In support of the Medical Council of India’s (MCI) nationwide faculty development initiative, Rajiv Gandhi University of Health Sciences (RGUHS), Karnataka has announced plans to build a satellite-based virtual classroom network that eventually will include 78 of the university’s affiliated medical and dental institutions across the state of Karnataka. M.S. Ramaiah Medical College (MSRMC) has been selected as the site for the main broadcasting studio, and each of the member institutions will be equipped with receiving stations.
As the relay hub for the network, the MSRMC studio will feature a digitally enabled lecture platform where workshops and presentations can be broadcast live, with real-time, two-way interaction, or recorded. The platform, which is being built by the high-tech education company Everonn, supports audio, video, and other presentation tools such as PowerPoint.
This new virtual system will advance faculty development throughout the RGUHS network by optimizing the university’s resources. Trained medical educators from each of the satellite medical education cells will be able to deliver high-quality lectures and workshops in various specialties to the virtual classrooms.
MSRMC was chosen as the broadcasting hub for its wealth of trained and committed educators, including eight FAIMER Fellows, all of whom will be involved with the studio programming when it goes live in January 2010. Venkatesh Doreswamy (PHIL 2007) has considerable experience developing virtual classroom content, and he has served on several committees and as a coordinator on this project beginning with conceptualization and now through implementation.
The virtual classroom network will help overcome staff shortages, reduce the overall program costs, lessen travel time, and ultimately train the greatest number of faculty members. Virtual classrooms at nearly 20 institutions will be operational when the network launches in January with the balance expected to come online by the end of March.