Our experience under Covid has exposed us to new digital technologies, teaching pedagogies and implementation of a variety of assessments, says Dr. Maneek Kumar, Dean, School of Engineering & Technology, BML Munjal University
Have you now settled back into the pre-Covid paradigm or is it now fully hybrid?
“Teaching and learning” is a continuous process, which has been evolving since ages and still there is no fixed best fit for a certain class. Covid taught us to be more inventive in the way we engaged with the class and also hastened the technical intervention in the way a teacher interacted with their class. We have reverted to the pre-Covid scenario, but it has altered our perspective and approach to teaching and educating students. Our experience under Covid has exposed us to new digital technologies, teaching pedagogies, implementation of a variety of assessments, including open book exams and aptitude-based testing.
What are the latest tech tools that you have implemented?
The Covid-19 pandemic accelerated the need for digital education and empowered teachers and students to collaborate and learn at their own pace. An opportunity that arose from this adaptation was to make the best use of Google Classroom or MS Teams in addition to use of platforms like Zoom and Google Meet. While teaching remotely, we recorded lectures or portions of our classes and shared them with the students. Even after the pandemic, when we have reverted back to in-class offline teaching, we are still continuing with use of Mentimeter to engage students using live polls, word clouds and multiple-choice questions. In addition, the faculty members are using Kahoot!, Quizizz and Google Quiz that enables students to be actively involved during their classes.
Will you be changing the syllabus to reflect the post-Covid world?
Instead of changing the curriculum to match the post-Covid era, the focus is on bringing cutting-edge teaching pedagogies to actively engage the students in the class, irrespective of in-person or hybrid sessions. We encourage students to come up with solutions for pandemic-related problems, such as guiding shoppers in the right direction at big-box supermarkets who are seeking a certain item on their shopping list to preserve social distancing etc. We discuss with the students about the challenges encountered during Covid-19 and how they would like to contribute to finding solutions in light of the situations we all faced, with more focus on prevention than cure. The objective is to motivate students to learn from their surroundings by going to nearby places, whether they are small towns, villages or less developed areas, talking to the locals to understand their requirements and identify the problem, and then offering a proposal/solutions to address the same.
What is your policy on ChatGPT?
ChatGPT is a significant advancement in the field of AI because it can explain things from multiple perspectives and possesses analytical and reasoning abilities, yet it represents a challenge for the academics. It can be used to manipulate data which could question the authenticity of the student’s work and have severe implications for the research community. As an academic institution, we must educate students on how to use tools like ChatGPT ethically and also assess its effect on their academic development. A new set of guidelines must be devised for the usage and evaluation of AI-generated text.
What more support do you want from the industry and government?
Technology today is essential for increasing diversity as strengthening digital literacy skills is one of our top concerns. For the advancement of technology infrastructure, the skill development of instructors and students, and research, government funding is certainly required.
Dr. Maneek Kumar
Dean, School of Engineering & Technology, BML Munjal University