Day one of ‘new normal’ evokes mixed response among freshers

A meeting with teachers on videoconferencing platforms and introductory sessions on the college and the academic courses aired through YouTube marked the inaugural day of the first semester undergraduate courses at affiliated colleges of Mahatma Gandhi University (MGU) on Thursday.

The ‘new normal’ came as a surprise to both the aspirants and their parents, as they walked in digitally into their colleges amid the pandemic crisis. The managements gave an overall view of the colleges and facilities to the students. Principals pointed out that it was a new experience deviating from the traditional buzz around the first day of the new batch of undergraduate students. “The first day was mainly planned as an induction programme, where representatives of managements and senior faculty members shared their experience and provided insights into the various academic and infrastructural facilities available on the campuses,” they said.

Senior teachers elaborated on grievance redressal forums and anti-harassment committees available at the institutions and requested the students to utilise the ongoing online sessions as an opportunity to get familiarised with a new mode of learning. Teachers from various departments held separate online meetings after the common induction programme with their students. “We had asked parents to join the videoconferencing platforms, so that they would get a fair idea about the courses as well as the challenges and opportunities,” they said.

Meanwhile, the freshers said they enjoyed the first day of online classes even though they missed the excitement of being on the campus. “It may take us a while to get used to the new situation. I hope the teachers will give us a chance to meet my classmates and interact with them over a video session soon,” said Irene George, an undergraduate student of English.

The youngsters were concerned about the lack of mobile and Internet connectivity hampering their efforts to get uninterrupted access to online sessions. Teachers said they would be taking stock of the online learning gadgets and facilities available for each student in the coming days. “We will try to support those who lack even the basic systems to access online modules,” they added.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 3:35:45 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/day-one-of-new-normal-evokes-mixed-response-among-freshers/article32923504.ece

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