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No reverse gear in tech adoption in higher education

"The (COVID-19) pandemic has acted as a catalyst to catapult us into the track for further deploying technology into teaching," says Dr Jaskiran Arora, Associate Dean-Academic Operations, BML Munjal University

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Adoption of technologies in higher education institutes isn't unheard of. But it isn't just restricted to online classes and virtual assignments. BML Munjal University, a fully residential and co-educational private university located in Gurgaon has adopted the EdTech spanning across different verticals - from admissions to classrooms to examinations.

With institutes switching to online meeting and conferencing apps such as Zoom, Google Classroom Cisco Webex and Microsoft teams, amongst others, BML Munjal University has been using Google for online classes. But it isn't just restricted to online classes. The BML University is personalising the learning experience and improving results for each student by using Smart Books by various publishers including TataMcGraw Hill and Pearson, ERP integrated AI Bots in monitoring students' academic performance, proctoring exams, suggesting the choice of electives, specialisations and tracking attendance. The university also uses various EdTech sites like Poll Everywhere, Mentimeter, Kahoot etc. to capture the class participation and provide formative feedback. For innovative and engaging pedagogies like simulations and gamification of educational concepts, BML University is using Capstone Simulation, Marketplace Simulation, leadership, Time Management and Negotiation gaming concepts from Gamelearn. It also uses Mettl for online examination and Juno for ERP and student management.

Since the pandemic, the BML Munjal University has also switched to a virtual mode, fulfilling all its academic and skilling commitments for the students and also organising placement events for the 2021 graduating batch. All of BML Munjal recruitment partners have also moved to the virtual platform to conduct their selection process, adapting various online screening tests followed by group discussions and personal interviews GD through Zoom / Google / Skype mode. "Fortunately, our students are well acquainted with the online test as they have been well trained for years and could do well. Subsequently, they were well guided by the CGDC team & faculties on how to appear interview & GD round, online. Of course, there were some challenges in the bandwidth of the network in few cases as some of our students are remotely located. But overall we have experienced a seamless process throughout our recruitment season," says Dr Jaskiran Arora, Associate Dean-Academic Operations, BML Munjal University.

For new admissions, the university has deployed LeadSquared that manages student's complete enrolment process. "Right from the point where the student first expresses interest in the university, fills the application form on the portal, pays the application fees, speaks to the counsellor, visits the campus, and finally gets enrolled, the deployed platform captures all this information while automating the entire journey," adds Dr Arora.

But when things go back to normal, there won't be any reverse gear on technology adoption in education. AI systems have started to develop deep learning and make recommendations based on the data fed during the last year, which with time will become even more intelligent. "At BMU we are committed to enhancing the adoption of technology in teaching and learning. The pandemic has acted as a catalyst to catapult us into the track for further deploying technology into teaching. As per UGC guidelines, up to 40% curriculum can be covered through different MOOCs courses and BMU intends to leverage this opportunity to the fullest, to offer students the best learning experience," says Prof Arora. Moreover, a plethora of EdTech ventures have come up- leading to increased spread of products and at very competitive pricing. The academic administrators have already experienced the convenience and intelligence EdTech products offer.

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