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1. Introduction  
  2. Courses offered  
  3. IISc - Indian Institute of Science  
  4. COL - Commonwealth of Learning  
  5. Distance Education System and Study Skills  
  6. Course Content  
  Course 1 : Municipal Solid Waste Management  
  Course 2 : Environmental Management  
  7. Course Schedule  
  8. Qualifications and Requirements  
  9. Evaluation  

 

Welcome to Distance Learning in Environment Engineering  

Aimed at providing in-service professionals with the knowledge, skills and attitudes that enable them to recognize and solve problems in their domains of study and future work, the Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) offers distance-learning courses in Environmental Engineering.  

The Institute uses various media for course delivery. The printed course materials, for example, are self-learning in nature, simulating learner-teacher interaction. Furthermore, appropriate information and communications technologies are used to facilitate just-in-time contacts among distance learners and teachers. The delivery model also incorporates an instructional system that uses performance-based learning processes and this enables you to demonstrate your understanding of the content-areas. The intensive competence-based course format allows you to take more responsibility for your own learning. In order to cater to the varying learning styles, the Institute offers the subject material in the following modes:

 

i.         Downloadable mode: Downloadable mode empowers to offer education in a dynamic form to students. Students can access lessons, assignments and submit their scripts online. They need not brood if they miss lessons - they can download their lesson notes and access archived lessons, tutorial sessions, lectures, etc.

 

ii.       Read-only mode: Students will be able to only read the course concepts, downloads or interactive sessions are unavailable.

 

iii.      Classroom interaction: The interactive learning provides an environment for students to talk and discuss freely about any related topics on or off line.

 

·        iiii.Synchronous and asynchronous communication (x chat, discussion forum, bulletin board, email, etc.): Client Server Model that works with Internet Relay Chat Server Protocol, it allows servers to connect to each other effectively forming a network. Protocol is used by servers to talk to one another. Instructor and participants can talk with each other and discuss on related topic for stipulated time given by the instructor. In mailing-grouping, participants can become member of Mailing-group by registering their names in their group. Once approved by the instructor, participants can post their questions to this group ID. This way the course instructor or any other participant can reply to questions that will be read by all the members in that group including the instructor.

 

                 iv.      Practice orientation: Participants progress through the curriculum by demonstrating their competence in a variety of skill and knowledge areas. Student who demonstrates a competency is showing the ability "to do" something to put knowledge and principles into practice. After completing all examinations, students are required to apply the course content in his or her work setting and submit an example of how they achieved this goal.

 

Currently, the following two courses are on offer during August – December and January – May sessions at the Indian Institute of Science, Centre for Continuing Education (http://cce.iisc.ernet.in):

 

1.            Environmental Management

2.            Municipal Solid Waste Management

 

Note that the course home page is the central location for course information. The faculty in charge of the course(s) will post their syllabi, grading policies, assignments, course schedules, etc., on the page. This apart, during the briefing session, you will

Indian Institute of Science (http://www.iisc.ernet.in)

Tata Statue

BACKGROUND

 

The Indian Institute of Science was started in 1909 through the pioneering vision of J.N. Tata. Since then, it has grown into a premier institution of research and advanced instruction, with more than 2000 active researchers working in almost all frontier areas of science and technology. IISc is an institute of higher learning and is constantly in pursuit of excellence. It is one of the oldest and finest centres of its kind in India and has a very high international standing in the academic world as well.

 

The Institute currently has more than forty academic departments, pursuing research in different areas of science and engineering. The departments belong to one of the two faculties of the Institute, viz., the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Engineering. The Faculty of Science awards PhD degrees through the Regular Research and Integrated PhD programme, while the Faculty of Engineering awards ME, MTech and MDes degrees in addition to PhD and MSc (Engg).

 

The Institute houses a huge collection of journals and textbooks in the J.R.D Tata Memorial Library. The Library also subscribes to many journals and publications in the electronic form. The Supercomputer Education and Research Centre makes available state-of-the-art computational facilities to the staff and students. The Centre runs round-the-clock, seven days a week and 365 days a year, helping the researchers to break many barriers in computational science and engineering.

 

The Institute has pioneered advanced education in India and has been making many significant contributions to frontier areas of research. The number of students in the institute is kept deliberately small in order to focus on quality. It has been able to innovate and introduce (a) new systems of imparting knowledge and (b) educational reforms such as offering courses under unit system. The Institute was the first to introduce (i) Masters’ programs in engineering (ii) the Integrated PhD Programs in Biological, Chemical, Physical and Mathematical Sciences for science graduates (iii) the new IISc Young Fellowship program for the first 20 rank holders at the + 2 level and (iv) IISc Young Engineering Fellowship program for merited III year BE/ BTech students.


The Institute has been primarily responsible for starting many fields of activity that include (i) Aerospace, Automation, Chemical, Civil, Computers, Electronics, Electrical, Mechanical, Metallurgical and Telecommunication Engineering in Engineering and (ii) Biochemistry, Biophysics, ecology, Materials Science and Solid State & Structural Chemistry in Science. It has also acted as a reservoir from which leadership and human resources for the future scientific developments and industries can be drawn. It is now involved in several emerging areas of national importance: space science and technology, environmental and atmospheric sciences, endocrinology, genetic engineering, rural technology and energy problems.


The Institute has a Centre for Scientific and Industrial Consultancy, through which significant R&D work is done on identified projects sponsored by industries. The know-how so generated has been transferred to industries. Transfer of technology has also taken place in areas such as low-cost housing and renewable sources of energy, which benefit the society. Similarly, the facilities available at the Institute such as low and high speed wind-tunnels, water-tunnel, high-speed computers and sophisticated instruments have been helping public and private sector industries and defence. There has also been a certain amount of social utilization of work in biosciences. For instance, (i) plant tissue culture of sandal wood, eucalyptus and teak wood (ii) disease control in silk worms and (iii) nutritional value enhancement of rice strains. Some recent projects include the development of cryogenic equipment and vessels for advanced aircraft, fracture analysis of industrial and space launch vehicle components, thermo-metallurgical modeling of steel industries, acoustic absorbers to reduce acoustic pollution in industrial environment and automobiles and microbial techniques for gold extraction from mines. In 1997, the Institute released technologies relating to AIDS diagnostic kit, biomass gasifier and ferroelectric materials.


In all these endeavours, the Institute, with an awareness of its noble tradition and the need for maintaining a high quality in all its activities, strives to contribute to the scientific, academic and technological goals of India. Academic programs leading to ME or MTech by course work and PhD and MSc (Engg.) by research are available in almost all the departments. A unique feature of the ME/MTech programs at the institute is the credit system which allows a student to tailor the courses to suit his/her aptitude and interest. Every ME/MTech program has a set of hard core courses specified as an essential requirement whereas the student can take rest of the credits from many courses available in his/her parent or other departments and also do a dissertation work on the topic of his/her choice. These courses attract highly motivated accomplished students, in addition to several sponsored candidates from R & D labs./industries and also from educational institutions under the Quality Improvement Program (QIP).

 

A flexible approach to the ME/MTech program has been recently introduced in a few departments, which enables candidates from industry to take courses leading to ME/Mtech, spread over a longer period than the regular program, without having to leave their workplaces. Research programs leading to MSc (Engg.)/PhD degrees are the main thrust in many departments. The program has a limited amount of course work, essentially to prepare the student to carry out the research, but the main emphasis is on the thesis work. Excellent laboratory and computational facilities, a unique library, outstanding faculty with strong interests in both basic and applied sciences, make 'dream come true' kind of environment to students with strong interest and aptitude for research. These programs attract students from all corners of the country and beyond.

 

The External Registration program leading to MSc (Engg)/PhD provides a most attractive mechanism through which candidates from industry/R&D can work with the faculty at the Institute under the joint guidance of Institute faculty and senior officers, scientists in their parent organization and acquire a research degree of the Institute with a minimal residential requirement. This has been one of the most successful programs with nearly 30% research student enrolment in the Engineering faculty.

 

The Faculty being highly qualified and exposed in specialised areas of national importance attract a great deal of sponsored research and have the opportunity to participate at high-level national and international science and engineering meetings. This feature enables the faculty to respond rapidly to the changing scenario in science and technology and give initiations by introducing and nurturing new subjects. Thus, every research effort becomes indeed a step in a new direction, providing enriching experience of learning/discovering in the ever-changing scene of engineering and science. During the 1997-98 session, the Institute introduced three new courses viz. 1) ME Program in Microelectronics, 2) ME Program in Signal Processing and 3) MDes Program in Product Engineering and Design. To keep up with the changing scenario of science and technology development in the country, more Masters’ Degree courses are introduced since the 1999-2000 session, viz. (1) the 2-year MBA programme (which replaces the existing MTech program) in the department of Management Studies and (2) the 1-1/2 year MTech (Computational Science) program in the Supercomputer Education and Research Centre.

 

The Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) has for a long time been concerned with ways to make its expertise and facilities available to qualified technical personnel in industries, universities and research establishments. On a small scale, the Institute's facilities are always being used through short-term/refresher courses, but these activities are not coordinated by a single entry. The Centre for Continuing Education (CCE) has therefore been set up in 1975-76 to function as a focus for all such activities and to promote a variety of programs relevant to specific target groups (http://cce.iisc.ernet.in).

 

The Energy and Wetlands Research Group at the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), is actively involved in studies and training on issues related to environment, water resources, energy, ecology, wetlands, geographic information systems, environmental impact assessment and natural resource management. The information about research activities is available at http://ces.iisc.ernet.in/energy/Welcome.html

 

Recognizing the need for continuing professional development, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) provided five high quality environmental engineering texts earlier developed through a UNESCO-COL partnership to the Energy and Wetlands Research Group at the Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES), Indian Institute of Science (IISc.) They jointly examined the relevance of, and the degree of modification required for, offering at a distance those texts for practising professionals in environmental engineering.

 

In collaboration with the Karnataka Environment Research Foundation, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT, Mumbai), National Environmental Engineering Institute (NEERI) with the financial support from the Commonwealth of Learning (COL), the Energy and Wetlands Research Group at the Centre for Ecological Sciences has developed 5 Environmental Engineering Courses in self-learning format suitable for continuous professional development. Based on the instructional problems, the audience analysis, instructional goals and objectives, and an understanding of the desired course content, an outline of the content to be covered in the environmental engineering Courses were developed. Five courses were developed simultaneously involving authors with respective domain expertise. The courses developed in self-learning materials (SLM) for continuous professional development of engineers and the institutions are:

 

1.            Municipal Solid Waste Management

2.            Ground Water and Soil Pollution from Agricultural Activities

3.            Air Pollution Control

4.            Municipal Water and Waste Water Treatment

5.            Environmental Management

These courses are directed at practicing professionals (in service professionals), engineers and technologists, in India, South Asia and the developing countries in the Commonwealth, who are all involved in environmental management in some form. The treatment therefore is not deeply technical or mathematical. In other words, building on their existing repertoire of skills base, through this project the target groups will be exposed to the new knowledge that is available in the field.

Next, existing materials along with outline of the content were reviewed by a programme review committee (at one week duration round table meeting) considering the relevance for distant learners with widely varied and non-traditional experiential backgrounds. The programme review committee chaired by COL included content experts, authors of various Courses, instructional design expert, project manager and a programme co-ordinator.

Instructional design was done based on content, need for instruction, audience need assessment, etc. Content was organized and developed using relevant examples from India that relate the content to a context understood by the students. This problem was addressed through discussions with a sampling of the target audience. The review of content and design was done at six months interval (mid term review and pre final review).

Evaluation was done including both formative and summation approaches to determine if the instructional methods and materials are accomplishing the established goals and objectives.

Within the context of formative and summative evaluation, data are collected through quantitative and qualitative methods combining quantitative measurement of student performance with open-ended interviewing and non-participant observation to collect and assess information about attitudes toward the course's effectiveness and the delivery technology. Careful analysis of pilot testing results helped in identifying gaps or weaknesses as well as strengths and successes in the instructional process.

Revision plans typically were a direct result of the evaluation process in tandem with feedback from validation exercises involving course authors from and content specialists. Also it was evident from the pilot testing exercises that the instructor’s own reflection on course strengths and weaknesses were the best source of revision ideas. Most revisions were minor, such as breaking a large and unwieldy instructional unit into more manageable components, increasing assignment feedback, or improving student-to-student interaction. In one course, major revisions were implemented.

The development of delivery models required integration of print, CD, and Internet technology in concert with face-to-face communication. The challenge here was to integrate delivery components, based on identifiable learner needs, content requirements, and technical constraints.

 

COMMONWEALTH OF LEARNING (COL)

The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is an intergovernmental organization created by Commonwealth Heads of Government to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies. COL is helping developing nations improve access to quality education and training.

Founded in 1987 by Commonwealth Heads of Government at their meeting in Vancouver, Canada, The Commonwealth of Learning has a mandate to encourage the development and sharing of open learning/distance education knowledge, resources and technologies for learners throughout the Commonwealth and other countries. Responding to needs expressed by the Commonwealth's 54 member governments, it engages in both in-country and regional project work, as well as fee-for-service consulting for international agencies and national governments. Headquartered in Vancouver, The Commonwealth of Learning (COL) is the only intergovernmental organization solely concerned with the promotion and development of distance education and open learning. COL is helping to increase the capacities of developing nations to meet the demands for improved access to quality education and training (http://www.col.org).

 

In part due to the efforts of COL and its Commonwealth-wide network over the past ten years; distance education has now become part of the mainstream of education and training in many Commonwealth countries. COL's goals include maximizing the transfer of information, ideas, innovations and resources to support this rapid evolution of distance education. Since 1990, COL has helped introduce, or enhance, teaching/training program in more than 40 countries; conducted seminars and studies on specific educational needs and established an extensive network of education and technology specialists around the world. They are now contributing to many varied educational programs, often using low-cost and innovative technologies, throughout the Commonwealth and also to other non-Commonwealth countries. Some of these programs are described as "Models for Success."

 

COL is governed by an international Board of Governors, whose Chairman is Mr. Lewis Perinbam and the President & Chief Executive Officer is Sir John Daniel. The purpose of The Commonwealth of Learning, as reflected in the Memorandum of Understanding, {Commonwealth Governments on September 1, 1988 and as amended, October 31, 1995} is to create and widen access to education and to improve its quality, utilizing distance education techniques and associated communications technologies to meet the particular requirements of member countries. The agency's programs and activities aim to strengthen member countries' capacities to develop the human resources required for their economic and social advancement and are carried out in collaboration with Governments, relevant agencies, universities, colleges and other educational and training establishments among whom it also seeks to promote co-operative endeavours.

In addressing all of the functions and objectives prescribed in the Memorandum of Understanding and working in all parts of the Commonwealth, COL is developing four key roles in its quest for improved access to and quality of education through the use of open, distance and technology-mediated learning as:

 

1.      a catalyst for collaboration.

2.      a Commonwealth resource for training of distance educators.

3.      a capacity builder of the Commonwealth and its educational institutions.

4.      an information and knowledge provider

 

All levels and sectors of education are assisted through developmental themes such as mixed-mode institutions, quality assurance and credit transfer, continuing education and professional/skills development, technical/vocational education and training, trade standards, teacher/instructor training, open schooling, education for all, non-formal education, rural development/agricultural education, media empowerment, literacy and values education, the environment and gender-and-development.

 

COL is financed by voluntary pledges of funds from Commonwealth governments. In addition, specific projects are supported by external agencies. COL's headquarters and facilities in Vancouver are provided by the Government of Canada and the Government of the Canadian Province of British Columbia.

 Distance Education System & Study skills

 

Studies across the globe, comparing distance education to traditional classroom instruction, indicate that teaching and learning at a distance are as effective as traditional instruction, when the learning materials, method and technologies used are appropriate to the instructional tasks and when student-to-student interaction and teacher-student feedback are robust. The typical challenges posed by distance education are countered by opportunities to:  

 

These days with advances in science and technology a wide range of technological options are available to the distance educator. They can be grouped into four major categories namely voice, video, print and web (Internet) options. Voice tools include passive or one-way technologies (tapes, radio, etc.) and the interactive technologies (telephone, audio conferencing, etc.). Video tools include still images such as slides, pre-produced moving images (e.g., film, videotape), and real-time moving images combined with audio-conferencing (one-way or two-way video with two-way audio). Print version in self-learning format is a foundational element of distance education programs and the basis from which all other delivery systems have evolved. Various print formats that could be used for distance learning are: textbooks, study guides, workbooks, course syllabi, and case studies. With the advance and affordability of communication technology, web or Internet based learning have become reality. Technology plays a key role in the delivery of distance education. However, the focus of the program is on the instructional outcomes rather than on the technology of delivery. In other words, the main thrust is on the needs of the learners, the requirements of the content and the constraints faced by the teacher, before selecting a delivery system. Typically, this systematic approach has resulted in a mix of media, each serving a specific purpose as touched upon below:    

 

Using this integrated approach, the task is to carefully select among the technological options depending on students (infrastructural facilities available in their locality), subject requirements (field visit, case studies, etc.) and institutional commitments. The goal is to build a hybrid instructional media, meeting the needs of the learner in a manner that is instructionally effective and economically prudent.

 

Distance education programs have been initiated with careful planning and a focused understanding of course requirements and student needs. Appropriate technologies have evolved through the efforts of many individuals and organizations, which rely on the consistent and integrated efforts of students, faculty, facilitators, support staff, and administrators. When instruction is delivered at a distance, additional challenges result because students are often separated from others sharing their backgrounds and interests, have few if any opportunities to interact with teachers outside of class, and rely on technical linkages to bridge the gap separating class participants. Hence, the success of distance education effort rests squarely on the shoulders of the faculty and resource persons. In a traditional classroom setting, the instructor's responsibility includes assembling course content and developing an understanding of student needs.

  Need for Environmental Engineering Distance learning Courses

Rapid industrialization of developing countries has led to an increasing demand for continuing professional development for environmental engineering personnel at all sectors, including industrial and infrastructure management sectors. Recognizing the need for continuing professional development, the Commonwealth of Learning (COL) provided five high quality environmental engineering texts earlier developed through a UNESCO-COL partnership to the Indian Institute of Sciences (IISc.) They jointly examined the relevance of, and the degree of modification required for, offering at a distance those texts for practicing professionals in environmental engineering. This resulted in a COL-funded project with IISc, taking the responsibility of coordinating and contributing to the design and development of a series of learning materials in Engineering Sciences for open distance learning.

 

Based on the analysis of target audience, learning goals and objectives, and the desired course content with particular relevance to India, an outline of the content was created, which was reviewed by a committee of content and instructional design experts. The development of five self-learning environmental engineering courses included formative evaluation by project review committee and electronic list discussions. The summative evaluation included validation and pilot testing and brainstorm sessions to ascertain the suitability of materials to meet the project goals and objectives. The materials thus produced were revised on the basis of the feedback and are on offer at a distance initially in India. Nonetheless, these courses when suitably adopted with contextual examples can meet the continuous professional development requirements of the developing countries in the Commonwealth. It is also believed that these courses can be appropriately modularized to contribute to the proposal put forward by the World Federation of Engineering Organizations for the World Engineering Partnership for Sustainable Development.

 

Course Content

 

Course 1 : Municipal Solid Waste Management                           

Due to rapid increase in the production and consumption processes, societies generate as well as reject solid materials regularly from various sectors – agricultural, commercial, domestic, industrial and institutional. The considerable volume of wastes thus generated and rejected is called solid wastes. In other words, solid wastes are the wastes arising from human and animal activities that are normally solid and are discarded as useless or unwanted. This inevitably places an enormous strain on natural resources and seriously undermines efficient and sustainable development. One of the ways to salvage the situation is through efficient management of solid wastes, and this is the focus of this Course, Management of Municipal Solid Waste. In the 10 Units that constitute this Course, we will discuss the processes involved in the management of solid wastes – from waste generation to final disposal.

 

In Unit 1, we will describe solid wastes and introduce you to the classification of solid wastes and the functional elements, such as waste generation, storage, collection, transport, processing, recovery and disposal, in the management of solid wastes. In Units 2 to 7, we will explain with the support of case studies each of these functional elements. In Unit 8, we will explain the treatment of solid wastes by incineration and energy recovery from the incineration process. Subsequently, in Unit 9, we will deal with the treatment and management of hazardous (biomedical) wastes. Finally, in Unit 10, we will discuss the concept of integrated waste management.

COURSE 2: Environmental Management 

 

Due to unplanned developmental activities as well as ever-increasing population, which has caused enormous strain on the environmental resources, societies across the world face several problems of environmental degradation. However, it is imperative to maintain a balance between the capacity of the environment and the quantum of sustainable utilisation. This is only possible by understanding the environment in its totality and the principles of its scientific management.

 

Environmental management (EM) has become one of the most used terms in recent times. But, what exactly does the term mean and entail? Different individuals belonging to different disciplines approach EM differently and therefore it is difficult to find a single, comprehensive view of EM. However, we will discuss in detail the various issues relating to EM in the ten Units that constitute this Course.

 

We will first discuss the fundamentals of EM and ecosystem in Unit 1 and, subsequently, the various environmental policies, legislations and international treaties in Unit 2. In Units 3 and 4, we will deal with the concept of environmental impact assessment (EIA) and the preparation of EIA report, respectively. We will discuss the methodology and processes of environmental auditing in Unit 5. In Unit 6, we will introduce you to life cycle assessment (LCA) in the context of EM. In Unit 7, we will explain the various EM system standards. We will then take up the issues and techniques relating to EM in Unit 8. Finally, we discuss environmental design and economics in Units 9 and 10, respectively.

 

Course Schedule

• Classroom briefing and introductory sessions at the beginning of the course (3 days 26th Aug - 28th Aug 2006).

•  Interactive session through Web and Email for two months.

•  Mid-term contact session (3 consecutive days) & Mid-term Exam.

•  Project work after the Mid-term contact session.

•  Final contact session (3 days) and Final exam at the End of the Course.

 

Qualifications & Requirements

 

This Course is open to all graduates. Participants are expected to take part in all activities that form part of course in addition the participants should work on individual projects. During the course, participants should compulsorily attend interactive chat sessions, for which some grading will be given. Participants should actively participate in the sessions for best results. A certificate along with grades will be given to all the successful participants.

 

Evaluation

 

Evaluation will be done at two levels, namely concept level and module level. At the concept level, after student goes through each concept, he/she is evaluated online by randomly displaying multiple-choice questions. Each question carries some weight or marks. Based on his/her test performance, the system checks the number of questions correct answers and the performance is evaluated. At the module level, after the students complete all the concepts, they are given final exam, which will be held at the Centre for Continuing Education (L10) or at Centre for Ecological Sciences (CES). The concept level evaluation marks will also be considered for grading. Completion of a project is a partial requirement for the course.