Pooja Vasudev has an experience of over 5 years in compliance and quality assurance for colleges and universities in India and Australia and handled over 150 projects. She has completed her B.E from KIT before joining Campus.technology as a business development and operations executive. Currently, she works as Vice President – Business Development and Operations.
She believes that her strength comes solely from her tenacity, this is what drives her to stay awake for 2 days straight if need be when there is a project deadline. She also believes that there should be a right balance between work and having fun in life which led to her going on a skiing trip in the snowy mountains of Australia, zip lining in the mountains and coming back to work the next day to handle her clients.
The top trend in the education sector for the academic year 2019-20 is blended learning. It is important for the educational institutions and faculties to understand that learning happens outside the boundary of the classroom. So many institutions India and abroad are resorting to ICT based tools such as LMS, virtual classrooms where faculties are taking classes at their convenient time and the students are joining classes from various locations. At the same time, there are various innovative teaching-learning methodologies such as Problem Based Learning, Case Studies, Group Discussion, Internship, Field Visit and many more, which are part of the evaluation system for the holistic development of the students.
Technologies such as AI and ML help to provide targeted support to the students of the institution. For example, using ML-based tools, it is easy to analyze the past performance data of the students linking to their demographics, extracurricular and co-curricular activities and it is possible to create a model. Using the model, an AI-based tool can easily predict the likely performance of a student or the areas that would require additional support for a student well in advance and address the learning needs through various methodologies such as bridge course, remedial coaching, personal counseling and many more.
ICT is a trend that is also mandated by various accreditation agencies. Lack of adoption of ICT by the institution for its infrastructure or by the faculties for teaching-learning methodologies may potentially penalize an institution for getting a good grade in NAAC accreditation for example. At the same time, ICT makes it easier for the faculties to deliver topics and it makes it easier for the students to learn it. The major challenge for academicians is the adoption of technology and the required infrastructure. Till today there are many institutions in major cities that do not have proper internet bandwidth. Or there are locations where internet is not available. At the same time, there are many faculties who are not very familiar with the technology. Training the faculties to adopt technology is also a major effort that is to be addressed for many institutions.
Importance of Could-based Accreditation Management for an Institution
Accreditation usually is a complex process that requires creating reports, collecting documents, creating supporting documents and implementing quality improvement processes. The process of data collection and creating reports involves all stakeholders. Also implementing many quality processes manually takes a lot of time. For example, there are various types of feedback that the institution needs to implement along with analysis reports or creating attainment reports for all courses and programs. A cloud-based tool like Epaathsala makes the accreditation process extremely easy. For example, every stakeholder gets username and password and they can enter data and supporting documents from their portal. The software automatically creates the required reports and supporting documents.
Secondly, often the data is linked in multiple criteria. If there is any change in one data that requires the recompilation of many metrics. In the manual process, it is easy to overlook some metrics for any change in any data point, especially when there are many changes, or it is close to the submission deadline. In software, the mapping is automatic. So, once one data point is updated, all related metrics are automatically updated. Thirdly, all related ICT based quality improvement processes are inbuilt in the software. Traditional ERP software does not support accreditation modules completely. A software like Epaathsala supports all ICT modules for accreditation making it easy for the college to comply with all requirements. A traditional manual process of accreditation that takes years may be easily completed by using the tool in months. Also, the built-in campus management tool makes it easy to collect data at source as per various accreditation requirements. For example, unless the out of state students do not submit the required documents.
What Do We Do?
Epaathsala has started in 2014 with an aim to improve the quality of education through accreditation and standardization of processes through accreditation. The first of its toll in India, the software was initially used by few premier institutions in India for accreditation management. Epaathsala was funded by Times Internet and Hyderabad Angels and later it launched the modules for complete campus automation and multiple accreditation management. Today every institution needs to submit a report for multiple compliances and accreditations. A manual process may take more time and may lead to discrepancies of data submitted for various accreditation. Epaathsala makes it easy by catering to multiple accreditations with a task-based workflow. Faculties upload data only once, and all reports for various accreditations are automatically created.
Epaathsala has now launched TQA, or Total Quality Assurance Program, under which, apart from assisting with accreditation, Academic and Administrative Audit, Green Audit, we are also assisting institutions to implement quality processes, value-added courses, internships for students, career counseling and so on.
Technology is the need of the hour. We completely understand the reluctance, more to do with resistance to change and fear of unknown. However, technology is a tool and a great enabler, using the technology you could improve your efficiency many folds. So, my advice to institutions would be rather than treating technology as an unknown black hole, adapt it gradually and use it to your benefit. Faculties already are involved in complex tasks, learning or using technology is much easier compared to what they do every day. (As told to the Editor)