A first in the series of ongoing efforts to track the Information and Communication Technology (ICT) usage patterns, we bring our readers a trend analysis of the extent of technological integration in B-Schools. The report compiles the results of the responses received and gives us an estimate of the overall patterns in technological integration.
17 B-Schools participate in the digital LEARNING sample survey exercise to map the technological integration trends.
The survey was done by randomly selecting 17 B-Schools from across India who have responded to the SMART B-School Survey Questionnaire. Overall parameters used for the study have included technological integration patterns in the administrative functions, course content, IT investments and training programmes.
Read on to find out more…
Technology in Administration
The use of biometric attendance system is on the rise and most of the Management Schools, who do not yet have the biometric attendance system in place, have expressed their interest in implementing the system in the near future. According to the administrative functionaries, the use of biometric system/ smart cards have helped avoid a lot of manual and paper work and has eased the burden on the administrative staff. Digital tracking of attendance and ready availability of the attendance records to the relevant staff/faculty have helped in maintaining accountability and a transparent administrative process.
More than 90% of the respondents have said that the admission forms of their respective institutes are available online and the admission and selection results, once declared, are also displayed on the website. This has proved to be a boon for out-of-station students do not have to travel to distant places to ascertain their admission status.
Around 50% of the respondents have implemented the system of electronic evaluation of semester and entrance exams. It can be estimated from this that majority of the evaluation processes are done manually by the supervising authority.
ICT Usage in Classroom Discourse
The trend now is move towards the use of Smart Boards and Interactive White Boards for classroom discourse. Even though the poll shows only 38% of the respondents using Interactive White Boards, the adoption of this technology by Management Institutes will be continuous and steady.
Complete digitalisation of course content and online availability of classroom lectures are related concepts and both have seen similar trends, with 30% of the institutes having adopted complete digitalisation.
More than 60% of the respondents have stated that their course content is partially digitalised and that complete digitalisation will be the goal ahead.
All the responding institutes have given affirmative responses to the use of PCs, laptops, and workstations for all students, faculty and the administrative staff; as also the provision of LAN and Wi-Fi enabled campus and hostel facilities.
This reflects the dominant and pervasive use of the World Wide Web for research and study activities of the students and faculty. Most of the academic journals and research papers, relevant to the course content, are available online and graduates remain informed and updated about contemporary developments.
More than 90% of respondents agreed to the use of Web server,
FTP server, e-mail server and other high-end servers/computers while around 70% agreed to the use of Document management server and database server for all departments. and divisions.
Open source software tools have facilitated active and collaborative learning for a wide variety of learners and 38% of the respondents opted for this tool.
However preference has been seen for usage of customised and tailor made software tools since they cater to specific teaching and learning requirements of the students and faculty, with 54% of the respondents opting for the same.
Off-the-shelf training packages vary in quality as well as in the format and media used. However, 46% also prefer off-the-shelf software tools.
ICT Training Programmes
More than 90% of the responding institutes have training programmes to equip the faculty and staff with necessary technological skills.
Training courses have been found to be vital to keep the staff updated with the changing IT development. The faculty, although are seen to be well equipped with ICT skills, the training programmes act as a refresher course.
It is also seen to be a positive trend in the Management Institutes where the administrative staff May show resistance towards adoption of new technologies.
Investments in ICT
Highest capital investment in ICT infrastructure is observed to be in hardware, while recurring investments have mostly taken place in the provision of internet facilities.
It can be noted that Management Institutes in their initial years find themselves investing in hardware capabilities, while gradually the expenditure shifts towards software and e-content. Maintenance and networking costs are the significant investments once the institute is well established.
Widening the Digital Horizons
The study proves that the administrative and academic functions have well used the potential of technology to make activities efficient, user friendly and market driven, although significant more still needs to be incorporated.
Commercially available University ERP solutions are still not in common use, although awareness of the same is observed to be high. Private vendors are increasingly pushing their products, which shows that there is a great deal of acceptance for ERP solutions. Barring certain immediate barriers preventing the institutes from adopting ERPs, most have expressed their desire to integrate the system in the near future.
Majority of the faculty and students have been technologically savvy. Training requirements are mostly used for upgrading the user group with latest addition to the administrative/curriculum functions.
Thus, the major driving factor that have propelled the process of technological integration in B-Schools have the been the extremely competitive market forces. Churning out management graduates who can match up to the global standards is a pre-requisite for all management institutes. Therefore, binding the rapidly advancing technological innovations into the management education domain is seen as a significant tool for advancing the skills and abilities of management graduates. Use of technology is seen to sharpen the business acumen of the management graduates.
The capital used on ICT infrastructure are observed to be more of an investment rather than expenditure. This trend is very encouraging,and highlights the growing demand and desire to match up to global B-School standards.
An analysis of the technology trends reflected in the study shows that the there has been a gradual and powerful shift towards integration and assimilation of technology in all aspects of management studies.
List of Participating Institutes