Ask a Question :: IIT Bombay, funded by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.

  • Written by wes
  • June 13, 2012 at 11:17 am

  • Project Category:
     Government sector initiative :: Best Government sector initiative in Education

    Details of Applicant :

    Name: Rahul Deshmukh
    Designation: Technical Officer
    Organization: IIT Bombay
    Organisation Address : IIT Bombay, 401, KReSIT Building, CDEEP, Powai
    City : Mumbai
    State / Province / Region : Maharashtra
    Postal / Zip Code : 400076
    Country : India

    Details of Project/Implementing Agency :

    Name of the Organization: IIT Bombay
    Address:  IIT Bombay, 401, KReSIT Building, CDEEP, Powai
    City : Mumbai
    State / Province / Region : Maharashtra
    Postal / Zip Code : 400076
    Country : India

    Name of the head of Organization: Prof. Devang Khakhar


    Project Title: ASK A QUESTION

    Project Website:

    Details of the Programme/Project/Initiative:

    Brief description of the programme/project/Initiative :

    The project Ask A Question (AAQ), a question and answer series is a unique activity of Talk To A Teacher, IIT Bombay. The project provides learners an opportunity to interact with a panel of faculty members from IIT Bombay.

    The discussion forum encourages learners to ask question in various disciplines of engineering and science. These question/doubts poised offline on the forum, as well as during the live sessions, are clarified by the panel members.

    The recorded sessions are archived and are made available to the learners on the project’s website and through DVDs. The entire activity is free and open source.

    The live sessions are held on every Thursday during 4:00-5:00 p.m. in the field of Electrical Engineering.

    Ask A Question, Talk to a Teacher, IIT Bombay is an initiative of the National Mission on Education through ICT, funded by the Ministry of Human Resources Development, Government of India.

    Reason for Starting the Programme/Project/Initiative:

    There is paucity of experienced and expert faculty in engineering colleges all over India. AAQ is initiated to bridge the knowledge gap between IIT and other engineering colleges in India. The project provides an opportunity for the learners to get direct face to face interaction with IIT Bombay faculties to get authentic clarification of their quires. The use of ICT eliminates geographical constrains of the learner as well as experts, thus, enabling in national knowledge building.

    The project aims to raise the standard of engineering and science education by making IIT Bombay expertise available to the learners and clarifying conceptual doubts through ICT.

    The basic objective of the project is to make the IIT Bombay knowledge base available to the learners through online interactive conceptual questions answer session and offline through video on demand and in the form of CD/DVD sets.

    Objective of Programme/Project/Initiative:

    1. To bridge the knowledge gap between IIT and other engineering colleges in India.
    2. To address the problem of paucity of experienced expert faculty
    3. To raise the standard of engineering education in India
    4. To clear conceptual doubts of the learners by answering the questions in
    5. the fields of engineering and science
    6. To share the expertise of distinguished IIT Bombay faculty members
    7. To help working professionals and researchers to update their knowledge


    Target Group:

    • Students with Engineering and Science background
    • Research scholars
    • Working professionals from industry
    • Teachers
    • All learning fraternity


    Geographical Reach:

    Please Specify reach within India : 

    Jammu & Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Assam, Rajasthan, Gujarat, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu

    Please Specify reach outside India : Not applicable

    Date from which the project became operational: 11th November 2010

    Is the project still operational?: YES

    Highlight 10 innovations of the Project/Programme/Initiative:

    1. Transmission using Web 2.0 technologies at lower bandwidth
    2. Web conferencing with following tools(Faculty video, Student video,Presentation, Electronic blackboard-Whiteboard,Chat)
    3. Multiple teacher and student interaction
    4. Content available in four quadrant Video on Demand (Instructor video, student video, presentation and chat)
    5. Question and answer repository of archived session available on four quadrant DVD sets
    6. Transmission at lower bandwidth and content in open source
    7. Individualized self-paced e-learning offline and online
    8. Group-based e-learning synchronously (Live session –web conference) and asynchronously(Chat during live session, Forum)
    9. Multiple modes to access – allows guest as well as registered participants to view the archived sessions and free service and flexible to use – ask a question anytime, anywhere
    10. Collaborative learning – students-students interaction, teacher-student interaction , student-teacher interaction, teacher- teacher interaction(Education social networking)

    Highlight 5 achievents of the Programme/Project/Initiative:

    1. Creating focused learning community: Over 35000 beneficiaries, more than 60 Educational Institutes actively participating as Remote Centers, Encourages learners to ask question, Allow networking amongst students with similar interests, Focused on clarification of fundamental of the discipline
    2. Generating a question- answer repository: Over 300 live questions answered till date, More than 650 archived conceptual question- answer, 60 live question & answer sessions, Videos of 350 answered questions are available on demand over web, 60 AAQ session videos are available on demand over web, The question-answer forum and the video recordings of the archived sessions can be viewed by learners 24X7 on internet free of cost.
    3. Building a panel of experts: Online panel of experts to clarify conceptual doubts, Active participation by more than 25 Faculty members from the Department of Electrical Engineering, IIT Bombay.
    4. Providing Economical solution: One expert can address many students at the same time, Using free and open ICT resources to transmit the knowledge, Making the content available in open source, Access to live as well as archived session is free of cost, Large Outreach ;more than 60 Educational Institutes actively participating as Remote Centers.
    5. Empowering learner and promoting collaborative learning through ICT: Learning synchronously through web conference and chat during live session, Asynchronous interaction through discussion Forum answered in four quadrant videos, Clarifying conceptual doubts.

    Highlight 5 key challenges faced while implementing the Project/Programme/Initiative and how they were overcome?:

    1. The interactive online web conferencing solution management issue and Infrastructure related issues
    2. Awareness among the student to ask the quality question on conceptual topics
    3. Time management- To fit the schedule for testing and live transmission in academic timetable of individual institutes
    4. Motivation- Breaking the fear of technology. Indian students are shy to ask a question. To make them Ask A Question is a challenge
    5. Though the transmission of the live session is done at lower bandwidth getting connectivity in rural and urban colleges is a challenging task.

    List 5 points on how the Project/Programme/Initiative can serve as a model that can be replicated or adapted by others?:

    1. It can be replicated in other academic institutes/universities where subject experts are available. Since minimal infrastructure is required, the setup is very economical. Transmission is at lower bandwidth and free Web 2.0 tools are use.
    2. It can be implemented in Research Institutes to clarify conceptual doubts and to share research ideas across the country.
    3. This model can be adapted to address to the local target learners in different regional languages. The technology deployed is user- friendly, and provides the users with question-answer repository to refer 24X7.
    4. Panel of International experts can be formed to clarify doubts of learners. Use of ICT allows experts from different geographical regions to answers the queries posted on forum and/or during live interaction.
    5. Other discipline like Medicine, with limited experts can use this model to clarify the conceptual and fundamental doubts. Similar model can be adapted for other modes of instruction -informal as well as non-formal.

    List 5 points to elaborate on the scalability of the Project/Programme/Initiative:

    1. The project is highly scalable and can have country wide (global) outreach through mass registration. Economical solutions to share valuable human resources, learners get an opportunity to clarity their doubts by subject experts. Since the content is available in open source it provides learners easy access information.
    2. Possible to start multi-lingual series of similar kind to empower the learners with diverse background. The ICT technology (chat, discussion forum) used are simple and learner- friendly and hence motives learners’ participation.
    3. Experts from different institutes can form a panel in focused fields. They can reply to conceptual doubts posted on forum and/or answer the questions during live interactive sessions from their institutions, thus contributing in   raising the standard of engineering and science education.
    4. Similar model can be implemented for different courses as per university syllabus. Series can be started in different domain like commerce, management etc.,
    5. Learners with diverse background and experience come together to form a focused learning fraternity. Learners with similar interests come together.


    1) Documents publishing URL

    2) Videos

    3) PPT