Other States

Online route for AMU teachers

In lockdown, professors go beyond their own classes

In the wake of the extended nationwide lockdown to curb the spread of COVID-19 outbreak, teachers at Aligarh Muslim University are exploring online methods of teaching.

Known to be a conservative space as far as the use of social media through the university server is concerned, the lockdown has come as an opportunity to the teachers to reach out to not only their students but also to those in other universities.

Asim Siddiqui, professor in English Department who conducts classes on Zoom, said it had been a rejuvenating experience for him. “I have discovered that in online classes students don’t get distracted and the teacher can maintain eye contact with most of them. It is not always possible in a physical class.”

Prof. Siddiqui keeps his classes open to students of other universities, something which is not possible with physical classes. “I also invite teachers of other universities to join the class to have a more comprehensive discussion. It has been one of the most satisfying experiences of my entire career.” He felt the mode was better suited to teachers who are good speakers and are ready to communicate with students. “Those who read out from notes would make the experience dreary.”

Ali Nadeem Rezavi, a professor in the Department of History, gives his lectures on medieval history on YouTube and keeps them open to students of different universities. His series of lectures on religion and medieval rulers has generated a lot of interest.

“On an average, 150 students turn up to listen to these lectures and many respond later with questions,” he said. Prof. Rezavi also has a Facebook page called ‘The History Learner’ where he and other scholars upload teaching and archive material for students.

Recently, AMU Vice-Chancellor Professor Tariq Mansoor said that the university was exploring various other modes of conducting examinations, including online tests, if possible, particularly for final-year students. Prof. Rezavi said it looked good on paper but it was essentially an “elitist approach”.

“Many of our students have only 2G and 3G phones. It is not just true for AMU, 80% of Indian universities will struggle to implement this idea.”

For students, it has been a difficult session as they lost at least two months to anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act protests. A student of engineering faculty said, “The exam of one of our papers of the fifth semester, which was supposed to finish in December 2019, is pending. Only two of our 12 teachers are well-versed with online classes. For the rest, the idea of online teaching is sharing PDF notes on Whatsapp and ask students to send their doubts.”

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Printable version | Jul 8, 2020 6:28:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/online-route-for-amu-teachers/article31360607.ece

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