The new norm has opened the doors to global education opportunities. More students and faculty can be reached out to than ever before. Teachers can now take sessions for their students from anywhere in the world. Resources from all over the world are now right in front of our devices. The new norm has opened up the doors for global connections and accessible education. Teachers have now equipped themselves with technology and are working towards making education better despite the situation. With the blend of home environment and work, everyone is working at a pace and place that is comfortable for them, which has notably increased productivity. “Despite the situation, the need to educate better has become an unflinching goal for us. Our faculty, management, non-teaching staff, students and their parents have come together and emerged stronger during the pandemic”, says AR R Raammnath, Chairman, DOT School of Design.
Keeping the safety of the students a priority, DOT School of Design announced online classes and ensured a safe transportation of their hostel students to their homes before the lockdown started, being quick in acting to ensure all the students were safe in the comforts of their homes. The college was closed shortly afterward and hence began their tryst with Online classes and Different Mediums of education. Both the staff and the students were supportive of the change, which helped them adapt swiftly to the new norm of classrooms. “After the government relaxed the lockdown, we resumed offline classes with minimal students. Only Masters and B.Sc students were asked to resume sessions offline. The institute is sanitized every day. And social distancing and masks have become compulsory. Entry to our college was restricted and the temperatures of the guests were screened before entering”, points out Raammnath.
DOT School is now more prepared for such an emergency. They are expanding their technological infrastructure to support impactful online learning. Immediate assistance was extended to teachers and students to continue classes online. Research is going on for more virtual-friendly classrooms which are interactive, intuitive, and effective. “Along with the digital preparedness, we are also working towards expanding the physical workstations at the campus, ensuring socially distanced classes, immediate medical attention, and better interactive spaces where the students can collaborate while staying safe”, adds Raammnath.
Promoting Design Education
As the Design Sector started gaining more importance, designers were consigned with progressively complex and critical challenges. The growing voice from the industry about the lack of skill set in graduates and the lack of awareness about the importance of design when developing products led to the formation of dSchool in 2014. The institute provided a foundational design course for the design enthusiast. Around this time, a branch of this school, Vista Institute of Design was providing certificate programs for career-driven courses to bridge the gap in design education and industrial experience. “The updated syllabus was designed around real-life projects that provided their students with hands-on experience in the design industry. The syllabus and the curriculum of Vista institute of the design were University accredited for providing diplomas in disciplines such as Interior design, Fashion design, Textile design, Graphic design, and Illustration design”, adds Raammnath.
In 2020, dSchool and Vista Institute of Design came together and formed DOT School of Design intending to bridge the gap between industry requirements and academia. By channeling the voice of the industry through working professionals and designing a structured syllabus in an academic environment, DOT School of Design plays off the strengths of dSchool and Vista institute of design. The school now stands as a platform for students to explore their design interests in alignment with creating a solid career path in the design field. “We create design awareness among everyone and offer world-class design education to students passionate about design and bring our institute as one of the foremost multi-disciplinary institutes of Design Education and Research Field”, states Raammnath.
DOT School of Design is equipped with a state-of-the-art infrastructure designed to train and inspire students. Students are instructed in open classrooms, furnished with technologically rich resources that facilitate digital innovation and enhance the learning experience. Laboratories and research facilities are the backbones of hands-on design education and each department is uniquely furnished to serve their distinctness. They conduct a lot of activities, workshops, industry connections, collaborative activities, comprehensive jury panels, constant review, and many cultural and academic events which compound their passions. Along with these, the students are supported with all types of facilities and infrastructure which facilitates them to experiment and explore all mediums of design. “We are fully aware of the demands of an ever-evolving design field and are well prepared to adapt to those changes. On the whole, our infrastructure is meticulously assembled to provide students an environment that influences them to experiment on ideas, innovate on the design and ultimately advance their scholastic practices”, opines Raammnath.
Firmly believing in student exposure to the industry requirements and challenges as early as possible, DOT School of Design house Industry Connect Cell (INCO) and Incubation and Research Centre (IRC) in their campus as they feel it is important to have a strong presence in the industrial scene for mutual growth of both the industry and to improve the quality of graduating students. Exploring and facilitating the connection between Industry and Academia, DOT has established INCO to create design professionals who are industry-ready with technical skills and practical knowledge by advancing the quality of design education in India to international standards. Raammnath remarks, “Along with INCO, our IRC Cell helps new startups to develop by providing services like mentorship, management training, office space, and seed funding. Our goal is to provide a platform for innovation and incubation of ideas and concepts for the development of society through art, design, and technology”.
Creating an Environment of Growth for Students
The students of DOT have always been a surprise package, who have risen above expectations. Their passion and curiosity have also inspired us to keep improving ourselves to give them the best standard of design education possible. Their innovative project concepts and how they tackle the jury panels, the collaborations they are a part of, and the sheer growth they have shown over their terms have been inspiring and are things the institution is proud of and glad to be working along with these young minds and the next generation of innovators.
One of the best in design education in southern India, the open classrooms at DOT was intentionally set up to be changed according to the nature of the class or session. As the design is an open-ended course, it is reflected in the design of the classroom itself. Their collaborative open classroom atmosphere ensures that constructive feedback and creative discussions are a part of the sessions. This facilitates innovation and improves creativity. The vast interactive spaces within the campus allow the students to collaborate, create a safe space for the students to share their constructive criticism of each other’s works, and expand their knowledge. Good design comes from a lot of deliberation. The students are provided with ample opportunities to do so.
The faculties of DOT are extensively trained professionals who are very passionate about design and have never failed to inspire the students. Most of them are alumni from notable institutes such as NID, NIFT, NIT, etc. All of them are exceptional in their respective streams of expertise. DOT also has a rich source of academic advisors from the industry and many visiting faculties who bring in their unique teachings to the students.
The institutional gallery at DOT School of Design poses as a celebration of art amidst the design and creative community. The beautifully designed gallery is beneficial for both the art society and for common purposes. It can be used to showcase various types of art forms, from performance to fine and across genres and mediums, traditional to contemporary. DOT Gallery aims to create a platform for holistic knowledge sharing and a space for creative expression. The gallery aspires to blur the distinction between the art community and the common people and create an opportunity for the common people to get exposed to the art world and the beauty it possesses.
Aiming to spread design awareness among school students, DOT School of Design has started an outreach program, CLAP, to imbibe design thinking into education programs and ensure that the next generation of designers becomes better problem solvers and creative innovators. The program also finds scholarships for suitable candidates who want to pursue a career in Design or any creative field. “We are planning to create a design hub in the city and spread design awareness among school students, especially government school students. We also want to increase our global connections and make global standards of education accessible to our students. The aim is to increase the visibility of design and designers within the city, to make resources accessible to everyone and a hub for all the designers to network & grow as a community”, concludes Raammnath.
About AR R Raammnath, Chairman, DOT School of Design
DOT School of Design’s Chairman, AR R Raammnath, started his career as a practicing architect having an affinity towards conservation and preservation of geographically ethnic buildings. He has also been trained under Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH), Pondicherry, on several renovation and revitalization projects. Leadership has always been his strong forte as a Manager, Leader, and Executive in renowned architectural firms. He also found his passion for journalism and writing which led him to explore his line of work as sub-editor for ‘Buildersline’. He has always believed that ‘when provided with the right learning environment, any child or person is capable of excellence’. This drove him to craft a creative environment for the students to learn design. He started an educational platform for all the creative and design enthusiasts to meet, explore and learn mutually, irrespective of their educational background and age. Which has now grown into DOT School of Design.