Topics that require extensive work in the laboratories have been postponed to next year; laptops, broadband connections, even micro SD cards for storage, have been bought and distributed; options for online exams are being explored and short-listed.
Their academic schedules thrown completely off-track by the coronavirus outbreak, public engineering institutions have been compelled to try teaching their popular B.Tech courses online.
Postponing till normalcy is restored was not an option as no one knows when “normal time” is coming. “We cannot keep postponing. People will have to find ways and means, and that has to be done as per the demand of the situation. We are taking calls on various issues as they come. The Senate is deciding on this and changing the rules that required changing,” said AK Gosain, professor, department of civil engineering, Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) Delhi which went online in late July.
Punjab Engineering College (PEC) Chandigarh was one of the first technical colleges to announce a semester online. “[Online teaching] has started for the third, fifth and seventh-semester students because the first semester admissions have not taken place,” said its director, Dheeraj Sanghi.
The Joint Entrance Examination (JEE) Main for engineering was delayed by COVID-19 as well.
Not so easy
Each semester at PEC consists of five courses. Sanghi hopes to complete the syllabus by the end of November. However, a few classes might have to be repeated, “as per demand”, if and when the situation normalises and the students return to campus, he said. College and university campuses started emptying out from the middle of March, even before the first lockdown was enforced to control the spread of coronavirus.
The decision to go online was not taken lightly as the challenges were many and some have proven simply insurmountable.
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