‘Lockdown giving big boost to virtual classrooms’

LN Revathy Coimbatore | Updated on April 02, 2020

While online education has been making rapid technological advances globally, few Indian institutions have been able to successfully incorporate online learning. Education on the go is becoming a reality, thanks to the lockdown in the aftermath of Covid 19.

“What could have taken five years may now probably happen in 30 days,” said Sharad Mehra, Chief Executive Officer, Global University Systems (GUS) – Asia Pacific.

Citing a data, he said the education of around 300 million students have been disrupted globally owing to the closure of educational institutions. Adoption of tech-led holistic approach could have helped tide over the challenge and kept the classes going without a halt. But few institutions have incorporated online learning tools.

“We have a long way to go,” he said and added that GUS had started to look at futuristic learning methods five years ago.

GUS has academic collaborations in India with the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) and Pearl Academy.

“Both these institutes are using the online teaching platform ‘Blackboard Collaborate’ to create an active and productive learning experience for the students. That’s not all. The teachers will have to be trained to teach online and the classes are conducted using technologies such as Zoom.

“The sessions are not just lecturer dependent,” he said.

Mehra observed that the attendance was better and the highest number of students using was in the early hours – around 2 am. “This any time, anywhere experience is possible only in virtual classrooms,” he added.

Both the institutes have made huge investments in training people, in content generation and in access to technology.

Pearl Academy imparts over 1,300 classes online; more than 3,300 students have been taught so far and 332 faculty members are involved, while at UPES, the number of students taught online is over 10,000 and the number of faculty members involved is over 450

Every day, close to 500 classes are happening at the six schools of UPES – School of Engineering, School of Computer Science, School of Design, School of Law, School of Business and School of Health Sciences, Mehra said.

Published on April 02, 2020

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