Almost three weeks after the University of Mumbai announced that all affiliated colleges need to start regular online lectures for the 2020-21 academic year, the varsity has released details on how to carry forward the new form of classes.
For starters, college teachers have been asked to divide each subject into four quadrants — video lecture, specially prepared reading material that can be downloaded/printed, self-assessment tests through tests/quizzes and an online discussion forum to clear all doubts of students.
The circular further states that in case of students struggling to participate in online lectures due to lack of equipment or internet connections, colleges should also make such lectures available on YouTube/Facebook, share notes via email/WhatsApp and personally dial students and provide counselling.
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“Teachers should also form small groups of five to ten students for better communication within the group to discuss regular lessons and get their feedback as well. Counselling sessions should also be conducted and teachers should be in regular touch with parents as well,” states the circular which dated August 24.
While several teachers have found students adapting to online classes well, the Bombay University and College Teachers’ Union (BUCTU) has called this move “far from reality”, especially in the case of students in rural Maharashtra. “MU is assuming all students are sitting in their homes in Mumbai and other big cities but what about students stuck in their hometowns in rural Maharashtra with no electricity at present to even charge their phones, mostly due to the incessant rains?” asked one of the members of the BUCTU.
Previously, the MU had released a circular on August 2 addressed to all affiliated colleges. It stated that with the completion of admissions for all batches, except first-year undergraduate and postgraduate graduate courses, colleges should start virtual lectures only for the new academic year August 7 onwards.
Several teacher organisations from across the state had raised objection to this sudden decision by the university, especially amid lack of clarity given by the varsity about how these classes would be conducted for students stuck in their hometowns in rural Maharashtra due to the ongoing lockdown.