The Educational technology unit (ETU) in CDAC Mumbai (formerly NCST) was created around 1995. At that time its focus was to act as a bridge connecting the course and general administration of the centre, the faculty and the students, through suitable technological interventions. We have been running a very popular diploma programme for many years till then, and as the scope and enrolments increased, we realised a formal mechanism for this was needed. We had multiple courses, and at least one course was run at nearly 10 affiliate locations. Managing manually was becoming error prone and inefficient. One of the first targets was to build a result management system – first as spreadsheet, and later as a full-fledged database based solution.
It soon became the core group responsible for the Vidyakash project, which brought eLearning as an area into focus at CDAC Mumbai. Over the years, the scope of using technology to enhance the teaching/learning process has evolved quite drastically. On the technology side also, there have been drastic changes. Mobiles were only in imagination in the early days of ETU; today it is more common than desktops. Cloud computing, social networking, etc are things that came along, during our journey so far.
The group has been active over the last two decades, continually refocusing our work in tune with the changing time. We also worked closely with the Open Source movement. The group has adopted many open source software relevant to education – used it, and extended it, and often gave back the extensions to the community.
Educational Technology Unit of CDAC Mumbai, operational since year 2000, is focusing of technology use in education with activities spanning R&D in focus areas, creating awareness, exploration as well as adoption of FOSS in education. Focus areas include Virtual Labs, Online Assessment techniques, Interactive Content creation, Learning Management Systems, Open Source EdTech authoring tools, Process Automation for Competitive Examinations.
Prominent ongoing projects are Online Labs (OLabs) for school lab experiments, CBSE SAFAL, Application Processing of GATE/JAM exams, Parikshak – An online program grading tool, ELMS and OBRIC. ETU team is working is MeitY, MoE (NCERT & CBSE), IITs/IIMs, SEBI, MoTA (NESTS) and several schools, colleges for implementation of these projects.