The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a project funded by the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) was first conceived in 1999 to pave the way for introducing multimedia and web technology to enhance learning of basic science and engineering concepts. Significant infrastructure has been set up earlier for production of video-based teaching material by the Indian Institutes of Technology (IIT). In the first phase of the NPTEL project (June 2003-June 2007), seven IITs and the Indian Institute of Science (IISc) have worked together to develop web and video based material for basic undergraduate science and various engineering branches in order to enhance the reach and quality of technical education in the country. In NPTEL Phase II around 600 undergraduate and post graduate courses have been proposed and they are under development.
The concept of multimedia based courses with high potential of interactivity has become a popular and a viable option for both the developed and the developing nations, though for different reasons. Offering multimedia courses in technology-assisted modes has not only become invaluable for the student, but also an attractive and creative option for faculty. Such courses have the potential to enhance the on-and off-campus learning experience for students and in a distance learning mode. Technology opens up several interesting avenues for innovation in design and delivery of courses as also for sharing expertise among faculty in different parts of the world. In India, where a large number of private institutions have entered the field of engineering education with inadequate faculty support and training, the project is aimed at providing a standard for academic content for both the teacher and the student.