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Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham is transforming the face of higher education and research, through a revolutionary new educational tool – virtual labs. The VALUE Initiative is a project dedicated to developing these virtual labs in various science and engineering disciplines. Virtual labs are media-rich online learning environments, which allow users to conduct physical laboratory experiments in a computer-simulated environment. This innovative new educational technique is enabling experimentation beyond the boundaries of traditional laboratories.
The vision of this project is to provide free and easy access to high quality educational resources to higher education students across India, regardless of whether they are based in geographically remote rural areas or economically challenged backgrounds. Free virtual labs allows sharing of scarce and costly scientific equipment with institutions that are less fortunate, thereby providing the opportunity for students to conduct experiments that they would not otherwise have access to. These digital learning tools are enabling students to practice and better learn the theory and concepts behind the experiments whenever and wherever they are.
These experiments can be conducted in threeways.
In addition to the actual experiments, these virtual learning environments have a number of features which include illustrated theory notes, animations, modeling, interactive quizzes and workbooks, and video lectures which can be viewed as many times as necessary. Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham and eleven other premier institutions from across India have been working diligently for the last two years to bring this project to fruition. Although the primary objective is to benefit Indian students on a large scale, these virtual labs are being freely accessible via the internet and are currently in use in over 12 countries.
This collection with a total of 91 virtual laboratories containing 100 experiments covering a total of 9 disciplines in science and engineering was made nationally available and completely free of cost.
AmritaCREATE developed over 220 simulation based experiments for Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham award winning VALUE Virtual Simulation Labs consisting of simulations, animations, graphics and videos. In 2013, our video channel (with nearly 1.5 million video views), was included in YouTubeEDU, a community of high-quality educationalchannels on YouTube.
Over a period of 4 years, 40+ AmritaCREATE software developers, designers, subject experts, animators and video editors developed the labs with subject matter guidance from faculty in the School of Arts & Sciences and the School of Biotechnology. When equipment was not available at Amrita, we visited colleges such as Government Polytechnic College, Kottayam, Devaswom Board Pampa College, Mannar and others to shoot for our labs. ( Visit Virtual Labs at Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham »» )
The VALUE initiative has conducted workshops across Southern India. In excess of 20 Nodal Centers have been created at institutions that have expressed interest to champion Virtual Labs in their organizations and geographic regions. Almost 300 department heads, faculty, and staff representing 152 institutions have now been trained.