The Global pandemic has significantly disrupted the higher education. This sudden outbreak of Covid-19 has not only resulted into temporarily closing down of educational institutions, but impacted more than 285 million learners in India. We are treating this incident extremely seriously and our top priority is the health and safety of students, staff to facilitate the continuity of education for all our students through remote learning. I think very few of us fully anticipated the range of impacts that this virus would be able to cause.
The response to the situation has been swift. We have proactively mobilised Digital Learning Management Systems such as Edmodo, Google Classroom, Moodle and Skooler to enable the creation of collaborative and sharable digital learning resources with our students and to keep them engaged, motivated and participative. Our robust mentoring system has immensely aided in instilling a culture of self-learning and it is paying-off the dividends now. We are continuously motivating our students to utilize National Digital Library, which offers access to a total of 1.70 crore books, periodicals, journals and thesis to avid learners without any cost.
Additionally, Social Media and Branding Committee comprising of Student Ambassadors and Faculty Mentors have taken the task of playing its civic role by creating informational and educative content on Instagram, Facebook and LinkedIn to mitigate the effects of Covid-19 on society. The institute is vigilant enough in tracing the Governmental Advisory on the present situation and passing on the information to student’s community from time to time. In this line, the institute has rolled out remote study strategies to maintain motivation and avoid heightened feelings of isolation or anxiety among students. The strategy includes creating a study space, developing a routine, planning and scheduling, building peer networks, setting Goals and recording progress.
In compliance with AICTE and Higher Education Regulatory Authorities, GNVSIOM is conducting continuous learning assessment via online presentations, case study exercises, video presentations and group activities. We have designed the Dissertation Project evaluation through online format. Internal faculty and external expert will collaborate to make it possible. The conduct of final exams is going to be uniformly based on Blooms Taxonomy and each faculty has meticulously prepared the test papers by keeping in mind Program and Course outcomes without affecting the quality and coverage. It includes testing students on different levels of cognition- thinking, learning and understanding.
The students have embraced the principles of being adaptive, nimble and inclusive to all initiatives that will optimize our collective effort. They show excitement about new posts of videos and assignments by the faculty and immediately respond to academic demands. At times, they are the one to initiate discussions in dialogue box and to make incisive comments on case studies and research papers. The efforts and the response to online pedagogy has been exceptional.
Although, online learning can present challenges to educators, but they adapted to teaching quickly. Moreover, barriers to online learning are manifold in terms of learner motivation, time and support for studies. We can expect issues relevant to how students learn, but the Online learning also offers a host of very powerful affordances to educators. Seamless learning implies that students can learn whenever they are curious regardless of the situation. They can easily switch from one scenario to another using their personal device as a mediator, and can maintain the continuity of their learning across technologies and settings. Having said this, our best practices include adopting Digital learning management systems, where individual learning and with another student, a small group, or a large number of students online, with active involvement of teachers is made possible. We are able to capture the opportunities for supporting learning across a variety of contexts offered by technologies.
Although the Online learning affords a vast potential for education delivery, we too firmly believe that the most critical component of formal education is one-to-one interaction. The challenge for teachers and course developers working in an online learning context is to construct a learning environment that is simultaneously learning centered, content centered, community centered and assessment centered. Institutions of higher education need to consider whether they are ready to meet growing learner demands in the coming years. We certainly believe that blended learning will have greater significance in higher education in the future and there will also be enormous growth in online certifications and short-term courses.