How ERP manages entire student lifecycle at IIM Udaipur
At IIM Udaipur, one of the leading B-schools in India, the faculty is creating an online system which is as close to the classroom experience as possible and learning is uninterrupted due to Covid-19 crisis, says Prof Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur
Established in 2011 in one of the most picturesque cities in the country, IIM Udaipur (IIMU) has set high academic benchmarks, and technology has been one of the key tools in enabling this. “Technology and education go hand in hand in the world that we are currently living in. Tech implementations essentially allow collaborations with students, faculty members or industry professionals who are not physically present in the same space. Students can do group projects easily and can also receive mentorship and guidance from the trainers. These implementations provide significant opportunities for such collaborations and interactions outside India,” says Prof Janat Shah, Director, IIM Udaipur.
Among the innovative projects, IIM Udaipur has adopted different lines of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software – to maximise students’ engagement and improve the functionality of services. Prof Shah informs that the entire student lifecycle, from admission to graduation for each student at IIMU, is being managed through ERP. “It is helping in programs and administration processes like course registrations; course bidding; grading; feedback; attendance management; fee accounting; preparation of transcripts and certificates; and inbound and outbound functions for the student exchange program. We have also been able to manage the alumni network through ERP partly,” he adds.
The benefits of ERP systems, he reminds, will be realised over a period of time as data recorded now will help the institute management make better decisions for IIMU in the future.
Sharing his views on how higher education institutions can leverage technology for dealing with an unprecedented situation as a result of the Covid-19 crisis, Prof Shah states, “As the world is struggling due to Covid-19 outbreak, technology is the obvious option in this crisis to cope with its repercussions. Traditionally, higher education institutions in India are used to physical classrooms; however, institutions now should leverage technology to continue to support students by providing classes online and assistance during their internships. Relying on e-resources (online library) can be another practical tool in these times.”
At the institution, the first priority has been to ensure the safety and well-being of the IIMU community. Prof Shah points out that at the same time, they are preparing themselves to quickly adapt to move their classes online for the required programs to ensure that the students can continue with their learning uninterrupted. “Our faculty members are in tune with the need of the hour. They are prompt in getting ready to create a system which is as close to the classroom experience as possible. Additionally, the IIMU library is at the fingertips of our students can be accessed as they require,” he mentions.
In the future, IIM Udaipur will continue to implement ERP and utilise it to integrate the functions of all departments. Prof Shah reveals that in the next few years, they aim to streamline various institutional functions and provide one reliable source of data for the institute management. “In addition, we will also integrate the component of online education in our existing programs,” he affirms.
According to Prof Shah with easy internet accessibility, online teaching platforms can make a significant difference in the education sector in the future. “And, any form of online collaboration platform which allows seamless integration between online and offline activities could transform access to learning for many students. Additionally, I would say, analytics and artificial intelligence are two other areas one should watch out for,” he says.
The Covid-19 outbreak has curtailed the majority of regular activities that are traditionally conducted by educational institutions, and students cannot be physically present on the campuses. However, Prof Shah believes that as institutes rely on technology in this time of crisis, it is important to also look at the opportunity this situation is presenting, “We should not just use technology with a problem-solving approach, but we should see how we can leverage technology to optimise learning. Tools like tracking and analytics can be used to improve the quality of learning for our students significantly.”
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