IIT KGP researchers develop e-Classroom for teachers

Kolkata: Researchers at IIT Kharagpur have developed a software which can be of immense help to teachers who are currently facing challenges as the entire classroom session has shifted to online mode in different educational institutions in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Prof Raja Datta of Electronics and Electrical Communication Department with his postgraduate students developed the software, the current version of which can be used within a campus LAN, an IIT Kharagpur spokesperson said on Saturday.

Talking about the software ‘Deekshak’, Datta said, “it is now a single session platform where the teacher would concentrate on the screen with the teaching materials while being able to view queries on a live chat box where each student can send in their queries.”

Students also have access to a doubt box where they can click to “raise their hand” and wait for the teacher to address it, as is done in a physical classroom.

Teachers can also share documents with the students through the platform and even update notes on the documents in real-time, Datta said.

Deekshak is a low bandwidth web-based software and can be accessed using any computer or even a cell phone.

Teachers can also record attendance of the students on the platform.

The software has been tested at IIT Kharagpur during the initial phase of social distancing with about 40 hours of classes being conducted with a total of approximately 300 students.

IIT Kharagpur, Director Prof Virendra K Tewari said, “We need platforms for addressing challenges faced by India and Deekshak is designed to cater to Indian academia, be it the bandwidth issue, or user interface or storage.”

He said, “Deekshak is one step towards that goal through which the teachers would be able to offer more personalised interaction while focusing better on the act of teaching.”

IIT Kharagpur has applied for the copyright registration of Deekshak and is in search of a start-up company for its maintainability.

Further development of Deekshak is also underway to improve its features and make it secure so that it can be made available for use in academia, said Datta.