After the University Grants Commission (UGC) directed universities and colleges to make their campuses digitally connected through the Digital India programme, a flagship initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, students and professors in Mumbai colleges are looking at ways to boost the digital infrastructure in their campuses.
Colleges think that devising a digital infrastructure is crucial as it is one of the most important determinants for students while choosing colleges and universities according to an international survey.
According to professors, making the teaching and learning process digitally advanced and connecting the institution and its students with virtual measures, is one of the first steps in making their campuses digitally-enabled.
Students of Thadomal Shahani Engineering College (TSEC), Bandra, have developed a software called ‘ Quiddle’, which deals with online storage of admission data, attendance, results, e-books and information related to placements.
“Our college encourages projects made by students who volunteer to learn and create a virtual campus. We are planning to incorporate these projects in our college,” said GT Thampi, principal, TSEC, Bandra
At KC College, Churchgate, a mobile application has been developed, for students from the management studies, on which data about the departments concerned, exam time tables, lecture timings and event updates are available.
Also, few colleges, including Jai Hind College, KC College and St. Xavier’s College have developed ‘Language lab’, an audio or audio-visual installation used as an aid in language teaching. The lab helps in converting any given text into Indian as well as foreign languages.
Colleges, including Somaiya College of Engineering, Vidyavihar, have digitised their libraries and are creating virtual open sources for students, which include e-books, college projects and e-lectures for students.
Last week, a state-level workshop for librarians of educational institutions on building institutional repository was organised at SP Jain Institute of Management & Research (SPIJMR), Andheri.
“Academic librarians can use the technology, which can be helpful to make their collection stronger and enable students to access it,” said Madhavi Wadkar, librarian, SPJIMR.
City college students said that despite talent among Indian students, foreign universities are ahead of Indian universities because of better digital presence in their campus.
Madhwa Galgali, MA psychology student of Mumbai University said, “If we want to compete with students from foreign universities, it is important that we should have better digital infrastructure.”
Despite the UGC order, it is estimated that more than 350 universities are yet to provide details of their broadband and Wi-Fi connectivity to the agency.
“It is unfortunate that most universities in India are lagging behind in their digital presence. However, these initiatives by some colleges to make the campus digitally advanced are showing others the way,” said Jyoti Thakur, executive coordinator and vice-principal, Jai Hind College.