According to a recent UNESCO report, the COVID-19 pandemic has forced a whopping 1.37 billion students to sit at home, as schools and universities the world over go into a lockdown mode. But that should not translate to a pause in learning.
In keeping with this thought, TCS iON™ decided to leverage its knowledge and experience in digital learning to help schools and colleges across India ensure continuous learning for their students through the TCS iON Digital Glass Room. This is a unique digital learning platform that enables educators to switch from traditional classroom teaching to a 100% virtual mode. The platform is being offered free of cost for one year, and a dedicated team of learning consultants are available round the clock to onboard institutions and restore normalcy (to the extent possible) in the education sector.
“These are unprecedented times. With schools and colleges shut down, we want to empower these institutions and help them switch to a virtual mode, so students’ learning journeys can continue uninterrupted on our platform. I do hope large numbers of public and private institutions will take this opportunity to use technology to overcome the disruption,” says Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON.
SASTRA’s commitment to imparting superior education to its students was at stake
Tamil Nadu based Shanmuga Arts, Science, Technology & Research Academy (SASTRA) prides itself in being among India’s finest institutes in terms of programme spread, infrastructure, teacher credentials and overall academic performance. In the COVID-19 pandemic which has brought everything to a standstill, TCS iON Digital Glass Room was well aligned with SASTRA’s expectations. The platform enabled teachers to connect to their students, conduct online classes, share learning material, administer tests and assess students’ progress.
TCS iON Digital Glass Room has enabled SASTRA to ensure continuous learning for its students
A mobile and web-based learning platform, the TCS iON Digital Glass Room enables teachers at SASTRA (deemed university) to engage with their students in real time, share lessons, videos, worksheets, assignments and assessments, using interactive methods like polls, debates, quizzes, surveys and so on. The platform also provides an embedded live classroom, which simulates live classroom teaching.
“The TCS iON Digital Glass Room truly lives up to its vision of ensuring continuity in learning. The platform was made live in a matter of a few hours. Not just that, our faculty had access to numerous nano videos to train them to use the platform and various tips and tricks to navigate it with ease. Our students and faculty can access content any time and from any device. It is indeed a blessing in these tough times!”, says Dr. S. Vaidhyasubramaniam, Vice-Chancellor, SASTRA University.
Harnessing technology to create exponential value
The TCS iON Digital Glass Room has enabled SASTRA (deemed university) to seamlessly transition to digital teaching, providing a holistic learning experience to the students.
Since its go live on March 20, 2020 – deployed in a record time of 24 hours – the platform has been abuzz with activity. It currently has over 10,000 registered students, over 100 teachers and some 50 communities (a collaborative and interactive social space).
Not a stop-gap arrangement, but a long-term education tool
Our vision for this powerful digital platform is not limited to the end of the COVID-19 era (which we are earnestly hoping for to come soon!). We see it as a key learning aid that helps students and teachers stay connected perpetually, thereby enabling continuity in education.
“Our longer-term objective is to encourage self-learning and to enable the global education system to transition to a digital era where teaching and learning know no physical boundaries. We believe this is the best way to democratize access to education and skill development, and build the human capital”, says Venguswamy Ramaswamy, Global Head, TCS iON.
The platform is currently being used successfully by 3.7 million learners worldwide. It offers a range of features – a virtual classroom, live student-teacher interaction, opportunities to practice, evaluate, and digital proctor assessments remotely, and continued learning through a vibrant community of fellow learners and teachers. Moreover, there is a wide array of digital tools to help teachers build their pedagogical knowledge, much in line with what they have in a traditional classroom. The platform is also being contextualised to suit the skills of higher education teachers as they might need more sophisticated tools to interact with their students.
The platform hasn’t been developed only to ensure a smooth sailing in these tough times; its long-term objective is to promote virtual teaching, encourage self-learning and drive meaningful interactions among students and teachers beyond the confines of their schools and colleges.