Education

Hubs for creativity

There is a need to set up digital scholastic centres in our universities and colleges to enhance the teaching-learning experience

Digital Scholastic Centre or DISCO, is a new approach embarked by overseas institutions, to provide the right ambience for the faculty and students, to make best use of their facilities and amenities in the centre, to hone one’s interests in academics, including learning, teaching and research.

The teaching-learning process has witnessed a remarkable evolution across the decades, from the traditional board-and-chalk method, to the use of digital and electronic gadgets, as well as services available through web-based sources. The use of such gadgets, today, makes the academic experience more enjoyable and long-lasting, for teachers and students. In the course of this evolution, classrooms have transformed from what it was then, to the rigorous use of overhead projector, epidiascope, slide projector, power point presentations, smart classrooms, Wi-Fi facilities, and so on.

Today, it is insisted that classroom teaching should be through intense use of digital technology, for which computer knowledge and its related operations is imminent. Even today’s smartphones are geared towards handling such tasks, which makes digital operations more user-friendly.

While there is a phenomenal change in the use of modern technology, through the application of electronic and digital tools by the teaching faculty in India, there is much scope for effective use of those devices in almost all fields of study.

Innovation

Digital scholarship centres abroad, bring to their library, expertise in publishing, digitisation of documents, research metrics, data management, e-learning and open education resources. Thus, it is an uncompromising fact that libraries, in educational institutions, should be the home for hosting such facilities on campuses, which are necessary, in most of institutions, in India. Such centres must always be given due recognition, as they are hubs for creativity and innovation. Study carrels, preparation, AV, and discussion rooms, for projecting digital movies, documentaries, and reprographic facilities, are some essentials needed in today’s libraries.

In making education interesting, libraries abroad have catchy ways to capture and retain the interest of students and faculty through not only the amenities they have created, but also in arranging them in a lucid way and using appropriate titles for different sections. In one of the places of interest in South Korea, I found the use of an important centre as ‘history’ and ‘heritage’, with a stress on his and her, in the nomenclature, thus making it attractive to everyone, especially visitors.

Digital scholastic centres ought to be “all under one roof” with necessary equipment and gadgets knitted together — from the colouring and painting material to electronic gadgets — so that those concerned will be able to shape the innovation at one place, thus minimising moving from one place to another and loss of interest, eventually. I found this to be the secret of the academic community abroad, as, those concerned, thronged towards the scholastic centre where they stayed for long hours to complete the varied tasks set before them. Adequately trained faculty, on the areas specified above, are a prerequisite to meet the need.

Such centres facilitate student-faculty consultations, collaborative research in digital arts and science, while serving as incubation centres for startups and path-breaking research avenues. Thus, they must receive due attention in Indian universities and colleges, as it will provide avenues towards excellence and relevance in higher education.

The writer is Principal and Secretary, Madras Christian College, Chennai.

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Printable version | Feb 17, 2020 5:42:09 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/education/hubs-for-creativity/article27398774.ece

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