CHENNAI: The second day of The Times of India’s Mission Admission webinars focusing on engineering education saw a learned panel of academics and industry experts discussing ‘Post-pandemic Effects of Engineering Education: Problems and Prospects of Hybrid Learning’, a subject that has been on the minds of parents and students stepping into a starkly different higher education system this year. The session was powered by Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, Chennai.
Mini Shaji Thomas, director, National Institute of Technology, Trichy, said that while the last 15 months have been challenging, the institute worked to strike a balance between lab-oriented and online learning using virtual labs and keeping the possibilities for physical laboratory work open in the coming months. “Some faculty recorded lab sessions and uploaded them on our servers for students to learn. We did experiments with students and scholars that could be watched online,” she said.
Throwing light on the innovative aspects of virtual learning, Sandeep Sancheti, vice-chancellor of Marwadi University, said, “As against a physical laboratory where one student typically conducts experiments and others watch, before sharing common results, in a virtual lab every student may have to perform the experiment on their own, and have a unique record and traceability, which ensures that concepts are understood,” he said.
Even as institutions are trying innovative ways to take the classroom online, A M Ayyappadas, coordinator of Education Technology Centre, Amrita School of Engineering, said they are tapping into the digital inventiveness of young people to make the process more hands-on and exciting. “We have been contemplating ways to create a laboratory at home. We want undergraduates to make and send us DIY videos on specialized subjects and make learning more interactive,” he said.
Throwing light on some of their existing mechanisms, Vignesh Muthuvijayan, associate professor, IIT Madras and Faculty Coordinator of NPTEL, said, “We have lab courses for certification wherein we are showing detailed, step-wise demos of every aspect, the equipment and principles are explained, the kind of data generated is also shown. And we give data analysis as assignments.”