Virtual platform a godsend for educational institutions

They continue to leverage the utility of online interface

Having derived the utility of online interface in academic events, higher educational institutions continue to leverage the virtual platform even in the post-pandemic phase.

Teaching faculty at the forefront of organising academic workshops, seminars and conferences feel the COVID-19 pandemic has sparked a positive outcome in that the impact of the events have risen even while entailing only a fraction of the expenditure that would have otherwise been incurred.

“There have been several positives from the online events – we could approach experts in universities across the globe, who were eager to oblige; no need to worry about cost of accommodation, food and overheads of speakers. The only thing is required is that the experts could spare their time. Above all, online events are environment-friendly,” N. Sivakumaran, Professor, Department of Instrumentation and Control Engineering, National Institute of Technology – Tiruchi, said.

Be it faculty or students, availability of the recording of talks by experts in the digital format obviates the need for question and answer session. The talks are understood well through repeated viewing, Prof. Sivakumar said.

The higher educational institutions are a relieved lot since they can save at least a few lakhs of rupees for every event. Usually, the per capita expenditure for participants is more for workshops and training programmes and less for seminars and conferences, senior professors say. “It is enough if the remuneration is paid to the main speakers and experts handling technical session. The necessity to spend on travel, accommodation, hospitality, seminar kits and bags does not arise,” S. Senthilnathan, Director, UGC-Human Resource Development Centre, and Professor, Department of Educational Technology, Bharathidasan University, said.

“We, nevertheless, do come across some online participants expressing their desire for in-person interface though the academic events are planned meticulously and conducted professionally. Yet, the bottomline is the pandemic has brought about a positive paradigm shift,” Prof. Senthilnathan said.

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