Open Agricultural Educational Resources in India: Present Status and Way Forward

imagesThe Open Educational Resources are now gaining momentum and so are the Open Agricultural Educational Resources (OAERs). In India, the Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) took initiative in developing e-courses for undergraduate agriculture students in collaboration with State Agricultural Universities (SAUs). When the Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) are becoming popular among the students of other disciplines and digitally born materials are increasing in numbers, the authors of this paper attempted to explore the present status of the OAERs in India and what is the way forward for it in the National Agricultural Research System (NARS). When searched on the Internet, it was found that the Indian Agricultural Statistics Research Institute (IASRI) and National Academy of Agricultural Research Management (NAARM), constitute establishments of the ICAR are helping to build e-courses on to Moodle platform and are involved in the capacity development among the Agriculture teachers. The other institutions like The International Crops Research Institute for the Semi-Arid Tropics (ICRISAT), M. S. Swaminathan Research Foundation (MSSRF), Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Kanpur, IIT Bombay, Indian Institute of Management (IIM) Calcutta, Common Wealth of Learning (COL) are also now developing Agriculture MOOCs. These institutions in collaboration with SAUs are developing courses which are like classroom teaching involving audio, visuals and also live interactions and finally assessment and certification. When the usage of digitally born teaching aids is increasing by the teaching faculty in the SAUs, and there is a growing tendency among the faculties to share the materials over the Internet as evident from the posts on social media, it is possible for the easy share and exchange of the materials by depositing the same in repositories of OAERs. This would help in the development of a common portal which can harvest the materials deposited and catalogue them for easy access, use, re-use for learning and teaching purposes. The authors have also looked at the licensing of these MOOCs or OAERs. While the National Repository of Open Educational Resources (NROER), ePG Pathshala, e-UG Pathshala are being developed by the Ministry of Human Resources Development are being shared with Creative Commons Attribution – ShareAlike. The Agriculture MOOCs does not state any machine readable licensing mechanism which will make the crawlers or bots to search and harvest the materials for use and re-use without technical and legal restrictions. They, however state that the content is free to use for educational and non-commercial purposes. Therefore, the authors propose that the way forward is to establish repositories by the publicly funded institutions involved in teaching for depositing and sharing the content developed by their respective faculty. And the establishment of a portal called ‘Agriculture Commons’ which can harvest the contents from the established repositories with a suitable Creative Commons license.

Cite this article as: Sabita Mondal, "Open Agricultural Educational Resources in India: Present Status and Way Forward," in Open Access India, December 24, 2015, http://openaccessindia.org/744-2/, accessed on August 21, 2017.

Share