgement receipt was generated immediately and the student was required to submit the original bank draft along with a copy of the acknowledgement receipt at the concerned Regional Centre. After receiving the bank draft at the Regional Centre, his/her registration for On-Demand Exam was confirmed and information to that effect is automatically sent to the student's account which could be accessed by him/her using his/her registration number allotted at the time of online registration.
 

 

Innovative Learning Solutions

 
IMM-Rich Mobile Apps
New and innovative information and communication tools have created a revolution in the delivery mechanism of the educational system in particular the distance education system globally. A survey was conducted by the NCIDE to understand the learners’ preferences and choices for using mobile as a learning tool. On the basis of the survey conducted and in pace with the latest pedagogic and technologic developments in mobile learning at NICDE we have designed several educational applications for the learners.
 
Web-Support Portal for CHCWM
The web support portal of Certificate in Health Care Waste Management Programme of School of Health Science, IGNOU is another innovative intervention of NCIDE to revolutionise the learning experience of the distance learner by captivating and empowering the so called isolated learners to successes. This programme is targeted at the professionals and paraprofessionals working in the health care, like doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and sanitary inspectors.
 
Computer Literacy Programme
As a part of the North East Educational Development activity, the Computer Literacy Programme (CLP) was launched from November 1, 2002 in most of the states of North East. This was launched through select Study Centres of IGNOU and Community Information Centres (CICs) of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology spread across the region on pilot basis. As a collaborative initiative, IGNOU had signed an MOU with Ministry of Communications & Information Technology for the utilization of the Community Information Centres of North East established by the Ministry.
 
Prototype development of Tablet/Mobile enabled Interactive Multimedia rich applications for Certificate in Arabic Language (CAL) programme
The importance of teaching and learning of any foreign language has long been recognized and acknowledged in cultural diversity of India. The major components of learning any foreign language are reading, writing, speaking (communication), and listening skills for various levels (beginners to advanced). Unlike many academic disciplines, learning a language is challenging from the word go. From the beginning, language learners face unrecognizable letters and words, unfamiliar sounds, translations, explanations based on grammar, etc.
 
Virtual Lab Management System (VlabMS)
A prototype of the virtual laboratory known as VlabMS which was first of its kind in India was designed and developed with the available resources in 2006-2007. This was further extended to hosting OER based lab resources which was accessible to any interested learner. Later in 2010 the web-enabled module of the computer Literacy programmes consisting of about 800 simulations, demonstrations and evaluation for the learners to experience hands on training of the lab component of the Computer Literacy Programme were integrated in the VlabMS.
 
Development of Interactive-Chartbookfor Mobile users
The mobile enabled chartbook application enable the health workers to assess, classify, identify treatment, treat the young infant or child, counsel the mother and refer growth charts on their mobile devices through a simple and algorithm based scheme. Mobile component of the IMNCI Package for health workers which include interactive chartbook for handheld basic multimedia, JAVA enabled mobile handsets.
 
Pilot Project on eBook Development
The NCIDE is working towards the development of ebooks of various self-learning material of IGNOU. The idea is about providing self-learning material to the learners accessible through their mobile devices which they can read anytime, anywhere.  
 
Science@Mobile
In order to exploit the potential of the fast spreading mobile technology in the country, the National Centre for Innovations in Distance Education (NCIDE) in IGNOU in collaboration with VigyanPrasar (Department of Science and Technology) Govt. of India has started “Science @Mobile - an innovative scheme of science popularisation through mobile. The Target Group for the Science @ Mobile, basically includes all the people irrespective of age, gender, socio-economic background, geographical location.
 
IMM-Rich Mobile Apps
  • Interactive Multimedia Rich Mobile Learning Applications

    New and innovative information and communication tools have created a revolution in the delivery mechanism of the educational system in particular the distance education system globally. A survey was conducted by us to understand the learners preferences and choices for using mobile as a learning tool. On the basis of the survey conducted and in pace with the latest pedagogic and technologic developments in mobile learning at NICDE we have designed the following educational applications for the learners.
     
  • Prototype Development of Mobilets - A new initiative towards mobile enabled learning

    Mobilet consists of tailor-made useful and important concepts and theories related to a topic explained in a simple way using rich media resources like animations, sounds, images, videos etc. which makes learning on mobile devices interesting. It also includes Scenario based Mobi-learning. This component of the mobilet, gives a situation to the learner outlined in the form of a scenario which the leaner go through on their mobile devices. Every mobilet also includes quizzes to evaluate the learners.
  • Development of interactive-chartbook for Mobile users

    Close to 50 per cent of newborn deaths in India occur during the first seven days of birth. Many young lives are lost due to parents failing to recognise warning signs and sick children not being taken to health facilities on time. Ministry of Health & Family Welfare Government of India in collaboration with WHO Department of Child and Adolescent Health and Development (CAH) under the IMNCI training has developed guidelines for doctors and health workers in the form of chart books to addresses such issues. With the increase in usage of mobile devices, which is more than use of computer and internet, an interactive chartbook for Mobile prototype of accessing chart books on the mobile phones has been developed for the doctors and health workers.
  • Prototype development of mobile enabled collaborative learning environment

    The Mobile enabled collaborative learning environment is integrating with the online learning system developed by us for learners who need to access through mobile internet their course content, or collaborate with their peers through asynchronous mode in the form of discussion boards and synchronously through chat forums any time anywhere. They can also access quiz and evaluate themselves on handheld devices. The mobile enabled collaborative learning environment basically includes User login, Course navigation, Multi Language support. Activities in a course can be mobile enabled by the course creator so that they are available to be used on students’ mobile phones.
  • Interactive Multimedia Rich mobile package on IMNCI doctors for android, windows and other flash supported Tablets

    The availability of user friendly, cost-effective tablets for learners has opened a plethora of opportunities for us to design learning opportunities for mobile devices like palmtops and tablets. We have customized an innovative mechanism to distribute interactive multimedia rich packages on android, windows and other flash supported tablets.


 
Web-Support Portal for CHCWM
The proliferation of Information Communication Technology (ICT) in the 21st century has created a global impact in the development of higher education in general and  transformation particularly of distance education, from providing learning through print based technology to interactive, flexible, intelligent learning environments.
The web support portal of Certificate in Health Care Waste Management Programme of School of Health Science, IGNOU is another innovative intervention of NCIDE to revolutionise the learning experience of the distance learner by captivating and empowering the so called isolated learners to successes. This programme is targeted at the professionals and paraprofessionals working in the health care, like doctors, nurses, laboratory technicians and sanitary inspectors. It also targets the programme managers and the hospital or health care facility administrators. Since the programme has an eligibility of undergraduate level, anyone in the community who is interested can also enrol and benefit from the programme. The portal enables the learners to access interactive ready reference material anytime, anywhere by using any digital supported device. It gives them an opportunity to go through the interactive material along with the identified resources made available to them before attending the counseling sessions. The web support portal provides individualized guidance and counselling to the learners. It provides an effective information system with a range of activities and interactions that impacts teaching and learning. Since the target group is so vast and diverse, the flexibility and the type and range of material that can be accessed can be decided by the individual learners as per their need  thus making learning more individualistic.
Some of the innovative features include the following:
1.       Students can access web enabled self-learning material as soon as their admission is confirmed, they need not wait for the printed material.
2.       Pedagogically, the web support platform enables the learners to access the content through various elearning methods and strategies including mind-maps, interactive self-learning materials presentation, demonstration of skills through video, drill and practice through virtual class, open source games, case studies, role-plays, discussion and interaction and collaboration, through synchronous and asynchronous mode of communication.
3.       As the web support is based on open source technologies provided by google the technology infrastructure in context to hardware as well as software required by distance educators and counselors as well as the learners is minimal.
4.       As software has pre-installed themes ,templates, sites pages &page design layout interface designs for the creation of web pages, content, navigation etc. it is very easy for distance educators to create their own pages by using drag and drop facilities and publish them nicely for any device.
5.       Content can be inserted from google drive as well as other applications. For example, content from Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, Forms, Charts, Videos, or Images from Google Drive into a section of the web portal. One can also insert Google Calendars, Maps, and YouTube videos, too. 
6.       Through the web support portal the learners can download assignments and have access to latest information.
7.       The eligible learners can use the facilities provided by the web support portal
8.       Multiple layers of security, including leading encryption technology like HTTPS and Transport Layer Security.
The web support portal with the above mentioned technology features is developed using G-Suit which is free for IGNOU. On the same pattern all the schools can have their programme portal and can use the facility available to interact with the learners, to facilitate and support the learners.
 


 
Computer Literacy Programme
As a part of the North East Educational Development activity, the Computer Literacy Programme (CLP) was launched from November 1, 2002 in most of the states of North East. This was launched through select Study Centres of IGNOU and Community Information Centres (CICs) of Ministry of Communications and Information Technology spread across the region on pilot basis. As a collaborative initiative, IGNOU had signed an MOU with Ministry of Communications & Information Technology on 31st  March 2003 for the utilization of the Community Information Centres of North East established by the Ministry. Through its pilot launch of CLP training, IGNOU could train considerable number of candidates in different states of North East. The print material of the Computer Literacy Programme in English was specially designed and prepared.
The programme is of one-month duration covering the basics of computer operations and applications (WINDOWS and; MS-OFFICE). The course is spread over five blocks along with one lab manual. A certificate of participation is awarded by IGNOU to the successful participants.
This innovation is related to the development of multiple media enabled CLP. Apart from the printed training material the other media components that were expected to be integrated in the CLP are interactive multimedia CDs and web support through virtual lab platform developed by NCIDE(See Fig. 1). This activity was a joint collaboration of National Centre for Innovation in Distance Education (NCIDE) and erstwhile Education Development of North Eastern Region Unit (EDNERU)


 
Prototype development of Tablet/Mobile enabled Interactive Multimedia rich applications for Certificate in Arabic Language (CAL) programme
The importance of teaching and learning of any foreign language has long been recognized and acknowledged in cultural diversity of India. The major components of learning any foreign language are reading, writing, speaking (communication), and listening skills for various levels (beginners to advanced). Unlike many academic disciplines, learning a language is challenging from the word go. From the beginning, language learners face unrecognizable letters and words, unfamiliar sounds, translations, explanations based on grammar, etc. On top of this it is expected from the learners to actually say something, and write. In this context the emerging ICT enabled technologies especially mobile applications offers a gamut of opportunities to support language learners to enrich the language teaching, and enhance the quality and effectiveness of learning. The technology part of a language learning course mainly consists of audio lessons, mobile and online learning and hands-on practice tools, and live speaking practice.
This concept is based on the discussions held with the Vice Chancellor and faculty of School of Foreign Languages, as regarding providing innovative technological solutions to the School of Foreign Language, taking Arabic language as a pilot case. Thus, NCIDE in collaboration with School of Foreign Languages developed a prototype for providing innovative technological solutions for teaching learning Arabic as a foreign language.


 
Virtual Lab Management System (VlabMS)
In general for a practical based course offered through open and distance learning it is essential for the learners to go through a lab work. In case of IGNOU the practical based programmes have study centers in well-established reputed colleges in various cities of the country. The required resources like laboratory for conducting the practical, and classroom to conduct counseling for the programmes are provided by the concerned college. However, the laboratory in the colleges is used by IGNOU students during winter and summer vacations of the college. This result in less coordination between theory and practical work. As a response to the above problems a need was felt to initially develop a prototype of VlabMS for elementary physics and chemistry experiments for B.Sc. learners as a cost-effective solution with omnipresent facility and a value addition to practical component.  
A prototype of the virtual laboratory known as VlabMS which was first of its kind in India was designed and developed with the available resources in 2006-2007. This was further extended to hosting OER based lab resources which was accessible to any interested learner. Later in 2010 the web-enabled module of the computer Literacy programmes consisting of about 800 simulations, demonstrations and evaluation for the learners to experience hands on training of the lab component of the Computer Literacy Programme were integrated in the VlabMS. Thus, this platform became useful to the learner to gain information and knowledge just when it is required. It is more interactive and can send information and receive feedback.
 
Development of Interactive-Chartbook for Mobile users
One of the integral components in India to meet the MDG through IMNCI strategy is the training of front-line functionaries (health workers) including ANM’s and Anganwadi Workers (AWW’s). This training facilitates the health workers to take care for newborns and their mothers; infant and young child feeding; vaccines; prevention and case management of pneumonia, diarrhea, malaria control in the community settings.   The recent developments of mobile technologies and the wide access of mobile devices at the grass root levels have generated a wide range of opportunities to support the usage of mobile application for teaching, training, and to accomplish day-to-day work at hand. Many health workers at the grassroot levels have mobile phones, and some even have low cost tablets and smart phones. In general, most of the health workers specifically in India have basic multimedia enabled mobile phone. India has the world's second-largest mobile phone user base with over 929.37 million users as of May 2012.

NCIDE-SOHS, IGNOU under the UNICEF funded project  “Development of aBilingual IDVD enabled and Mobile Supported IMNCI Training package for Health Workers” developed mobile enabled chartbook for health workers both in English and Hindi which can be used by them during the training as well as in the field where they provide health care services to the community.
 
The mobile enabled chartbook application enable the health workers to assess, classify, identify treatment, treat the young infant or child, counsel the mother and refer growth charts on their mobile devices through a simple and algorithm based scheme. Mobile component of the IMNCI Package for health workers which include interactive chartbook for handheld basic multimedia, JAVA enabled mobile handsets. The software on the basic multimedia phone is designed primarily to support the listening to audio, capturing and viewing images, video and playing java or flash enabled games. While these are of some use to the health workers, they are to be customized to meet their training and day-to-day activities at work. The mobile enabled chartbook for health workers both in English and Hindi is developed in such a way that it can be used by the health workers during the training as well as in the field where they provide health care services to the community. The mobile enabled chartbook application enable the health workers to assess, classify, identify treatment, treat the young infant or child, counsel the mother and refer growth charts on their mobile devices through a simple and algorithm based scheme. The choice of software tools was pragmatic. Though we had a lot of options and high-end tools like flashlite to develop the chatbook for mobile phone, but keeping in view the group of health workers who hailed from rural, tribal and urban areas, the chartbook was developed on the J2ME platform, which had the capability of running on basic multimedia mobile phones. Initially, the chartbook was interactive as it opened the relevant section on the basis of the menu based input given by the end user and later we developed an automated responsive chartbook.
 
Pilot Project on eBook Development
The NCIDE is working towards the development of ebooks of various self-learning material of IGNOU. The idea is about providing self-learning material to the learners accessible through their mobile devices which they can read anytime, anywhere.  
 
Some of the Advantages of ebook developed by NCIDE are as follows:
1. Paperless: Paper is not required to publish an ebook.
 2. Space: They don’t take any physical space (room or library) to store them.
3. Portable: They carry no weight and bulk of books can be taken anywhere, in CDs, laptops, smartphone, ebook reader etc.
4. Easy accessibility: They can be read everywhere, for example, in a coffee shop, or while travelling. 5. Easy to search: While reading, any information within the ebook is searchable, with a click.
6. Cost-effective: As they are delivered online, the printing and manufacturing costs are saved.
7. Instant Delivery:ebooks are delivered on demand instantly. One can download and start reading them.
8. Disable Friendly: The feature of resizing fonts in an ebook reader makes it easier for the persons with disabilities to read them. Also ebooks can be swiftly turned into audio books with the help of in-built software available in devices.
 
Science@Mobile
In order to exploit the potential of the fast spreading mobile technology in the country, the National Centre for Innovations in Distance Education (NCIDE) in IGNOU in collaboration with VigyanPrasar (Department of Science and Technology) Govt. of India has started “Science @Mobile - an innovative scheme of science popularisation through mobile. The Target Group for the Science @ Mobile, basically includes all the people irrespective of age, gender, socio-economic background, geographical location. The basic objectives of the scheme are:
  • To exploit the potential of mobile phones for science popularisation in the society,
  • To spread the scientific knowledge including science news and updates among the people through mobile service,
  • To create an awareness about the health, energy and environmental issues of common interest in the society through mobile devices,
  • To create interest among the people towards science and hence to develop a scientifically empowered society in India.
In the first phase of the scheme eight different types of sms items are being delivered through mobiles which include interesting science facts, science quotations, latest science news, about scientists, science humour, health tips, green tips, and events and days of scientific importance.

The scheme of Science @Mobile has certain innovative features which include no fee for subscribing science SMS and it can be subscribed through mobile as well as through computer from anywhere and anytime. Another features is that the people have the option to select what type of information they would like to receive on their mobile as per your choice and interest also they can select the frequency of receiving the sms i.e. daily or weekly. There is provision of getting feedback from the subscribers. Subscriber has also the option to unsubscribe the service anytime from anywhere.

Incubating and Nurturing Innovations

 

Popular talk Series on Innovations in Distance Education

NCIDE organizes a series of popular talk on innovations and developments in open and distance education through teleconference via satellite on every last Wednesday of a calendar month. The basic purpose of the popular talk series is to facilitate the exchange of innovative ideas and experiences in the field of distance education and to foster the spirit of innovation among the faculty and students.

Innovation Management System

The Innovation Management System (IMS) is a web based platform to manage new ideas and innovations in the ODL system. The new ideas are collected and managed in an effective manner so that these could be utilized for implementation, upgradation, reference, and also for generating new innovations in the ODL system. The IMS comprises a front-end system to capture and develop ideas, and a back-end system to assess and implement those ideas. It provides an easily accessible and cost-effective online platform for interaction through chat and discussion forum. Through this platform, the innovators can interact with each other, with NCIDE and other stakeholders, and share their ideas and work.
 
 “Did You Know?” Posters and A/V

 

NCIDE prepares and disseminates Posters and A/V Programmes titled “Did You Know?” These include interesting topics, which have lot of bearing on our real life situations but generally go unnoticed. Since April 2011, more than two hundred posters have been prepared and displayed. The facts are converted into 300 audio programmes in English titled “Did You Know?” and 300 in Hindi titled “Kya AapJaanteyHain?”. These are being broadcast through GyanVani. About 30 Video programmes have been developed, which are being telecast through GyanDarshan.