Dr. Kamal Kishore Sharma, Director General, Taxila Business School, Jaipur tells about how they adapted to the online mode of education during the pandemic

Going forward the new normal is going to be blended learning where physical togetherness is going to complement the content and the skill part which could be delivered through the digital mediums says Dr. Kamal Kishore Sharma, Director General, Taxila Business School, Jaipur in an interview with Pratik Ghosh, ArdorComm Media Group.
What’s your take on the new normal education?
While the new normal boarders on digitization and blended learning, my firm take is that the learning really happens in a physical environment. So while the new normal will bring in more technologies, more options for the students to learn their skills but there are certain skills in life for example how to analyze, how to understand a behavior in a certain context, interact with people, how to communicate, how to spread across your thought process and argue around it, what you have been able to think in your mind all of that happens during an interaction process and that requires a physical togetherness of students. So, to me the new normal is about a new realization of how important it is to look at this development of the software aspect of students. Now that most of the content is being able to be provided by technology and Google so going forward the new normal is going to be blended learning where physical togetherness is going to complement the content and the skill part which could be delivered through the digital mediums.
How did your institution adapt to the online mode of education when the pandemic hit the world?
The first thing that was required was to engage the students because each student as well as the faculty and the whole ecosystem was in a state of stress induced by the pandemic and the lockdowns. So, the very first thing that the institution could do was to reach out to the candidates, second was in order to keep the learning process going on we had to bring on technology in order to reach out to the students. So, simultaneously there were lot of options in the zoom, meets, BlueSky and everything that came in. The other part of it one, the local infrastructure of how you could use those web technologies, so we brought in the best of cameras, mics and everything and we created a studio in the college itself where the least of noise interference would happen so that was important. Two, was to create multiple platforms together in that studio so that on one hand while you will be able to show what you want to show as a content, you’ll also be able to interact with the students face to face. So, there were two mediums working on simultaneously. Third, was to get into a faculty development program wherein we had to imbibe everything else that was happening around the world in terms of how to engage students in an online classroom. So, those regular inputs on that front, together these three saw us through the most difficult period during the pandemic. Going forward these things will stay with us, the technology will stay with us, the infrastructure will stay with us but clearly we have been able to identify that digital can only go to a certain extent, that is being talked about as new normal but the importance of physical togetherness and interaction and the values, the human soft skills that you learn from it, there is no other way to do that even in a new normal.

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