COVID-19 crisis nudges universities embracing technology for education – Times of India

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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Even as the absence of a well laid out protocol for online classes poses series challenges to schools, universities in the state seem to have decided to take the untamed technology bull by the horns and domesticate it themselves. According to sources, APJ Abdul Kalam Technological University would be taking a lead role in shaping up a broad protocol and training facility for affiliated colleges. The university would suggest a bouquet of platforms, available free of cost, to the colleges. Using the same, each college can configure their online transaction platforms for academic transaction between faculties and students. Deliberations are also on regarding how to bridge the internet connectivity gap among students. During the lockdown period, the university has organised online training programme in which more than 100 teachers participated. The first online faculty development programme held from May 22 to 27 saw faculties developing 70 online courses for engineering students.

Taking the proactive initiative to the next level, Kerala University has developed an online platform modeled on Google Meet. The software UoKmeet, developed using Freesoftware, was launched by university vice chancellor V P Mahadevan Pillai on Wednesday. Meanwhile, Kerala State Higher Education Council has prepared a draft approach paper on the approach to be taken to higher education sector in the post-Covid scenario. The draft paper has laid stress on the need to embrace technology based academic transaction with immediate effect and wanted teaching community to realise it. It also predicted the inevitability of several ICT enaplatforms getting integrated to the main body of academic transaction and its seamless and ubiquitous use even after the Covid crisis.

The executive committee that met through video conferencing on Tuesday stressed on the importance of teachers’ training to in online technology platforms so that they would emerge as better equipped to harness the benefits and scope of the technology for themselves and for students. The draft paper of the council comes a few weeks after a committee appointed by the higher education department had taken sceptical views on relying on technology aided education to tide over the Covid induced crisis. Calicut University is perhaps the pioneer among varsities in Kerala that effectively embraced technology aided teaching learning systems, thanks to the educational multimedia research centre there. The centre has successfully curated several online courseware which are of high demand from students and faculties across the country. “The Centre has over 100 online courses to its credit. This includes ‘Art of C programming’, which has already been attended by around l people”, said the centre director Damodar Prasad.

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