Post-Covid-19, universities will look at digital learning as an ally: Prof. Maya Dodd

New Education Policy of 2020 emphasizes digital learning, and there is a new recognition of the potential of technology in education.

Covid-19 has changed every mean of our daily lives, whether it’s working from life or digital learning. Spread on 60 acres of green expanse, FLAME University prepares students who have a strong desire to learn and grow continually, welcome new ideas, value diversity with desire to succeed and give their best towards excellence in all spheres of life.

Its curriculum includes perspective building, skills and competencies for communication, problem-solving skills, creativity, innovation, teamwork and ethics that also meet the needs of the diverse sectors of the country. It consists of four schools: Flame School of Liberal Education, Flame School of Business, Flame School of Communication and Flame School of Fine & Performing Arts.

Prof. Maya Dodd, tells us more. Excerpts from an interview:

DQ: The pandemic has changed the delivery system of education. How are Indian universities coping with it?

DQINDIA Online | DATAQUEST

Prof. Maya Dodd, Asst. Dean, Teaching, Learning and Engagement, FLAME University

Prof. Maya Dodd: From an academic perspective, the Indian education system is fairly equipped to handle the change. However, much of the change also depends on the technological capacities of different institutions. There is also a recognition of the need for faculty preparedness.

DQ: What kind of online collaborations or technological innovations that the Indian universities will adopt in the future?

Prof. Maya Dodd: Many universities are encouraging students to learn ‘‘beyond the classroom.” If anything, Covid-19 is a reason to engage real-world thinking.
Even the New Education Policy of 2020 emphasizes digital learning, and there is a new recognition of the potential of technology in education. Through online innovations, universities can re-visit their pedagogy, content and the way education can be delivered.

With outcome-based education, Indian universities are becoming more student-centric. Post-Covid-19, universities will look at digital learning as an ally, not a threat. Faculty members have realised that they are able to focus more on the student individually using multiple pedagogies, tools and technologies, hence students gain more.

DQ: How will the consolidation of digital and remote learning methods deliver a comprehensive learning experience?

Prof. Maya Dodd: Back in 2003, the UGC had explored digital technologies to impart a personalised curriculum, to boost learner-centricity, and began the process of incorporating such technologies into education. Before the pandemic,
universities could conduct a small number of courses in online mode.

However, the pandemic and ensuing lockdowns have accelerated the digitalization process. Universities are also trying to adapt to the gaps in Internet access in India by trying to offer pre-recorded classes, which require low bandwidth and connectivity for viewing.

Also, with the Covid-19 pandemic forcing countries to suspend international flights and implement successive lockdowns, college students looking to pursue their degrees abroad have been in a fix. Indian students, who form one of the largest groups studying at foreign locations, are particularly staring at an uncertain academic future.

In the meantime, Indian universities have been steadily building their campuses and capacities in order to meet global standards. They can now deliver what students have been eyeing on foreign shores by combining the best of what’s out there in the world through digital means to deliver a comprehensive learning experience.

DQ: How is FLAME University positioned to deliver high quality higher education post the pandemic?

Prof. Maya Dodd: Hands-on engagement with communities, technologies, firms and institutions across the country is getting integrated into university curricula. The virtual classroom is a big reason that this is possible.

A plethora of pedagogical practices like field visits, in-depth interviews, research, and interning, as well as unconventional activities such as archival documentation and filming/recording are now regarded as enrichments to the learning process and encouraged. This kind of engaged learning is particularly bridging vast cultural gaps within India, and also between Indian and foreign universities.

At FLAME, we are looking at blended learning to leverage the best of online and offline learning. A strong foundation ensures that students write well, communicate effectively, think critically, develop empathy and feel for the world around them. Global citizenship comes from a strong education in these fundamentals.

Recognizing this, we are focused on imparting fundamental skills – both soft and hard – to make students more employable. This structure is further backed by active learning, which not only equips the students to tackle the assessment structure, but also prepares them to handle challenges modelled on real-life.

The assessment structure is also undergoing changes as we are a far cry from the role-learning-one-exam pattern to real-time responsiveness–questions inserted in the video content, polls and continuous, all-round assessments, focus on student centered practices.

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