Technology is certainly going to change the way educational institutions and universities are operating. The COVID19 pandemic has highly affected the whole educational conduct and academic routine.
The educational sector is prominently making an effort to identify the new and innovative ways where the education delivery can proceed using the Live Classes and Online Exams with the help of technologies like remote proctoring.
In the coming days, the educational sector as well as the government is all set to invest a considerable budget on technical aspects. This technological intervention is certainly going to change the way educational institutes and universities are operating.
The students as well as parents are going to prefer the technical way of learning, in the coming time. Studying from the safety of home is becoming feasible for the students as they do not need to travel from home to the schools or institutes anymore.
The educational institutes are also appreciating the live classrooms as the relevant adaptability is a simple process to follow.
As the students and educationist seem to be all caught up with the new techniques of learning, the number of enrolments for live classes is increasing day by day. When it’s about managing the examination process, the institutes are confidently seen adopting the proctored exam solutions to secure the whole exam conduction.
Online Webinars, Video Conferences for discussions and Online Streaming is silently replacing the traditional classroom sessions, office meetings and informal in person discussions.
Eventually, the reliance on the technology is increasing rapidly.
A considerable amount of educational units are planning to offer the Online Courses for the curriculum they used to teach, traditionally.
This technological adoption can reduce a lot of time and travel from the day to day lives of students as well as teachers.
Just imagine, if a reputed educational institute from the U.S, Europe or Asia starts offering it’s MBA program through an online channel, students from all over the world can enroll for the same and earn degrees from the renowned universities. As a student, one can be situated in any corner of the globe and could gain the access to the Live Classes going on and could appear for the Online Exams in a proctored environment.
As no infrastructure and transportation is involved, we can also expect a drop in the course fee structure.
This a clear sign that technology adoption is most likely to increase in the coming days and the market associated with the education technology is going to touch the skies.
Imagine, a reputed institute is offering a 2 years full time MBA program for 50000 US dollars. Consider, if the same institute decides to scale the similar program over an online curriculum how much would be the cost for the same?
Precisely, the cost for the same program would drop to one third or one-fourth of the full time management course. Well, to be specific about the other activities which involve interactions or discussions could be supported with video conferencing applications such as Zoom or Google Hangouts.
This simple technological adoption could pump up the quality education beyond the bounds. Aspirants from all the corners of the globe can gain the right knowledge by attending the live lectures from the reputed institutes of their choice.
In the coming era, the education sector is likely to get disrupted because of technological adoption. The social distancing norms present in today’s world are forcing the educational institutes to adopt technology in a very quick time.
The institutes who adopt the technology in the apt manner and quick time would experience a win-win situation and would certainly scale all the educational programs in a progressive way further.
Adopting the technology at a faster pace than your competitors is the only way to scale the growth of your educational institute or university in the coming days. This is a shear change that would project you as a tech savvy university amidst the new age students.
Another important aspect associated with technology adoption would be partnering with IT companies who are developing innovative Technologies so that those education institute or universities who are able to do the partnership in terms of revenue sharing, profit-sharing model where they can enroll students for their online courses.
If you are having a management Institution and if you are running courses related to say entrepreneurship then it is recommended to have some of the entrepreneurs as a visiting-faculty who will be running the classes and conducting online classes for the students. It would help students to learn directly from the best and suitable person.
Or, imagine if you are running mechanical engineering courses, then it is recommended to have a tie-up with a small and medium scale organization/enterprise or a manufacturing organization where the professionals working in the corporate sector can become the visiting faculties.
Learning directly from the professionals and brining in the practical experience can surely enhance the quality of education for the students. Having the corporate professionals as visiting faculties would add a great value to the online learning model.
When working professionals are approached as visiting faculties, they have a lot of things to bring on the table such as, the knowledge of how technology or machines actually function, practical risk factors to be considered, risk management skills and much more.
They can share their experience with the students which will definitely help to improve the overall industry interface of the education Institution and corporate sector. On top of all, we can surely get to have an improved employability with such initiatives.
The biggest change that could help cut down the educational cost it elimination of the infrastructural costs.
An education institute has to have a huge and top-notch infrastructure to accommodate number of students. Apart from that, a huge amount goes in for the overall maintenance, examination and other processes.
With the efficient use of technology, Institutes can run their live classes, and choose to conduct the examination process online using secured technologies like remote proctoring.
The bottom line is that there would be no need to invest humongous amount of money on the infrastructure and facilities as long as Online Learning and Online Exam could do the job.
The only infrastructure that would seek investment can be the laboratories and technical laboratories. An educational institute can invest in bringing the advanced technology on board to educate their students instead of investing much on the amenities and facilities.
The students can always visit the institution in case of practical sessions or any queries resolving session which need in person interaction. Remaining things can easily be shifted to the digital mode.
Yes, practical sessions are an integral part of courses like engineering and medical. Well, those students can be requested to visit the institute laboratory on specific days and batch wise arrangements. For the learning and query resolving sessions, technologies like Live Classes and Live Chatrooms can be used effectively.
Education Institutions that are techno-savvy or those with the tie-up with technology-oriented companies will be able to save a lot of costs associated with their infrastructure management, in the coming time.
Some Limitation of Live Classes
Everything has a limit, so does technology!
An essentially important aspect which would be missed very much with the technology adoption could be the experience of working at the physical campus.
When we refer to a class, there are student who gather together, they discuss, they ideate, they share and they grow altogether.
There are various activities that demand group work or team work. Group assignments are an irreplaceable part of college life, be it a classroom activity or an outdoor sport activity.
When students interact with the other members of the class, it involves activities such as debate, discussions, etc. It teaches them important life skills related to communication, people management, working in a team, understanding team dynamics, etc.
Such group activities which make college life lively would be missing if classes get shifted to the online mode.
Not a prominent but a helpful solution already exists in the technological space for the group activities like discussions and debates. You can always initiate and organize a live debate, live group discussions over a zoom call.
It might not provide the heated aura for the debate but surely offers a mid-way solution to inspire the team work and collaborative activities.
AI-Driven Proctored Exams
With the help of Artificial intelligence-driven proctoring technology, you can conduct Objective/Subjective Online Exams for candidates sitting at any remote location.
Candidate situated at any location may be at the office or home; the system keeps track of activities of the candidate using audio proctoring, video streaming, and screen recording activities.
Remote proctoring helps you to detect cheating during the online examination process or it can also help you to prevent malpractices associated with online exams.
Right now, due to the COVID19 pandemic we are enforced to follow the social distancing norms. Due to this, a lot of educational institutes as well as universities have adopted AI-driven proctored examination process and started conducting their academic exams in a secure manner with the help this amazing technology.
A remote proctor is a person who is able to monitor online exams by viewing entire activities of the user.
The system also generates various reports for various audit events where if any particular user is uses a mobile phone or electronic gadgets while appearing for the Online Exam, then all those activities get flagged in the system. It gets recorded as a malpractice event and the proctor hold the right to report the candidate.
A secure browser is another kind of technology that prevents the user from opening an alternate browsing window during an online examination process. Secure browser is an apt solution for the institutes and universities that are scared of malpractices that could take place while conducting an Online Exam. Secure browser would not let the candidate attempt to open anything on the computer machine that he/she is using while appearing for the Online Exam.
In the traditional scenario, if you wish to conduct exams for your institute or university then you would need to typically book exam centres across multiple cities, invite candidate at specific exam location, call in an invigilator who need to visit that exam location to supervise those exams, and much more.
There is a huge logistical and physical intervention involved right from distributing the questions papers and collecting them back and storing them at a place.
Post exam conduction, the answer-sheet evaluation activity begins which would again demand a lot of paper-handling and logistics.
Why get into all this when we can do it digitally with the help of AI-based technology?
Yes, now it is possible to conduct online subjective exams and post exam conduction the examiner can evaluate answers sitting at their home using electronic devices like laptops or tablets.
So it becomes very easy to manage the whole examination process, right from exam conduction to answer-sheet evaluation.
The cost associated with the exam management activity also gets reduced drastically and you can easily conduct multi-city, multi-location or even multiple country-based exams effectively with the help of remote proctoring technology.
Investment in Classroom Infrastructure and Solutions
Moving forward, education institutes or universities need to invest in the infrastructure required to manage and conduct live classroom sessions.
They need to equip the campuses with all the digital equipment required to conduct and execute the live classes.
In addition to the infrastructure, education institutes should also invest in to the training and grooming of professors and teachers who are going to conduct the Online Lectures.
It doesn’t seem much difficult but it is a bit different than that of the traditional practice and does need professional help to meet the desired level of excellence.
Not only professors but also the visiting faculties and guest lecturers are supposed to get some guidance on how to manage an Online Classroom effectively.
Tech Companies would be entering the Education Sector
In the current environment, tech companies like Google, Microsoft or other tech-giants are preparing to enter the education sector and with the predominant influence they stand a fair chance of manipulating the education space as well.
As an educational institute, if you wish to cope up with this change then it’s the right time to be the part of the change and start building a digital image for your educational institute or university, in the digital space.
It won’t be surprising if the tech-giants like Google and Microsoft are launching the curriculum online and certifying the candidates post completion of the course, online.
If these companies walked into the educational space and start shooting their weapons, it wouldn’t be long when a lot of educational institutes would have to close down, due to lack of admissions.
Be it Microsoft or Google, they have got a proven name in the business so they don’t need to advertise for something that they come with. It’s like they would launch the program and the next day they will have to put up a banner “Houseful”.
The time has not gone that far yet; start building a replica for your business into the digital space to survive the battle!
Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) based Education
The most fascinating technologies of today, Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR) can create an illusionary aura where you would see the objects floating right in front of your eyes in 3D format.
You might have watched some of the movies where you need to wear special glasses which we call VR glasses, in order to experience the 3-Dimensional experience.
Have you ever thought, what wonders could this technology do if used in the education sector?
Sectors like medical, automobile and mechanical can benefit a lot from these technologies. Students can actually get the feel and real life experience to go through each and every tiny detail of human body as well as machine.
VR and AR can bring the practical aspect of education in front of you. There would be no need to have labs or infrastructure, Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality could really get the world rolling at the tips of your fingers.
Institutes are identifying new ways of evaluation
Education institutes are using viva or oral assessments to ealuate student performance. Technology is getting adopted to conduct large scale remote viva exams.
Technology is provides means to conduct remote viva exam and record all answers provided by the student for future evaluation reference.
Conducting remote viva for large scale users is possible with the help of online viva conducting feature of Eklavvya
So to summarize, things which are happening due to social distancing and online education trends would impact the long term and short term future of the education for higher education courses.
Technologies like live classes, online exams would change the education sector to a great extent.
Technologies like AI-driven proctoring and facial recognition are likely to replace traditional activities that are involved in the education sector related to exam management and administration.
Live classrooms are certainly going to stay here and it is going to be the norm for various educational courses.
The educational institutions need to adopt the technology to cope up with the rapidly changing education scenarios. If the institutions fail to do so, the time to get outplayed by the tech-giants like Microsoft and Google wouldn’t be too far.
Ultimately technology adoption is going to be the future for the educational institutes.
About the Author
Swapnil has more than 15 years of experience in the Information Technology sector. He has been working on digital platforms in the education sector. Swapnil is an avid reader and writes articles on technology and leading developments in the education and IT sectors. Swapnil has active podcast about Education Technology which has various discussions about trends in education technology adoption.
Swapnil is the founder of Splashgain, an Education Technology company from India working on various innovative EdTech platforms for examinations, proctoring solutions, digital admission process and more.