Profile : Shridatta Suresh Haldankar
President of Chetana Education Trust,Conducts Arts and Commerce Colleges, affiliated to the University of Mumbai, and also a management institute which conducts courses like MMS, PGDBM, MMM and MFM. The Trust also conducts self-financing courses like BMS, BAF, BFM, BMM and B.Sc. IT.
While the covid-19 situation has put forward many challenges currently, it has also created great opportunities. So, we are putting together an industry story on ‘Opportunities & challenges for universities, institutes & colleges in a Covid-19 world’.
Interview for Education Industry
- What have been your key challenges during the lockdown?
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, as an institution we observed the challenge that for our students’ online classes for was confusing to adjust to as we had not been prepared through simulations or practices beforehand. Some surveys showed that students reported the home-learning program to be even more stressful than regular classrooms. Some of the common reasons for this went along the lines of – Normal classes may have been difficult, but having friends makes it so much more manageable and less stressful. Online classes take out the benefits of having friends to socialize with and being stuck alone with nothing but assignments. Many students participating in home-learning programs also say that the workload of online classes is larger than that of regular classes.
- How do you see digital technologies helping you overcome these challenges?
– During the COVID-19 pandemic, technologies have really played a crucial role not only in our society functional but also schools, colleges & many other institutes in improving engagement which was very important considering remote learning. When technology is integrated into lessons, students are expected to be more interested in the subjects they are studying – Improves knowledge retention, encourages individual learning, encourages collaboration, Students can learn useful life skills through technology, Benefits for teachers
- What changes in student behavior do you foresee due to Covid-19 pandemic?
Covid-19 will surely bring changes to the theory of behavior in students, these are expected mental health effects which are already reported from the countries where lockdown started way before India did. It is also noted in some cases where parents are quarantined with children or students, the mental health toll become slightly steeper.
- How, in your opinion, can digital technologies help in overcoming the challenge thrown by this behavioral change?
The true potential of technology lies in its ability to do things that nothing else can do. With the help of these technologies, the colleges & institutes it is important they keep educating students about this unexpected psychological impacts due to Covid-19 and reactions to trauma if they are interested and making them understand that this psychological reaction is normal.
- Do you see online classes/ online teaching becoming the new normal from this point onwards?
I am still emphatic on one point: online higher education would never match the real thing. Although there are numerous established, prestigious universities to be offering full degrees online by 2030, but I am still of the opinion that thought that going forward, the electronic versions would be more popular than traditional campus-based degrees.
- Do you predict an increase in the number of students signing-up for online courses?
In my opinion Yes, as the number and proportion of college and university students taking classes online grew rapidly since 2017, as overall post secondary enrollments fell
- How do you plan to use digital marketing for your university/ institute/ college?
For me Education is one field that is never going out of business. The reason is simple, there’s always a need for education. In fact, with time, the value of higher education has increased. This has given rise to a number of colleges and universities offering various courses in different fields. No wonder that colleges today have to market their courses and showcase what they have to offer. Digital marketing is, therefore, a solution for colleges. However, you cannot simply start digital marketing without a plan. So let us jot down the steps and ideas to create a good digital marketing strategy for colleges. And if I could list down a few, increase the brand awareness, communicating courses & events, maintain Sanctity on social media, and maximize engagement.
- Thanks to the many learning apps, students entering college education are now habituated to learning through education videos. Are you also planning to create education videos, to improve the pedagogy at your university/ institute/ college?
In fact yes and simply because it First, allow them to use technology and take advantage of their drive for self-learning, Build a social community beyond the walls of the classroom, show them the content they are learning has relevance on a global scale, lastly, be brief and capture their attention with visuals
- Communication & engaging the current students surely would have been a challenge. Do you think a mobile app would have made communication & student engagement a lot more organized and easier?
It is important to ask for feedback. Any chance the learners have to leave feedback is a great opportunity for interaction. Let people choose the way and make it social. Invite learners to contribute and encourage peer evaluation.
- Is building a mobile app for your university/ institute/ college among your top priorities now?
I don’t think it could be taken as a priority for now but it is something where we can look into for future.
- Does your university/ institute/ college accept fee payments online? If not, do you plan to give online fee payment facility to students?
Yes, we have accepted online payments for many years now.
- Please share some of your insights & learnings from the lockdown.
The first few days of a lockdown may seem enjoyable, but as days go by, many people will feel different degrees of anxiety, restlessness and despair. At first, we may enjoy doing things we didn’t have time for – cooking a meal, more time with the kids, watching movies and reading books. On the flip side, we might question the need for a lockdown and start to feel a void for not being able to go to work, meet friends, and go to the gym. This can cause a sense of restlessness. These reactions are a normal process of adjusting to a drastic change, and can be expected as we continue to adjust to various scenarios around the lockdown. During this initial phase, the momentum of activities keeps going strong every day. Have a structure in place.
Chandan Bagwe, is the Founder and Managing Director of C Com Digital, founded the company two decades ago in 1998. This can be attributed to consistent and immaculate services in online development and marketing along with recruitment of an experienced and specialized team under his stewardship. Chandan has established the company as the leading techno digital marketing agency in India essentially focusing on the digital publicity of brands by integrating Content Curation & Creation, influencer marketing, digital public relations and distribution of varied content. The company has worked with leading brands such as Times Now, Edelweiss, Tata Interactive Systems, Tata ClassEdge, Asian Heart Institute, Anunta Technology Management Services Pvt. Ltd, Blue Cross Laboratories Pvt. Ltd, We School, Outlook Publishing, Southern Health Foods Pvt. Ltd (Manna), Ram Ratna Group, and Globus to name a few.