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Web Exclusive | Virtual classrooms gain popularity in Indian towns

Web Exclusive | Virtual classrooms gain popularity in Indian towns
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First Published: Thu, Jan 24 2008. 08 53 PM IST

(Lto R) Kumar Abhishek, Rajat and Sanjeev Singh of Totalgadha.com.
(Lto R) Kumar Abhishek, Rajat and Sanjeev Singh of Totalgadha.com.
Updated: Thu, Jan 24 2008. 08 53 PM IST
New Delhi: If you aspire to become a management honcho someday and one of your peers advises you to checkout a website called totalgadha.com or pagalguy.com, what would be your first reaction? If you are not net savvy and stay in a metro, you may just look at this proposition with disdain. Chances are you may view it with disbelief, pooh poohing the domain names as trivial and not worth checking out.
Interestingly, among the target group, namely students, these sites are popular and deemed as storehouses of dependable content and resource. They are established brands in the online arena offering web based classes that provide you with study material and preparation guidelines for elite management institutions like CAT, XAT, SNAP, MAT, ATMA and GMAT besides making you reach students preparing for the same across the globe.
(Lto R) Kumar Abhishek, Rajat and Sanjeev Singh of Totalgadha.com.
Speaking on the benefit of the web based classes, Apurv Pandit, content head, Pagalguy.com says: “A physical class is localized, whereas the Internet goes beyond regional barriers. Students tend to learn as much from their peer group as from the teacher. On the Internet, a BA student from Jaipur who is studying for CAT can connect with an IITian from Kanpur who is really brilliant in math and learn many tips and tricks from him.
This sharing of knowledge and resources across regions in a matter of minutes makes the Internet a powerful tool”.
Sanjeev Singh, founder of Totalgadha.com, adds to what Pandit says. “In a web-based classroom, students can learn at their own pace. The lessons are always there and students can read them at leisure and absorb them. Also, in a web-based lesson, the instructor can deliver the lesson in a structured manner, making the lesson more understandable”.
However, none of the web based classes presents itself as an alternative to the traditional chalk and board. “We never believed totalgadha.com was an alternative to classroom coaching. The internet-based platforms go hand in hand with brick-and-mortar classrooms. While the latter help make the student regular and hone his/her competitive traits, the former bolsters the learning provided in the classroom and serves as a good platform to clarify doubts and find like-minded individuals across the country,” says Singh.
Pandit points out that they do not compete with coaching institutes, rather they supplement them. According to him, some of the top coaching institutes advertise on Pagalguy.com. CAT aspirants like to use the best of both worlds, making full use of the personal attention that is provided inside the coaching classrooms and the resource and knowledge sharing that a site like Pagalguy.com provides.
Pagalguy.com’s team.
One of the mentors at Totalgadha.com, Kumar Abhishek, who himself hails from a small town in Bihar, says: “Our web-based classes are a boon for students from far flung places who aspire to ‘bell the CAT’, but don’t have the resources to prepare in a metro like Delhi or Mumbai. The way the Internet boom is breaking the ice is a clear indication that distance would no longer be an excuse and the time is not far away when a pool of students from states like Bihar, Orissa, Uttar Pradesh and others will avail the facility from their home based PCs or nearst cyber cafés.”
Totalgadha.com, following the research carried out by Harvard confirms that it will take at least 10,000 years to wipe off the “Chalk-n-Board” from the minds of humanity, has launched a chalk a board institution with the name TathaGat (TG), informs Kumar.
Success of web-based classes can be gauged by the fact that Pagalguy.com gets around two lakh unique visitors every month. This is a creditable achievement for most of these ventures started out with a very miniscule corpus fund. Pagalguy.com for instance was set up with a corpus of Rs2, 000/- while totalgadha.com continues to have a two-member team.
The success of these ventures will eventually be determined by the kind of community sharing that takes place between students on the Internet, one which in a sense substitutes the physical interaction between teacher-student in a real classroom. To that extent, there is a long road before these innovative virtual solutions mature and reach out to a large cross section of society.
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First Published: Thu, Jan 24 2008. 08 53 PM IST