University Outreach Through Resource Sharing and Technology Platforms for Regional Development

University Outreach Through Resource Sharing and Technology Platforms for Regional Development

Meghana Joshi (Keck Graduate Institute (KGI), USA)
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-5225-1880-8.ch002
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There are examples of how university outreach and engagement concept can help rural areas that are lacking in economy, talent, investment and resources (infrastructure). Many rural areas of India are poor and have very few resources leading to migration of youth and others to urban and semi urban areas. Though the rural areas have more of natural resources compared to their urban counter parts, there are several issues including low educational attainment and capacity building which hinders rural development. There is also tendency of governments to focus on the development of cities and towns (smart cities). Like the concept of smart cities there is a need to develop a concept for holistic development of villages to make them more attractive. What villages need may be entirely different from what cities and towns need. There is a need to analyse the needs of rural areas in terms of education, skill development and competencies. There is a need for going well beyond use of technology and creating an atmosphere of innovation, motivation and positive look. The mission should be transforming knowledge into practice with engaging approach to education and preparing scholars to be leaders in their fields and communities. To illustrate this, we look at different models of learning that can reach out to educate the students/youngsters in the rural areas. This talks about how advances in technology and online platforms can help in developing different educational programmes in various fields. It is also argued that the focus should not be on the use of technology but on achieving the objective of the programme using various means available. It is necessary to follow a professional approach to develop new courses and curricula that can be put to practical use. In addition to improving infrastructure, wireless technology and trained labour, industries should be provided with incentives to move to Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities. Short-term training courses in areas that can help create skilled manpower for these industries that will eventually draw more investment and help continue develop and maintain those particular towns and cities. This chapter looks at how educational programmes can be developed using online technology platforms, collaborations, partnerships and educational pedagogies.
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Models Of Distance Learning

MOOCs (Massive open online courses) are a common model for online learning. This particular model works well if there is a facilitator or coordinator that tracks progress of the students as this model may work only for very proactive and dedicated students. Blended Learning complements face-to-face classes with eLearning modules (Voos 2003). Blended/Hybrid model involves interactive class-based discussion and teaching as well as readings and assignments, video recordings where the student is provided a script to learn independently. This hybrid approach may prove to be an effective strategy for online programs in collaboration. Industry relations to complement these programs and learning models can greatly enhance the quality of education, creating a workforce that will carry the required skill set and employability. This inturn provides local industries to flourish with the local skilled labour contributing to development of the region.

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