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UPSC IAS Online Classes – Is online coaching the right way to prepare for CSE 2021?

Aspirants preparing for UPSC Civil Services Exam have been dependant on coaching institutions and are accustomed to physical classroom format of coaching. However, with the COVID Pandemic related lockdown restrictions imposed by the government for educational institutions, conduct of classroom coaching is not feasible in the near future.

As and when lock down restrictions get eased for educational institutions, in all likelihood it will be with many caveats of social distancing which will have to be ensured by the institutes. In that case, it will be unviable for a large majority of CSE 2021 aspirants to afford quality guidance/coaching in traditional classroom format.

To provide an alternate solution to face-to-face classroom coaching, Rau’s IAS Study Circle has started INTERACTIVE-ONLINE coaching. Rau’s IAS Study Circle is the oldest Civil Services coaching institute in India and has created a formidable legacy with its consistently outstanding results over the years

Let us understand the efficacy of online coaching in IAS exam from Mr Abhishek Gupta, CEO of Rau’s IAS Study Circle.

Rau’s IAS Study Circle pioneered classroom coaching for UPSC Civil Services Exam way back in 1953. Post COVID pandemic, Study Circle has started online courses. Tell us something about institute’s evolution from purely offline to an offline + online IAS coaching institute.

Rau’s IAS Study Circle was founded by Dr S.Rau in 1953 when a group of students approached him to teach Political Science. The Study Circle today has evolved into a large and unique team of scholars and academicians who teach and provide a conducive atmosphere for learning and development of students.

We are proud of our guiding principles, which enable students to understand the basics and encourage them to question the facts/theories rather than just accepting them.

Our focus on application of knowledge and writing skills lend all our students the competitive edge required to clear the Civil Services Exam. We give our students a framework for preparation, a clear direction and exact resources to follow. We stay with all our students as Mentors to solve their doubts – in and outside of the class.

Our effort is not only to teach, but also to reassure them of our unwavering support and dedicated mentorship during their journey to LBSNAA.

Today, the Study Circle is known for being the most specialized institution of its type in the country, with the rare and gratifying distinction of having 1/3rd of Civil Servants in the country who have passed through its portals.

Through this journey of almost seven decades, the Study Circle has been at the cutting edge of teaching and development. In the pursuit of same goals, we have recently launched our GSI Hybrid/Online course. In this course the teaching is conducted via interactive-online lectures which are live streamed. We have unique online learning platform called elearn.rauias.com through which students access these live lectures.

What are the benefits/advantages of this Interactive-Online course? Who will it help?

For traditional classroom coaching, students have to travel to campus, but with the online coaching, guidance is available within the safe confines of their homes. This aspect of safety has become very important now more than ever before. COVID has changed our way of life.

Please understand, that the learning needs of all UPSC aspirants are the same whereas they come from different background and therefore their approach to studies is different.

• Some aspirants may have to balance work, college education and family life which may make juggling between that and time bound physical classes, difficult.

• Some may be residing in far flung areas, and commuting to campus to attend physical classes six times a week, impractical.

• Another issue may be that for some, learning outcomes may be thwarted by societal distractions and they’d like to study via an alternate medium to stay focused.

• Some may have a unique learning style and pace.

Rau’s IAS GSI Hybrid/Online course provides a unique avenue for students to juggle the demands of their daily lives on their scarce time and other resources, while still being able to prepare for IAS exam and excel in achieving their goals.

Generally speaking, working professionals, parents, international students, students with disabilities and students located in far flung areas can benefit the most from the Hybrid/Online course.

Also, during these pandemic conditions, all students who wish to socially distance themselves and study from the safety of their home, can also take advantage of our hybrid course.

The flexibility we are providing specially for this year is that students can Switch from Hybrid (Online) to On-campus (Offline) course after the lockdown!

Rau’s GSI Hybrid course is a cost-effective solution that addresses the needs of all UPSC aspirants.

In what ways is this GSI Hybrid/Online course different from the face-to-face offline course? How have you harnessed the technology to conduct this online course?

Actually there is no difference between our online course and conventional offline course except that the mode of delivery of lecture has changed from a physical one to the an online one. In this online course, students can interact with the instructor in exactly the same way as he would have done in a normal offline class. In fact, I would say that online teaching has an added advantage. And that is, availability of all live lectures subsequently as recorded lectures. So

a student has the facility to watch these lectures as many times as he wants. This is method of reinforced learning.

Coming to second part of your question, technology has certainly enhanced many aspects of our teaching methodology:

• Greater Accessibility: Our Online-Interactive classes are now available from everywhere at the click of a button. Aspirants can get quality guidance without traveling to our campus or worrying about social distancing restrictions. Technology has greatly expanded access to education.

• Increased Flexibility: Technology has freed students from having to attend coaching at specified times, something that is often impossible due to work or family responsibilities. Video back-up of our Online-interactive classes makes it easy for students to catch-up on lectures if they have missed them. Study material is available online and students have the freedom to study and complete class assignments whenever their schedule permits. As long as they complete work by the assigned deadline, it’s up to them to plan how to use their time.

• Increased Interactions between Teachers and Students: Class time is no longer students’ only opportunity to ask their teachers questions and request information. Instead, they can take advantage of class forums to ask their teachers questions anytime, rather than having to wait for the next class, when the question is no longer fresh in their mind. Students can also engage in group discussions and share what they are learning with each other.

Technology provides numerous tools that teachers can use to enhance student learning. But, technology by itself cannot produce any benefit to either the instructor or student. We have to integrate technology into instruction.

Education requires “high-quality guidance” from instructors. Technology is ‘‘just’’ a medium. High quality guidance can be delivered effectively by instructors using technology to enhance student learning outcomes through active student engagement, collaborative learning and frequent feedback to evaluate teaching absorption.

Online teaching requires different techniques and tools. Without the physical connect, teachers will have to be clearer about setting expectation for virtual participation as well as adept with skills needed to deliver class digitally.

We have trained our teachers to use instructional technology to teach and resolve doubts. They use real-time assessments and its analysis to get relevant information to assess students' knowledge and skill level.

We have integrated technology in our instruction and curriculum. Our online classes make students feel like they are in the classroom.

What would be your advice to aspirants preparing for CSE 2021?

We all know that time is at a premium. It will not be pragmatic to wait for normalcy to restore and then start preparing for CSE 2021. There are so many imponderables at this juncture. No one knows when the lock down will be removed. If removed, what all restrictions will be imposed to maintain the social distancing norms. Institutes will have to adhere to the norms and it will certainly have an impact on the availability of vacancies in courses. This in turn will have an escalatory effect on the tuition fees. Keeping this in view, it will be realistic to consider the option of adopting to online IAS mode of learning.

Also, don’t let this negative cycle of lockdown affect you. Lockdown also means no distractions, so, use this time to your advantage.

Online coaching is the way forward as it offers flexibility and convenience amongst host of other benefits. And, with Rau’s IAS there is assurance of excellent quality of instruction.

To learn more about GSI Hybrid (Online) Program, click here http://bit.ly/IAS2020-21


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Printable version | Sep 23, 2021 2:44:13 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/brandhub/upsc-ias-online-classes-is-online-coaching-the-right-way-to-prepare-for-cse-2021/article32088458.ece

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