A VIRTUAL revolution is taking place in the university admission process in the country. The Visvesvaraya Technological University, the first and only technological university of Karnataka, is pioneering the technological touch in every possible spheres of higher education system – from admissions to online examinations by adopting innovative, state-of-the-art technologies.
Until a few years ago, it was beyond anybodys imagination that even the process of admissions would go hi-tech and that technology would one day come to the doors of students. The dream is now a reality with the VTU revolutionising the entire admission process to allot seats to various post-graduation courses through video-conferencing from its counselling centres in the State.
The candidates seeking admission need not run from pillar to post for information about seat matrix, availability of seats in different colleges, fee structure, vacancies, etc. They can simply relax on a chair at any of the counselling centres and watch everything live on a vast display screen, which enables them to take decisions instead of hanging out in ambiguity and uncertainty.
It was only last year that the VTU had taken the initiative to conduct counselling for admission to PG programmes offered in different affiliated colleges and universities in the State through video-conference with the help of EDUSAT. The experimentation at two centres, VTUs Jnana Sangam campus in Belgaum and another at Bangalore, was a great success and encouraging.
Saving on cost
This year, the admissions for PG courses are decisively through video-conferencing with centralised seat allocation system from five counselling centres. This will reduce the cost of travel and lodging for students and their parents.
The Vice-Chancellor, K. Balaveera Reddy, and the Registrar, M.S. Shivakumar, said the admission process was started well ahead of time, with the publication of brochures providing all necessary information about the PG courses, colleges, universities, seat matrix, fee structure, etc. to the students.
The complete schedule for admissions was also announced including the date of CET, declaration of ranks (which was delayed for some time due to non-submission of marks cards of qualifying examination by certain universities). This was followed by equipping the five centres at Belgaum, Gulbarga, Davangere, Mangalore and Bangalore with necessary computing, seating, video-conferencing, parking, boarding, security, announcements, etc. facilities and trained manpower.
To begin with, the counselling for admission to MBA has already begun (from July 18) and all these centres are connected to the VTU headquarters at Jnana Sangam campus over a high bandwidth, MPLS-VPN (Multi Protocol Label Switch-Virtual Private Network) based secure network provided by Bharat Sanchar Nigam Limited especially for this event. All the video-conferencing equipments and computers have been connected through this network.
Unlike regular IP networks, an MPLS-based network provides Quality of Support (QoS), thereby ensuring priority to all video and voice traffic while in motion. This technology has enabled VTU to establish two-way video-conferencing and four-way video display without the usual jitters, jagged edges and frame drops. In addition, the data related to colleges and seat availability is made available across all the five centres on real-time basis.
Custom-developed software has been hosted at Belgaum, which provides vacancy/seat availability information to students and the counselling staff. The software also takes care of programmes, departments, quotas, ranks, etc. and expedites the process of admission across the colleges. All these details are displayed on large displays installed in all the five centres.
This project has been initially rolled out for MBA and MCA programmes. Subsequently, it will be extended to M.Tech. programmes too.
The VTU aims at adding more centres across the State to make counselling service easily accessible.