Higher Education may see blended teaching, 40 percent course content to be delivered online

New Delhi: The University Grants Commission (UGC) has announced that higher educational institutions (HEI) will be allowed to teach 40 percent of any course online while the rest can be offered offline.  The panel set by UGC has even sought suggestions and feedback from various stakeholders on the draft concept note on a “blended mode of teaching and learning” in universities and colleges by June 6.

The draft suggested that it will not only increase learning skills amongst the students but will also give them greater access to information. The draft reads as, “improved satisfaction and learning outcomes and opportunities both to learn with others and to teach others,” will come from blended learning techniques.

UGC Secretary Rajnish Jain said, “The UGC had decided that HEIs should be allowed to teach up to 40 percent of each course through online mode and the remaining 60 percent of the concerned courses can be taught offline mode. Exams for teaching under both modes can be conducted online.”

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The concept note has been prepared in accordance with the new National Education Policy (NEP), which the expert panel believes, gives the acceptability of many modes of learning including that of face to face learning, online learning and distance or virtual mode.

“The NEP-2020 states that while promoting digital learning and education, the importance of face-to-face in-person learning is fully recognised. Accordingly, different effective models of blended learning will be identified for appropriate replication for different subjects,” the note said.

“Blended learning is not a mere mix of online and face-to-face mode, but it refers to a well-planned combination of meaningful activities in both the modes. The blend demands consideration of several factors, mainly focussing on learning outcomes and the learner centred instructional environment,” the draft note said.

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“Blended learning shifts the role of teachers from knowledge provider to coach and mentor. This shift does not mean that teachers play a passive or less important role in students education,” the note said.

“Quite the contrary — with blended learning, teachers can have an even more profound influence and effect on students learning,” it added.

The note highlighted the importance of a new form of learning and stated, “Traditionally, classroom instruction has largely been teacher-directed, top-down, and one-size-fits-all, with a bit of differentiation thrown in, but with blended learning, it now becomes more student-driven, bottom-up, and customised, with differentiation as the main feature.”

The draft said, “Continuous comprehensive evaluation should be encouraged in universities and colleges. Summative evaluation strategies including open book examination, group examinations even for conventional theory papers, spoken examinations, on-demand examinations have been recommended besides formative evaluation strategies like ePortfolio, creative products, classroom or online quizzes.”

UGC on availability of infrastructure

“It must be ensured that required infrastructure for online systems such as accessibility of internet, bandwidth, hardware, space and other related resources be made easily available for the smooth execution of blended teaching-learning process. “The financial aid required to develop the infrastructure and resources must also be taken care of,” it added.

Conducting exams online 

“During the COVID time, many exams were forced to be conducted in an online mode. These were supported by a variety of tools which came into being in recent times and were based on proctoring through artificial intelligence tools.”

“However, AI as technology can be used for many more assessments like, attention levels, speed of learning, level of learning etc. Hence new tools should be experimented with for examinations and assessments,” the note further read.

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