The pandemic has pushed the world to drastically reinvent ways of coping with the ‘new normal’. After the initial phase of a complete overhaul, it is critical to understand the changes in the higher education sector. E-learning will gain more significance now, as this is what saved the scholars from complete loss of studies. The new normal of the future is definitely ‘Blended Learning’. Being the first university in India whose faculty took to the online platform from the very first day of lockdown, Shoolini University started providing online lectures on academics, practical lessons, and even SPRINT programs for students to enhance their skills and prepare them for interviews. “We have a unique AI-based model that prepares students for interviews in real-time. Students can use a friend, Siqander, to get feedback on their interview skills, so they are prepared for the real one well before it begins”, remarks Brig. Neeraj Parashar, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Technology, Shoolini University.
A frontrunner in the field of using ICT-enabled tools and online resources for effective teaching, Shoolini University has been making rapid strides, blending the latest ICT technologies completely into their academic culture since the lockdown. The university has already been using its own online learning platform, Learninns, which helped them shift online quickly and seamlessly, without any loss of academics and knowledge to students. “Our regular classes began just three days after the lockdown. We also asynchronously conducted exams, and the results for final exams are already out”, adds Brig. Neeraj. Launching a series of successful webinars almost immediately after the lockdown, where highly regarded and recognised speakers from all walks of life interacted with the students, the university could collaborate with experienced academicians and professionals from distant locations, who shared fascinating stories and valuable lessons with them.
Having conducted various COVID-19 awareness programs through its Yogananda Webinar Series, Shoolini University’s researchers have worked to the best of their abilities to find a solution against COVID-19. “We developed an ‘in-house’ sanitiser and distributed it in the neighbourhood and among faculty members”, adds Brig. Neeraj. During the lockdown, some of Shoolini University’s international students and faculty from outside the state remained on the campus. The university maintained the required COVID-19 protocols until the time they were able to get back home. He affirms, “When the campus started functioning, complete care was taken, such as daily thermal checking at the entrance, sanitisation, and wearing of masks. These were made compulsory, and nothing was left to chance”.
An Abode for Knowledge and Learning
Set up in 2009, Shoolini University is one of the few private universities to focus on research and strongly believes that it will bring India to the forefront in exploration and innovation. Duly recognised by the UGC, the university offers quality placements and world-class faculty. Shoolini University has been ranked in the top 291-300 Universities in Asia by the prestigious QS Asia rankings and has achieved very high ranking in various parameters including first in India in citation index. This ranking place the university at 37th position in the country (7th amongst private institutions in India and 2nd in North India). Shoolini University is also among the top 150 universities ranked by NIRF, 2020 (National Institutional Ranking Framework), MHRD, Government of India. Ranked among the top 25 private universities in India by Atal Ranking, the Department of Engineering and Technology at Shoolini University has been ranked as 112th in India in NIRF rankings, 2020. ” One of the top patent filers in the country, we have filed more than 400 patents. Our university has an H-index of more than 65, more than 100 MOUs globally and NAAC accredited as of now. Our mission is to provide world-class education, and our vision is to be a top 200 global university by the year 2022″, points out Brig. Neeraj. Aiming to create a goal-driven ecosystem for students that allows them to explore their boundaries, Shoolini University is looking at providing better education by bringing some global speakers and faculty to interact with their students regularly. Additionally, several national and international tie-ups are on the anvil. The idea is to give students new avenues to explore their potential.
The students at Shoolini University design and fabricate projects during every semester as a part of their curriculum. They are proactively involved in research and the university inspires them and guides them to convert their ideas into patents. Technical fests are organised every year so that students can present their innovative ideas. “Our students have filed more than 130 patents, published research papers, and won numerous prizes for projects”, points out Brig. Neeraj.
Preparing Students for the Future-Ready Industry
Providing online SPRINT programs to enhance their skills and prepare them for interviews, Shoolini University also hosts Guest speakers, Webinars, Placement Drives, International job opportunities, and Student Exchange programs. Access to world-famous online learning platforms, Edx and Coursera has been provided to students so that they can gain the latest knowledge related to their discipline. Brig. Neeraj points out, “We also have some of the best research facilities, cutting-edge laboratories, et al., to inspire and motivate our students to think outside the box and come up with pioneering research”.
Benefitting academia as well as the industry, Industry-Institute collaborations help in career prospects, research funding, awareness of industry trends, and inspiration by application-derived discussions, along with access to extended networks, thinking outside the box, training, ability to find new talent to hire and access to specialised, world-leading resources. Shoolini University has collaborated with several industries related to Engineering & Technology, like Anand Automotive, Microtek, Oliver Wyman, Genpact, etc. Industrial training and visits are conducted for students in every semester.
Shoolini University has also started the Visionary Learning Community of India (VLCI) Program pioneered by Padma Shri Professor Shoji Shiba. The aim of the program is to create great visionaries/leaders to upgrade the standard of the Indian manufacturing sector and to create industry-ready students. This VLCI program has helped the university to be recognised as the ‘VLCI Regional Center for Excellence’ for implementing VLCI program with the collaboration of Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and Confederation of Indian Industries (CII). “We have placed more than 80% of students every year. Companies like Khanna Papers, Vegazva, Microtek, Havells, Tata Hitachi, GNA, etc., have been the key recruiters for the previous batch”, states Brig. Neeraj.
Continuously updating its curriculum in consultation with the industry, Shoolini University has prominent industrial as well as academic personalities for their board of studies. To keep their students updated with the technological developments in the industry, the university offers B. Tech Mechanical Engineering with Specialisation in Digital Manufacturing and Digital Manufacturing as a subject at the PG Level. Working to enhance research output and patent feasibility, Shoolini University envisions to be one of the leading Global Universities by 2022.
About Brig. Neeraj Parashar (Retd.)
Brig Neeraj Parashar is an Engineer of repute with vast experience in the field as well as in academics. He served in the Corps of Engineers of Indian Army for 35 years, where he executed numerous engineering tasks and large engineering projects in the field, often in difficult and remote border areas under challenging circumstances. He has served as Assistant Professor at the College of Military Engineering, Pune and subsequently Head of Department Of Civil Engineering at the same institution. He has held various prestigious technical and administrative assignments during his long career in the Army, including in the Military Engineer Services and Border Roads Organisation. After retirement, he has taken up a second career in the field of academics to train young engineers and contribute towards nation-building. Simultaneously he is also pursuing a PhD in Environmental Engineering.