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Ananda’s Distance Education Initiative
February 15th, 2009

A group of us at Ananda Village are exploring technologies involved in giving the Ananda Sangha, Expanding Light Retreat and Crystal Clarity Publishers an ability to offer online courses for distance learning.

As the economic downturn continues and people’s travel budgets are decreasing, we are looking into ways of bringing Yogananda’s teachings closer to people, so that truth-seeking students can attend classes inexpensively in the comfort of their own homes and at the time of their choosing. This also simplifies the logistics of hosting people, providing accommodations, meals, etc. However, the distance education model has its own challenges.

To begin with, there are a number of different models for providing distance education. Real-time versus on-demand (similar to broadcast TV vs video-on-demand), video vs audio-only, scheduled classes vs self-paced learning, etc. As we look at various combinations of these models, we are evaluating the technologies that will enable us to make this initiative a reality.

Gyandev assisting a student

One of the techologies we are looking at is an open-source software called Moodle. Moodle looks very promising for our needs as an on-line course development and delivery tool.

As we embark on this new chapter of Ananda’s outreach, we sincerely ask for your prayers, as well as for your support. If you are a person (or know of someone) who has experience in this type of teaching and especially experience with Moodle, and who would like to serve Ananda’s work in this manner, we’d love to hear from you. We need all the help we can get to get this project launched in the shortest time possible.

 

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5 Responses

  1. Simon says:

    This is a great initiative. The fact that it is Open Source based is even better, although sadly I am not an expert in this particular tool.

    One of the best features of Ananda is the web presence and multimedia outreach.

    If we go back 100 years, one would have had to’ve been born in Northern India to’ve received the Kriya message.

    Today, the situation is better in that there are books available around the world and groups in some major cities but certainly not the range of information available to someone living in California, or having the time/money to travel to relatively remote locations such as Pune or Nevada City.

    The web is a great leveler making information available to everyone not just elites privileged by their locations or insider networks much as knowledge was locked away in monasteries for a few Catholic Monastics during the dark ages of Kali Yuga.

    S

  2. Susan says:

    This is a very exciting venture! It would mean a great deal to me to have this become a reality. As the mother of two young kids I am unable to attend services, classes, satsangs, kirtans and meditation. I was just praying to Master that there would be a way to do these things and then I came across this. Thank you so much for working on this!

  3. Catherine Ryan says:

    I live in the West of Ireland and would really need a big budget to visit Ananda, even in Italy. So I was thrilled to find the videos of the Winter Renewal. But more than that I would be overjoyed if there was Distance Learning. I just want to say a big THANK YOU for working to share with us who are far away. I am very grateful indeed. :-)

  4. Doug says:

    Hi
    I have experienced distance education with Moodle through another institution and it worked great. But there were only about 70 of us altogether and I think about 5 or 6 people (not instructors,) kept various aspects of it going and the flow of information organized. Some of us students had opportunities to volunteer also, doing things like keeping up the class calender and building up an archive of ancillary articles. It was actually kind of enjoyable because we were all working together and everyone could get involved.

  5. Tracy Anderson says:

    Hi Koral! I don’t have any expertise with on-line learning, but I do share a lot of enthusiasm for it! A group of us just finished the week long “Essence of the Bhagavad Gita” class at the Expanding Light, and had the blessing of being present as Swami Kriyananda recorded some of the talks/commentary on the Gita now posted on utube.com. I’m writing because many of us in the class did not want it to end! On-line learning or an online study group would be welcomed far and wide. Prior Gita classes are able to be downloaded in mp3 format by Jyotish & Devi Novak on this website, as well as extensive Gita classes by Asha Praver on the anandapaloalto.com site; however, many would enjoy a more interactive, on-line discussion or study group oppotunity for the Gita and perhaps other books! Thank you for researching this, and let me know if I can help! Joy to you all!