1. Satellite based Education:
YCMOU has witnessed a technological leap with the launching of EduSat based education, supported by the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO).The university has established several Virtual Learning Centers (VLC) in the past, each having full-fledged two-way audio and video communication facilities. The students registered for specific programs at the VLCs attend lectures there as per a pre-determined schedule. The experts deliver their lectures from the main hub at the university headquarters or from the specially created sub-studio at Regional Center, Pune. These live lecture sessions also provide scope for interaction with students located at various distant locations. This technology not only involves the learner actively in the learning process, but also ensures that quality academic inputs are provided uniformly to all the learners in the State. Furthermore, this approach to imparting education goes a long way in dealing with the shortage of adequate trained human resources for teaching specialized courses of study at remote locations.
2. Video on Demand:
University has initiated a novel experiment on pilot basis, when it achieved a conversion of the satellite–based lectures into a streaming video format on the web. YCMOU had recently launched this facility under its MPSC and UPSC Competitive Examination Guidance Program. Initially 30 lectures under this program, each of 2 hours duration were made available on the internet for the students. Registered students could view these lectures from any place where broadband connection was available. The Study Centers also arranged for group viewing of these lectures.
3. Environmental Awareness CDs in Open Access:
YCMOU started new initiative on the occasion of the World Environment Day on 5th June. A set of 30 videos on the theme ‘Environmental Awareness’ comprising of 13 CDs in Marathi and 17 CDs in English prepared by the university’s Audio Visual Centre, was released on the web as ‘Open Resource’. Padmashri Sundarlal Bahuguna, Dr. Madhav Chitale and Dr. Anand Karve have contributed to the development of these videos by way of lectures; some of the visuals for these videos have been the contributions of NASA, UCAR Communication, European Commission and Mostra Communications. These CDs were developed primarily in response to a national need created because of shortage of adequate trained and qualified teachers to teach this subject that has made compulsory by a Supreme Court directive; this initiative can be a very useful complementary tool for the teachers entrusted in teaching the subject. It will also help students and society in general, in gaining scientific information about our environment and issues related to it.
4. Mobile Learning Centre:
The Mobile Learning Center is especially designed to carry education to the remote, rural and tribal areas involves the construction of specially designed Mobile learning vans. The mobile van is a surface transport vehicle equipped with computing and communications infrastructure. It has a seating capacity of 12 learners and has 6 computers installed i.e. 2 students per computer using multimedia projection system. The on-board generator provides uninterrupted power supply to the system.
The first batch of students was provided with computer training using the Mobile Van in a tribal area in Nanashi village with a population of around 2500. It is 90 KM away from Nashik city. 56 students were registered for the first batch. The second batch running over the next three months was also implemented at this village. After the successful completion of the second batch, the mobile learning center moved to Harsul, another tribal area. Harsul is also a small village having a population of 3500. Two batches of computer literacy programs were successfully implemented at Harsul. The fifth batch of computer training was implemented at another tribal area in Peth. The further batches were conducted in rural areas in Trimbakeshwar and Surgana Tehsil. As the project proceeds further, more and more village and tribal communities will get access to relevant, high quality higher education and this will be an important contribution in ‘reaching the unreached’.
5. Krishi Vigyan Kendra, Nashik:
Indian Council of Agricultural Research (ICAR) New Delhi established the Krishi Vigyan Kendra in Yashwantrao Chavan Maharashtra Open University Nashik in 1994. It is an innovative farm science center, providing training and information services to the farmers in the district. The KVK acts as a vocational training center and working at the grass root level for imparting need-based training and skills in the field of agriculture and rural development. Besides, the Krishi Vigyan Kendra has also established a Model Farm to disseminate and demonstrate the agrotechniques suitable to the local farming community in the district for sustainable development. This model farm, equipped with modern irrigation system, has important horticultural crops like Mango, Grapes, Sapota, Guava, Amla, Cashewnut, Litchi, Coconut, Custard apple and Jackfruit developed to cater to the need of farmers in the district.
The KVK is equipped with soil & water testing laboratory, Phyto diagnostic laboratory, post harvest technology laboratory and an Agricultural Technology Information Center providing advisory and consultancy services to practicing farmers, rural youth and extension functionaries in the district. A novel experiment has also been undertaken with high density plantation, multi-storied cropping and high tech floriculture, use of biotech techniques for pest management, vermin-culture biotechnology and modern nursery with various shed net houses to meet the training need of farmers and to supply the planting material to farmers. The fruit orchard and poly-houses yields considerable commercial production.
6. Dai (Maternity Assistant) Training program:
The School of Health Sciences launched a Dai training program. This is a unique program in the health sector. Three books and a workbook coupled with a Power Point based package has developed under this program. In the first batch, the dai’s of Nandurbar, a backward tribal district of Maharashtra- participated in this program. The program has now been offered in many rural and urban locations. The program was also shared with a Bihar NGO in Hindi. Since home births still continue in many parts of the country, we wish to share this program with other SOUs and institutions in India.
7. Arogyamitra Training Program:
YCMOU developed Arogyamitra Training program for ASHA workers (Accredited Social Health Activist) under the National Rural Health Mission (NRHM) launched in 2005. YCMOU prepared the very first program to support ASHA workers in Maharashtra. This 16 credit points Arogyamitra program is popular in the voluntary sector and now the Maharashtra Human Development Mission has also taken up this program for 2000 ASHA workers in its 25 backward blocks in Maharashtra.