Imparting Geospatial Skills through Virtual and Blended Modes in an Open and Distance Learning: A Pilot Study
Keywords:Geospatial, TeamViewer, Multimodal workshop, Virtual, Face-to-face, Fieldwork, ODL
Our nation is committed towards skill development by skilling the human resources. Through skilling, an attempt is made to raise their economic standards in order to end poverty and hunger. Geospatial skills include skills in technologies like Remote Sensing, Global Positioning System (GPS) and Geographical Information Systems (GIS). Today geospatial technology is the key to many areas of commerce and governance. India has become one of the largest user and consumer of these technologies for its development process and several ministries and departments have initiated huge programmes of thematic mapping
and wide usage of geospatial applications. There is a need to create skilled workforce in these mapping technologies and Open and Distance Learning (ODL) would provide a platform to create contents related to these technologies for masses in an effective and economic manner. This research makes an effort in this direction. Geospatial skills require software demonstration as practical training which can be given through virtual mode with the help of TeamViewer software’s meeting option. This enables the tutor in an ODL system to share his/her desktop along with his/her video and audio to the distant learners. This also shares the learner’s video and audio with the tutor. So it resembles a normal face-to-face classroom in virtual mode. For this pilot study, 37 participants including three faculty members of Shobhit University, Meerut were registered for a multimodal workshop on “Awareness of Geospatial Technology and its Applications”. Different topics of the workshop were delivered through different modes like virtual mode, face-to-face mode, field work etc. Finally feedback of the participants
was taken into consideration on the basis of questionnaires. This study could be taken as a kind of pilot study which could be
implemented for similar courses offered by ODL institutions and would go a long way in creating skilled workforce and fulfil our nation’s agenda of Sustainable Development Goals.