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A file photo of IIT Delhi campus. Photo: HT
A file photo of IIT Delhi campus. Photo: HT

Classes move online for engineering and management schools

  • IITs, IIMs are holding virtual classes as Covid-19 disrupts the calendar and uncertainty looms
  • IIT Kharagpur is holding online classes using WebEx and YouTube Live

NEW DELHI : Top engineering and business schools, including the Indian Institutes of Technology (IITs) and the Indian Institutes of Management (IIMs) have started embracing the virtual mode of education as the Covid-19 pandemic disrupts the education calendar and there is no certainty when things will become normal.

There is no campus activity, but professors have started working from home to develop teaching-learning content to be directly delivered on the smartphones of students, a dozen engineering and management schools have said.

“We must reduce disruption and the hardship caused to students. All our professors have started working from home and within the next few days, the online content and video will be available to all students, who have missed out on classes and are at home. It’s an opportunity for us to change our teaching model to benefit our own," said Sarit K. Das, director of IIT Ropar. “We are not going for live streaming as the internet bandwidth is limited in rural India but the content is recorded and sent to their phones and on an online platform," Das said.

IIT Kharagpur said it has already started offering online classes. “Since the pronouncement of the suspension of classes, the Centre for Education Technology has acquired a large number of WebEx licences… for conducting classes from second year undergraduate courses up to the postgraduate level. First year classes are being conducted through YouTube Live. More than 40 faculty members are already taking classes using these e-learning facilities. We are further discussing with Zoom to facilitate interactive online teaching," IIT Kharagpur said in an email.

The institute is enhancing the YouTube Live facility to enable the faculty to concentrate on teaching, instead of being concerned with the technical aspects, said Jeevanjyoti Chakraborty, a professor at IIT Kharagpur. The institute is planning flipped classroom and active learning strategies, where students can listen to recorded course lectures before the scheduled online class and interact more regarding their queries on the topic, he said.

Covid-19 has disrupted life on campuses and the Birla Institute of Management Technology has now adopted online classes for executive education and doctoral programmes, said director Harivansh Chaturvedi. “We have decided to deliver at least 20% of the total academic coursework online and the present crisis has given us an opportunity to adopt it quickly."

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