With governments around the world imposing extended periods of lockdown in a bid to contain the spread of COVID-19, one and half billion schools or college-age learners are stuck at home. Around 90 pc of the world’s student population is under lockdown. Being stuck at home does not necessarily mean that students cannot continue to learn. Advancements in technology both computational and telecommunication, have enabled remote learning opportunities and may even allow students to complete their education as scheduled.
For many learners, digital courses and online collaboration platforms have become the only way they can continue to learn. Many educational institutions have opted for digital platforms to provide study materials to students. Edtech firms have seen a surge in growth in terms of new users and engagement during the Covid-19 induced lockdown.
Elets Technomedia and digitalLEARNING Magazine organized a webinar on “COVID-19-Changing challenges into opportunities- Continued learning and role of tech in academia” with esteemed speakers from the Higher Education sector.
Dr. A. Azad, Registrar, B.S.Abdur Rahman Crescent Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai, Tamil Nadu said “Virtual labs are very important for students in this crisis. All the images are in digital form. The resistance to online teaching is gone. Many students have adopted online education. From the very next days of lockdown, we have started online teaching to our students. We have received very fewer complaints about the virtual classes.”
He also said “We have to improve our way of teaching and when the colleges will re-open, 20 pc of students have to do online classes. We are going for blended learning and theory can be taught online.”
He also said things have accelerated in online education and the institution has recorded over 100 e-lectures in the last few days. Delivering content is not an issue but providing quality content will be an issue.
He even said there is no replacement for physical universities. Online learning will fill the gap between students. The core knowledge is very important for students and the use of technology will surge in the coming days in the education sector.
Dr. PR. Ramakrishnan, Dean and Professor, School of Management Studies and Commerce, Vels Institute of Science Technology and Advanced Studies said “Now a day’s everything is conducted on Zoom conferences. Change is the only permanent thing as we need to adopt it. The education set-up is transforming rapidly. All our students have adopted online education. Students are writing examinations online and we are ready for total adoption of online learning.”
He also said this is the starting of online education in India and in next few years, more students will adopt online learning. We are moving towards students’ centric and quality of education will matter the most.
He said the use of technology will bring new things to the education sector in the coming days.
For last 10 years, digitalization is progressing well in Tamil Nadu. Rural students are more comfortable with digitization, he added.
Dr. Srinivasan J, Principal, Kumaraguru College of Technology, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu said “Earlier, we were worried and now it’s all settle down. All the faculty members have opted for online learning platforms. Everybody has adopted technology in education. Our focus is to complete the syllabus and go for placements.”
He also said there is a paradigm shift in education, and it has been adopted by all the faculties and students. Technology up gradation and adaptability is the new thing in this crisis.
The govt has also said to adopt the online mode of education and institutions are trying to conduct assessments online he added.
He even said in coming days hybrid learning will surge in educational institutions.
Raghav Gupta, Managing Director, India & APAC, Coursera said “Every sector is under pressure due to the Corona crisis. Now students will require more skills to get a job. Banking and insurance sector is moving online. This is going to be a permanent shift and 20 to 30 pc students will adopt online education when the campus opens. This will continue for more two-three years. “
He said in coming days there will be combination of 80 pc offline and 20pc online learning in the education sector. The educational institutions need these four elements firstly, Real-time communication systems, secondly, online education platforms, thirdly Learning management system and lastly Online assessment platforms.
He also said students need good connectivity for online classes as some universities are providing MBBS courses through online to students.
Coursera for campus has seen a huge surge in the last few months as it has added over 365,000 learners as over 200 pc jump in registration seen. Around 26 IIMs and IITs are part of Coursera for campus.
Over 200 of the world’s top universities and industry educators partner with Coursera to offer courses, Specializations, certificates, and degree programmes. Coursera for Campus empowers any university to offer high-quality, job-relevant online education to students, alumni, faculty, and staff.
Sasipraba T, Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Sathyabama Institute of Science and Technology, Chennai said “Every institution has to practice online learning for future. This situation has made all students and teachers tech-savvy. With closures of schools, everyone had adopted online teaching. This time can be used by students to learn new things.”
She also said “The ed-tech firms are now supporting the universities and colleges in this pandemic. The Universities have to adopt new online education and create online content.”
We need to re-define education as technology will change a lot in the coming days. There will be new types of jobs in the market, she added.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will come in the education sector. Technology will not provide empathy to students and Hybrid learning will be normal for students, she added.
Dr. Balakrishna Shetty, Vice Chancellor, Sri Siddhartha Academy of Higher Education Tumkur, Karnataka said “Education is not learning, nor data collection, nor teaching, it’s proving comfort to students. The crisis is a blessing in disguise. Now it’s uncovering the syllabus. This is a third and important revolution in education.”
The change was supposed to happen in education and students are open to all the lectures. Students will be looking for hands-on experience. Universities must start evaluation online and faculties must provide study materials, he said.
Artificial intelligence and machine learning will be the next thing in education. In rural schools, good servers and digital libraries needed to boost digitization. Utilization of gadgets is important in rural India, he said.