How will institutes manage this year without a zero?
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The Ministry of Education recently clarified that the 2020-21 session will not be declared an academic year zero due to the pandemic. In a standing parliamentary committee, Union University Secretary Amit Khare noted that the ongoing academic session will include regular academic activities including classes and examinations and will therefore not be considered as “academic year zero”.

V Jagadeesh Kumar, Dean of Academic Courses, IIT Madras, talks about how institutes with a similar approach can work and avoid learning disruptions: “We need to find the best possible solutions to continue teaching in difficult times as this cannot be done on normal ones Teaching and Testing Wisely ”.

“As with any other important activity, academics cannot be stopped during the pandemic. The activities need to continue and we need to find different alternatives for undisturbed learning. The pandemic has stalled, but academics can’t stay, ”says NP Padhy, dean of academic affairs at IIT Roorkee.


Restructuring course


Citing the measures IIT Roorkee has taken to conduct learning in difficult times, Padhya says: “To meet the challenges of practical and experimental learning, we have restructured the course for the coming semester. The practical assessment has been removed and the students are assessed on the basis of theory courses. ”

The new semester at the institute starts on August 24th for all classes except the first year.

For the coming semester, courses with practical components have been exchanged for theoretical courses for the next quarter. The students will therefore only study theory in the coming classes.

A similar approach has also been taken by BML Munjal University (BMU) in Haryana, where the course, which requires the physical presence of students, has been postponed to the next semester.

“Classes for the new group of MBA, law and engineering students at our university have started. Effective online courses have been organized for students with virtual labs and spoken tutorials. To ensure that no students lose their practical learning, we have switched the practical courses from this semester to the next semester for BTech students, ”says Manoj K Arora, Vice Chancellor of the BMU.


Evaluation process


As to how the assessment process will work during this period, he adds: “In the last semester, supervised online exams were carried out for the students by AI, and the results were satisfactory. The exams for the current semester for MBA and law students are conducted in a similar manner. BTech students may need to come to campus for assessment. ”

At IIT Madras, the institute has also started online courses for theory courses for the July-November semester. Laboratory courses are taught as soon as students return to campus. The institute also conducted an online open book exam for all final year students from March to July.

“All projects are now simulation-based and can be carried out by students from home who have remote access to the institute’s computer facilities. The institute has also introduced a virtual meeting, discussion forum and online supervised problem solving to address the teaching crisis, ”added Jagadeesh Kumar.

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