BHUBANESWAR: Indian Institute of Technology Bhubaneswar has commenced classes for the new academic year through online mode for its on-roll students as well as the new postgraduate students (MTech, MSc and PhD students) amidst Covid-19 pandemic.
All the classes are now being conducted by live streaming without the physical presence of students in the campus, the institute said in a statement.
"That is, the present semester has started almost on time, with only a delay of three weeks compared to the normal or non-pandemic situation.
The students will be brought to the campus through an SOP as the situation improves and permits," it said.
Speaking on the occasion, its Director Prof R V Raja Kumar said, "We could start the new academic year on time and we are now left with the only challenge of commencing the classes for fresh and 2020-21 batch of B Tech students."
Noting that JEE Mains and JEE (Advanced) examinations are scheduled for September, he said the institute will be able to admit the students, and commence their classes after a couple of months and save the academic year of the B Tech freshers.
"It is certainly feasible to cope up with the pandemic and reduce the risks by being conscious and by taking the precautions to give right opportunities for our youth," the director said.
On the effectiveness of the online mode of education, Prof Kumar said, "the pandemic forced us to start the new academic year through online mode. It has some drawbacks and some advantages too. Our endeavour should be to minimize the disadvantages and capitalize on the advantages."
"At IIT Bhubaneswar I have personally addressed the faculty and advised them to do effective online teaching, maintain the 'connect' and interaction by adopting the best practices, own innovative practices and some experimentation, in the online mode. Right problem solving assignments with feedback to students which can be done online is important for participatory learning."
"The hands-on for the laboratory part will be done once the students return to the campus. But some concurrent online laboratory training too will be provided now itself alongside the theory classes, so that their learning is not affected due to the delayed laboratory practice," he said.
Learning is an important component of education and therefore the role of a student, the main stakeholder is very important for the success of the endeavour, the director said.
A student should be aware of it that one has to be entrepreneurial in arranging a device and connectivity and also put the extra effort in making one's learning from the online education effective.
The society can hope for this at the present juncture from the students of higher education, he said.
Dr Pravas R Sahu, Dean (Academic) said IIT Bhubaneswar completed its education of the last academic year without any compromises and timely by live streaming of classes, conducting remaining laboratory classes and thesis work by online means, conducting conventional examinations by creating and adopting a unique and very innovative online method for all of its students, despite the Covid-19 pandemic.