The Higher Education Track brought together education leaders, academicians, and practitioners to discuss contemporary issues in higher education and to put together valuable information for addressing key challenges in this field.
Education technology will become a core differentiator in attracting students and corporate partners. The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning [NPTEL] has come a long way in opening up education to the masses
India has the finest of educationists and academicians who are experts not only in dissemeination of knowledge and practice but also in bringing about creative changes in the system to evolve a knowledge economy that is the best in the world. The Higher Educationb Track sought to deliberate on pertinant issues in policy and practice that will enable India to usher into an era of inclusive and innovative higher education.
Systemic Enhancement of Learning & Teaching in Innovation, Research and Development: Policy and Practices
Chair: • C R Biswal, Principal Secretary, Higher Education Department, Government of Andhra Pradesh Panelists: • Prof Srivathsan, Pro Vice Chancellor, IGNOU • Dr V Balasubramanyam, Domain Consultant-Medical, elearning & Professor, Dept of Anatomy, St John’sMedical College; • Dr Srinivas Pentyala, Director of Translational Research, Stony Brook Medical Center, Stony Brook, New York; • Dr Indraneel Ghose, Science & Technology Analyst, Delegation of European Union to India; • Dr D N Reddy, Vice Chancellor, Jawaharlal Nehru Technical University; • Marc- Alexis Remond, Director, Government, Education and Healthcare Solutions for Polycom Asia Pacifi c The session highlighted that technology has become vital in order to make higher education more responsive to student needs. According to a recent survey, nearly two-thirds (63%) of survey respondents from both the public and private sectors say that technological innovation will have a major infl uence on teaching methodologies over the next fi ve years. In fact, technology will become a core differentiator in attracting students and corporate partners. The National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning [NPTEL] has come a
long way in opening up education to the masses through the use of technology. 125 video courses are available on YouTube and 130 courses on the web. Global developments in OCW, OKI, OER, Wikibooks, OCW-2, Open Access Publishing, Curriki, etc. have facilitated the process of spreading higher education through open source. Cloud Computing and FOSS suites are also available to reduce cost. Some of the challenges, like the shortage of quality faculty, need to be addressed through greater encouragement to education research and effective utilization of funds allocated to higher education.The session highlighted that the higher education system in India is increasingly responding to globalisation. Overseas presence of educational institutes will be the norm in the coming years. Todayseveral educational institutions either already have foreign locations or plan to open them in the next three years.
Distance education is also becoming increasingly global, with universities in the US and overseas leveraging advanced technologies to put education within reach of many more individuals around the world. In the era of the knowledge worker and the power of human capital, two key dimensions of knowledge economy were highlighted- that of existing stock of
knowledge and, secondly, competence in the economy. While the role of the faculty is stillto impart knowledge, there are many additional facets & responsibilities for the faculty of today. With increasingly sophisticated technology, there are numerous mediums available for imparting knowledge and education. There has to be a transition to suit the requirementsof verbal to visual to virtual generation of students.The session put forth some of the emerging technologies that will impact teaching and learning in the future. These include network enabled class rooms and virtual learning environments. In the next 3 years collaborative web, mobile computing, e-books and cloud computing would play a larger role in facilitatingeducation processes. Technology has been of late shaping the future of higher education. Online blended learning approach has paved the way for anytime, anywhere learning. The focus is to suit the learners’ requirements and introduce fl exibility into learning processes. Individualized degree programs have been created which is learner centric and customer driven. Web 2.0 tools can be used to achieve several educational goals. Blogs can be used to support the development of refl ective reporting and refl ective thinking and also help improve peer feedback Discussion forums would facilitate enquiry based learning and enable sharing of
wider range of learning resources. Wikis help support collaborative education and development of new resources. With the gradual change in the education system through technology, the role of the teacher is now shifting towards that of becoming a key facilitator of learning.
ASSESSMENT, ACCREDITATION & QUALITY STANDARDS IN HIGHER EDUCATION: TECHNOLOGY LEADING THE WAY
According to Prof Rangappa, technological innovation is now changing the very way that universities teach and students learn. Technology has had—and will continue to have—a signifi cant impact on higher education. The session highlighted several issues in higher education. The current Gross Enrollment Ratio in the higher education in India is 12% in the 18-23 age group, as compared to a global average of 24% and 30% in developed countries. There is a need to improve the quality of education in colleges. There has been a growing awareness that universities have been reduced to admissions and examination control centres, and that increased attention has to be given towards quality research. Quality and accreditation in higher education are important parameters to ensure good standards in teaching and learning. It identifi es the producer and consumer and hence grants confi dence to both. Accreditation grants recognition by the consumer and also the product itself. The quality of education is the basic need of the society. There are number of effective teaching & learning methodologies in practice. Technology is the most effective way to increase the student’s knowledge. Nowadays ICT plays emminent role in the process of integrating technology into the educational activities.
OPEN UNIVERSITY & DISTANCE EDUCATION: FLEXIBLE EDUCATION PRACTICES (SPECIAL
The advances in information and communication technology provide great opportunities to enhance teaching and learning in higher education by both oncampus and distance education. Even disabled students who are denied access to traditional institutions, and all those who require updating of their knowledge and life-long education can now be benefi ted
by the modern facilities of communication. They also provide increased access to information sources and facilitate communication among researchers and teachers and the building of networks of institutions and scholars. The potential of open and distance learning are many. In efforts to meet the new and changing demands for education and training, open and distance learning may be seen as an approach that is at least complementary and under certain circumstances an appropriate substitute for the face-to-face methods that still dominate most educational systems. Through the open universities and distance learning initiatives, mechanisms are in place to upgrade skills at regular intervals and develop new competencies. People’s needs of lifelong learning are constantly expanding. While its benefi ts can be evaluated by technical, social and economic criteria, distance learning methods also have their own pedagogical merit, leading to different ways of conceiving knowledge generation and acquisition. To the learner, open and distance learning means more freedom of access, and thereby a wider range of opportunities for learning and qualifi cation. The barriers that may be overcome by distance learning include not only geographical distance, but also other confi ning circumstances, such as personal constraints, cultural and social barriers and lack of educational infrastructure. Distance education is thought to be an effective way of educating people of all ections in society.
STRENGTHENING CAPACITIES OF EDUCATORS: THE ICT WAY
Integration of technology in education would also mean training and capacity building of teachers in the same fi eld. Technology in education is not new, but modern computer technologies, such as the Internet, allow new types of teaching and learning experiences to fl ourish. Many new technologies are interactive, making it easier to create environments in which students can learn by doing, receive feedback, and continually refi ne their understanding and build new knowledge. Access to the Internet gives unprecedented opportunities in terms of the availability of research material and information in general. This availability of research material and information happens to both inspire and threaten teachers. Often the perception is that educators are not willing to adapt to new technologies
as they feel threatened from the spurt of information. However, this perception needs to be changed through adequate training and bringing about greater familiarity with education technology for educators. A very critical role has to be played by teacher education institutions in providing the necessary leadership in adapting pre-service and in-service
teacher education to deal with the current demands of society and economy. New pedagogies and tools for learning have to be adapted with the aim of enhancing the teaching-learning process. Moreover, teacher education institutions must also
MAINTAINING QUALITY STANDARDS IN ENGINEERING AND MANAGEMENT EDUCATION: KEY REQUIREMENTS
Engineering colleges have mushroomed in India over the past few years. The session focused on the need to ensure quality standards and for maintenance of a monitoring mechanism for engineering colleges across India. The All India Council for Technical Education (AICTE) has been a prominent player in this fi eld, having set several parameters for technical education institutes. These parameters are in essence, the minimum requirements for any educational institute to be recognised. However, these guidelines have often been misrepresented by new educational institutes to suit requirements and set shop. There is a need for greater accountability among colleges to ensure that qualifi ed, trained and industry ready students are churned out of these institutes