Learning Has No Lockdown – How Adamas University Tackled the Pandemic
Effective March 16, 2020, the state of West Bengal declared closure of all educational institutes, which from March 24,2020 midnight, became a national lockdown for 1.3 billion people. In the face of this unparalleled crisis Adamas University set examples by immediately shifting to an online learning and mentoring system, including assignments and evaluation, for its students. The result is that today, all our classes are running smoothly through online platforms and also by using pioneer LMS (Learning Management System) services.
The University came up with an Academic Action Plan, designed with a goal to ensure safety of all the stakeholders of the University, keeping essential operations going, while establishing more effective and strategic decision-making systems for the future. Inputs from the Central and State Government directives, the UGC, University management, faculty, students, parents, staff and other stakeholders were integrated in this Action Plan. The Academic Plan has ensured that the University could stay in close contact and address health and safety, student experience, teaching and research, faculty and staff, and operations and communication issues. Most importantly, the University has taken pre-emptive measures to migrate to digital learning, so that the students do not lose out on academics.
Keeping in mind the philosophy and the spirit of outcome-based education that had been implemented, the course curriculum for all the programs remained the same. The academic leaders like the Deans and HoDs took the responsibility for the smooth and complete coverage of the syllabi within the time frame. The quality of the delivery was of utmost importance. Online classes were taken through a digital platform. The university has made provisions for the recording of all virtual sessions on TCSiON. In order to minimize the impact on the predefined learning outcomes of a course due to conversion of the actual classrooms to virtual classrooms, the action plan recommended having online discussions with the students over digital platforms on take home assignments, tutorial sheets as pedagogy. Students were provided with materials for observation, e.g. video recordings of activities in the identified field.
The University Library came forward and provided a variety of resources, including e-books, e-journals, Databases and also a link of open access resources for broadening horizons of learning, to help the students, faculties & other learners.
Special policy guidelines were provided to the Faculty Members, requesting them to put in extra efforts and be open to feedback from students and ﬂexible in terms of deadlines and granting exemptions.
For Faculty research, potentials for online collaborative research was encouraged. Online training programs in literature search through various databases such as SCOPUS, WOS etc. were organized. The University also released Seed Funds for various kinds of research. A high-level research advisory committee was also formed.
Student research projects were based on ‘online data availability’ or secondary data where students could collect the relevant information on the identified topics. The objective was to develop and nurture the research thinking skills and ability in students solving a problem without direct supervision.
All kinds of semester examinations, dissertations, project works, were conducted online. All kinds of admission tests – from UG to PG to PhD – were successfully conducted online – and on time.
The onset of Covid 19 pandemic worldwide presented a reason and motivation to update/upgrade oneself. In this context, Adamas University decided to use Coursera, which is the world’s largest online education platform for its faculty development program. All the teaching staff as well as non-teaching staff were invited to participate in an online professional development program through Coursera. It was heart-warming to note that everyone completed at least one course certification in their areas of interest within the semester.
The founding principles of Adamas University, incorporates sustainability, social inclusivity, internationalism and an encompassing regional economic growth. It was thus natural for the University to come forward with a meaningful contribution for eradication of the pandemic. The University had pledged a sum of Rupees 10/- Lakhs to the Chief Minister’s Emergency Relief Fund. Adamas was also the first University all over India to offer its infrastructure to set up a 1000 bed quarantine centre and house medical staff despite being a non-medical university. The offer was accepted by the West Bengal government. This particular gesture of Adamas was noticed not only nationally but internationally as well.
Apart from these, the Hon’Ble Vice Chancellor constituted a 20-member Task Force to coordinate the University’s response to Covid 19 and engage the entire university family towards holistic intellectual and creative response to the pandemic. The scope of the Task Force included collaborating internally and externally on R & D initiatives and activities, drafting media guidelines and driving student engagement. Under the broad social outreach umbrella of #AdamasUniversityCares, the University decided to reach out to youth (18-23 years) who were confused and disturbed by the uncertainties the pandemic presented and the times ahead and provide them career counselling and psychological help.
Adamas University has also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, on 30th April 2020, with Ecura Labs Private Limited (Registered Trademark “Biogenick Life™”), a Kolkata, West Bengal (India), based company working mainly in the AI-based digital health space,It is an application for disease prognosis assessment & management. It has been developed as a cheap and rapid detection kit for the screening of COVID-19 infection.
Last but not the least, Adamas University was the only among few universities in India to publish a Covid Response Manual – #AUCombatsCovid – addressed to all stakeholders.
That the national academic fraternity has taken notice of Adamas is apparent in the recent awards and accolades given to the University.
Adamas University has received 2.6 Cr grant from BIRAC (Biotechnology Industry Research Assistance Council, Government of India) to establish the BIRAC E-YUVA Project (Encouraging Youth for undertaking Innovative Research through Vibrant Acceleration) The project aims to promote a culture of applied research and need-oriented (societal or industry) entrepreneurial innovation among young students and researchers. This innovative scheme at E-YUVA Center (EYCs) ingrain entrepreneurial culture via pre-incubation, fellowship, and mentor support. It will also host BIRAC’s Innovation Fellows (for post-graduates and above) and BIRAC’s E-Yuva Fellows (for under-graduate students).
The renowned University has bagged the award and become the proud winner of QS I gauge highest category of rating, Platinum in Teaching & Learning and Diamond in Academic Development category. It has become the first ever University in India to bag this rating in academic development and platinum in Teaching and Learning in eastern India. Overall, it has a gold rating. It is a prestigious moment for a university, who has been working in the education sector for the past 5 years. This recognition is unprecedented and loved by all the faculty members and the students of Adamas University.
Adamas has received the Education Excellence Award 2021 by ZEE 24 Ghanta.
The University has been ranked 35th among private universities of the country by Indian Institutional Ranking Framework (IIRF) 2021.
Adamas University aspires to impart finest quality education to young minds with an already established high quality research facility and a powerful team of teachers. There are many international initiatives collaborating with the industries and educational institutes to facilitate projects, research and student exchange programs. The campus has 3500+ current students and more than 1500 resident students and faculties. The biggest impact of Covid-19 on us has been the campus life. We are awaiting the day when the campus again reverberates with activities. As we say here, there’s never a dull day at Adamas!