The State Board of Technical Education and Training (SBTET), a council established under the authority of the Government of Telangana, has signed the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Birla Institute of Technology & Science (BITS ) Pilani Work Integrated Learning Programs (WILP) division, with the aim of designing, developing and deploying Technology Laboratories (TEL) for polytechnics and engineering institutions in Telangana.
The TEL project will be financed by SBTET and will be executed in several phases over a period of two years, i.e. from the design of the remote and virtual laboratories in certain areas and programs to the development of the software interface and the selection of laboratory equipment, the development of laboratory exercises and associated digital content, and finally the training of several faculty members who will deploy the laboratories in a few selected institutions.
Virtual and remote labs support experiential learning and innovative solutions
In an effort to provide comprehensive experiential learning to students, over the years, BITS Pilani WILP has deployed around 10 remote labs (physical labs, accessible from anywhere at any time) and 26 virtual labs (which enable studies software simulation of various phenomena, which can be extremely difficult to study in the real environment or in physics laboratories).
The experiential learning that is gained by taking advantage of these labs (through simulations, hands-on labs, and other hands-on tasks that involve the use of hardware and software) helps students connect practice with theory, their thereby fostering innovative ideas and solutions to address various real-world challenges and opportunities.
Affordable, sustainable, flexible and scalable access to state-of-the-art labs
Along with multiple other efforts, SBTET also aims to ensure that students pursuing technical education statewide have access to quality labs that enable experiential learning. However, setting up labs is not just about software, cloud hosting, and access control, as it requires large investments and a comprehensive ecosystem, including vital instructions, licensing, and support.
Through this collaboration with BITS Pilani WILP, SBTET intends to develop a system that primarily leverages the scale of operations in an efficient way (considering that these labs could meet the learning needs of thousands of students across Telangana state) – so that various challenges including those related to manpower, logistics and cost could be successfully mitigated.
Speaking at the signing of the MoU, Prof. G. Sundar, Director of Off-Campus Programs and Industry Engagement, BITS Pilani said: “Over the past few years, At BITS Pilani, we have designed, developed and deployed several and virtual labs especially for work-integrated learning programs for working professionals from all over India and the world. Such labs hold immense potential to be developed as shared resources, which can be used by students from many institutions. As an institution of eminence, I am delighted that we are sharing some of our best practices and expertise in this area with the world beyond BITS Pilani for the greater benefit of students, other institutions and society. And this collaboration with SBTET is our first major step in this regard, which makes this collaboration even more special.
After the official launch of the TEL project, Shri Navin Mittal, IAS, Commissioner, College and Technical Education, Government of Telangana, said, “From the perspective of technical education, the optimal development of the skills of our students certainly requires that they have access to experiential learning opportunities; with this in mind, we had visited the virtual and remote labs at the Hyderabad campus of BITS Pilani. We realized that their labs not only facilitated hands-on experiments, but also provided an environment for in-depth research in even some of the most sophisticated fields. The awesome idea of having such labs, which could be shared by thousands of students across our state, will soon become a reality. And through this collaboration with BITS Pilani WILP, we also extend our recognition of their overall contributions to the technological vision of the state of Telangana.