While the Nation is locked down due to the coronavirus pandemic, the students of Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth have advanced in their lessons through the online media. Academic continuity in this time of a huddle is being ensured through the Learning Management System (LMS) Moodle, WhatsApp conference calls, YouTube and audio recordings. Some lecturers have shared their personal phone number with the students and are available on call. Through these systems, faculty and students who are at present in different parts of India, are able to converse with each other and learn.
Fortunately, many of our faculty have been early incorporators of technology (Moodle) in teaching. Therefore, they were able to respond quickly when the COVID-19 crisis forced us to conduct classes online. Students too have responded well by attending classes diligently. Also, CVV's IT team was ready with a robust IT framework and software platforms. They have continued to provide excellent support for ensuring academic continuity.
The faculty record their lectures, upload them on YouTube and then share the video with the students via Moodle. The lectures are interspersed with questions (generally objective questions) which ensure that the student has gone through the entire lecture. Moodle has an activity called ‘Lesson’ which allows for adaptive learning. Students can go through the lesson at their own pace.
In order to save time and data, questions are shared in advance. The explanation or methods of solving problems are explained during the Zoom meeting, doubts are clarified and some important parts of the week's content are (re)explained. The students work out the problems and questions and submit them to the faculty through WhatsApp or by email. Periodical assignments and quizzes are also being successfully conducted by the faculty to further engage the students with that week's lesson.
At times, not all the students can attend the Zoom class because of various reasons, like a power cut or poor internet connection. Hence, the faculty are not strict about them attending the online classes, provided they complete the lessons and submit the assignments.
Members of the faculty have expressed their joy and relief that students are fruitfully utilising their time for studies while staying at home in this lockdown period following Government guidelines.
“I find that my recorded lectures are much shorter than actual classes. Something that would take me nearly 45 minutes to cover in a class is now reduced to a 20-30 minute video. I think the reason for this is three-fold. Firstly, no questions are being asked in between that interrupt the lecture. Secondly, based on the mood of the class picked through non-verbal cues, I generally repeat a particular part of the lecture if I find that the students have not understood it. At times, the questions that students ask trigger the memory of some other concept which I would then share with the students, if relevant. All these three are missing in online teaching. Now, all such discussions, if any, are conducted online by using the ‘Forum’ feature of Moodle.
Technology has definitely been useful in these difficult times. I am happy that because of such software the students' education is not completely disrupted. There are other benefits of these recordings too. The University and I can use them in the future in case I’m on leave.” ~ Asst. Prof. R. Venkata Raghavan, School of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Heritage (Read more)
“Even problem-based courses like Management Accounting and Cost Accounting can be effectively taught through Moodle by interacting with the students. I share the problems in advance and then explain the method of solving them during the Zoom class.” ~ Assoc. Prof. Dr. Manjula R. Iyer, School of Contemporary Knowledge Systems
“The course on ‘Indian Perspective on Life, Time and Managing Lifestyles’ is 75% student-centric. I share reading material like articles and relevant chapters from Ayurvedic texts, based on which students have to prepare notes and share them through Moodle. In the next session, I conduct a quiz. I mark attendance for those who submit the assignment and answer the quiz. The students are responding well and doing a good job. They are also working on creating awareness on the coronavirus as a part of this course.” ~ Asst. Prof. Vinayak Rajat Bhat, Head of School of Vedic Knowledge Systems