Digital technology enhancing educational experiences at Manipal Academy of Higher Education
Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) has been at the forefront of digital enablement in the education sector. Dr H Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, MAHE speaks how digital initiatives at MAHE keep pace with changing technologies, thereby providing the students the best of educational experiences
Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) has been the forerunner in implementing digital solutions in various facets of education and healthcare services. Dr H Vinod Bhat, Vice Chancellor, Manipal Academy of Higher Education (MAHE) acknowledges with regards to IT, MAHE has been very quick in realising the potential benefits of digital technology as a big enabler in the effective delivery of higher education. According to Dr Bhat, MAHE has innovatively used digital technology with following objectives
- Facilitate the discovery, preservation and sharing of knowledge though digitalisation;
- Extend the reach and effectiveness of scholarly communications;
- Enhance teaching and research through effective use of digital technologies and data;
- Empower staff and students through the provision of digital skills training;
- Develop outreach, online learning, educational resources and student support;
- Sharing and implementation of best practice through the creation of a university-wide dialogue on digital innovation.
Digitalisation in the following processes have been implemented based on the above objectives:
Lecture Capture Solution: This is a comprehensive e-learning solution that brings about a paradigm shift in the education delivery mechanism. The core feature of the solution is automatic recording and distribution of classroom lectures. “The access to recorded lectures and other study material through Lecture Capture Solution provides students the ability to virtually re-live their classroom experience on anytime anywhere basis. It also assists the teacher in self- improvement. Lecture Capture Solution has a range of useful tools and applications which makes the learning experience more engaging and interactive for students,” says Dr Bhat adding that the solution also includes the new-age Learning Management System (LMS) and supports all the major platforms and devices. It is available in offline mode (through campus intranet) as well as online mode (cloud based) and has robust live streaming functionalities. It has many benefits for both students and the faculty and equips the university with a very effective and multi-purpose technology platform.
Virtual Class Room (VCR) solution: This connects MAHE Manipal with its offshore campus at Dubai and Manipal Group Universities at Jaipur and Sikkim and enable the face to face interaction of students and faculty in real time through online live classes between these campuses. Also, these lives classes are archived in a repository for future use by the students and faculty anytime on demand.
Robotics Lab: The robotics lab in the Department of Mechatronics Engineering is equipped with the state of the art 6 axis ABB1 robot along with advanced add-on like conveyor tracking, image processing, Automatic tool exchanger, and Robot studio software for simulating the entire robot cell.
e-Learning: Online education is an integral part of MAHE’s unique learning experience. “Students can learn at their own pace, in a manner that suits their style of learning. The courses provide one with lively and interactive, multi-sensory learning, combining the simplicity of classroom teaching with a powerful visual medium that captures one’s imagination. This is a whole new realm of educational experience. The content for e-Learning is provided by the faculty of MAHE . Hence the experience is like learning in a virtual classroom,” states Dr Bhat. e-Learning is a web application that the students can access across the campus.
ePad examination: Use of ePad (electronic writing pad) in examination was introduced in MAHE in 2015. Fingerprint scanner and camera allows student identification and monitoring during the exam, while automated secure upload of encrypted digital answer booklets to “epCloud” is done after completion of exams. Online evaluation of answer scripts, by faculty, on their PCs takes place on the “epCloud”, with automated totaling and tabulation of scores.
Some of the other key implementations include Online Screen Marking (introduced in 2014); online attendance/student feedback; Student Information System(SIS); student computing; faculty computing; MOOCs in association with Coursera; Student Life Cycle Management System; Library Management System; digital based Medical Simulation Center (learning closest to realistic clinical experience). “The Medical Simulation Centre is unique in that it provides learning by close to realistic clinical experience. As theoretical knowledge is immediately supplemented by practice, the learning experience is more likely to be complete. Management of simulated real life scenarios will also improve the confidence level of the students when they are called upon to manage real patients later in their career,” says Dr Bhat, informing that students of all constituent colleges under the university including Medical, Dental, Nursing and Allied Health colleges are trained at the Centre. The Medical Simulation Centre is the first of its kind in a private Indian University.
Research Management System
Research Data Management System is an in-house database software developed to deposit faculty publications and grant details using their Manipal Official IDs. Dr Bhat explains that faculty can upload their publications and applied grant details in the Research Data Management System. Option to search researcher details (for writing research grants and internal collaboration) using different options is available. The university has procured research software applications such as Sci Val (offering quick, easy access to research performance of more than 11,000 research institutions from 230 nations); Pure (a Research Intelligence Solution).
“The Manipal – Schrödinger Centre for Molecular Simulations is the first-of-its-kind pact where Schrodinger will provide guidance and training to the scientists of MAHE towards becoming a pioneer in the field of molecular simulations. MAHE has subscribed Schrodinger package in total, being unique amongst the universities in the country,” he says.
State-of-the-art data centre
MAHE has setup a state-of-the-art physical infrastructure for the data centre that meets the requirements of industry standard. “This Tier II (N+1) DC, spread over 3000 sq.ft, houses the server park and also the Network Operation Center ( NOC ), hosting enterprise applications, e-Learning portal, websites and host of other services,” states Dr Bhat, also reminding that Manipal has established a very strong and reliable VPN infrastructure connecting all Manipal Group of institutions in India and abroad with high-performance MPLS (Multi Protocol Label Switching) backbone – committed step to move towards “Digital University”.
The other important implementations include Online Degree Certificate Verification System (ODVC); Finance Management System; Event Management System; Wireless Campus; Quality Initiative Documentation and online audit software; Alumni Centre Portal and managing placements.
MAHE Admissions Office has been using the latest technology to the fullest extent possible ways in all the stages of its process. Online Entrance Test; Online Test Booking System; Admissions & Student Information System Software; Online Counselling System; and Customer Relation Management Software; are some of the key highlights.
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