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Cutting-edge tech for media training

KG Suresh, Director General, Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) on how his instititution is setting global standards for media education, research and training, using technology, with focus on verification and fact-checking

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Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) has been one of the country’s premier media education institution since last five decades. Headquartered in New Delhi, IIMC has five regional centres – at Aizawl (Mizoram), Amravati (Maharashtra), Dhenkanal (Odisha), Jammu (J&K) and Kottayam (Kerala). The institution has a Wi-Fi enabled campus and state-of-the-art technology for its computer labs, radio and TV department and Digital Media lab. “In addition to this, we have our own community radio station-Apna Radio which is in the process of being upgraded into a state-of-the-art model community radio station,” says KG Suresh, Director General, IIMC. To streamline all the administrative work, an E- office is in the pipeline.

IIMC is in the process of having its own online teaching platform where niche programmes will be offered. “We are planning to convert all classrooms into smart classrooms. We are in process of setting up a New Media Lab which will house latest technologies which are being used in the field of communication,” states Suresh, adding that the institution is in the process of setting up a state-of-the-art National Centre for Excellence in Animation, Visual Effects, Gaming & Comics in Mumbai. “The idea is to produce specialists to cater to the growing demand of the industry,” mentions Suresh, adding that he believes that technology that will make a significant impact in the education industry is that creating an immersive learning environment, educational games, Massive Open Online Courses and the digital tools that makes teaching learning process more engaging and interactive.

The tech implementations at IIMC enable students to work on online projects which are collaborative in nature. “Students are introduced to Learning Management Systems like Moodle and edmodo. Online classrooms are also created so that there is a continuous interaction amongst students and faculty. Student blogs, social media handles, Lab Journals using latest softwares, mobile journalism, data analytics are in place. We also organise special sessions on drone journalism, robotic processes, artificial intelligence and mobile journalism for the benefit of our students,” states Suresh. This apart, the community radio station provides platform to the students to create and disseminate socially relevant messages. IIMC also conducts sessions on robotics which are based on augmented realty and virtual reality.

Suresh is particular proud of the Digital Literacy and Factchecking and Verification Project initiated by the Department of New Media. He shares the reason why, “Apart from the focus on training media students, we are planning to reach out to the community to create awareness on fake news. We recently conducted a workshop on digital media for the differently abled in collaboration with Facebook to enable them to harness the power of social media to highlight their aspirations and grievances. Many of our faculty members are Google trained.” IIMC is among the first institutions in the country to be a part of the Google News Lab project.

Our students will be the truth warriors and they will be conducting training for the various groups. We will also be utilising services of our community radio station to create awareness on the same,” asserts Suresh.

The institution conducts training for Indian Information Service Officer Trainees, who will be the future Information Officers of the Government. “We are also training senior officers of the armed forces as also mid-career journalists from developing countries,” informs Suresh.

IMMC recently collaborated with AYUSH for a workshop to help their Research scholars reach out to disseminate information pertaining to alternative medicine to a wider audience. The institution is also offering an online course on Health Communication in collaboration with UNICEF, Oxford and Thompson Reuters for journalists, which focuses on evidence based reporting.

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