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A sustainable path to digital transformation: The success story of Sharda University

19 May, 2021

About the University: Sharda University is one of the leading educational institutions located in Greater Noida, Delhi-NCR which is primarily known for its high-quality education globally with a focus on Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) integrated teaching and learning process to transform the education system and empower both students and teachers. Through continuous efforts and dedication, the University has transformed the traditional education system into ICT based education system.

“The world we are living in is constantly changing and evolving. This unpredictable situation has taken us into a novel era where online learning and digitisation of the education system is taking place.”

Major challenges confronted by the University

The education system globally has experienced unprecedented challenges due to the COVID-19 crisis. Like any other educational institution, Sharda University also faced a lot of challenges due to this turmoil right from providing facilities to stakeholders digitally to retaining them during the crisis. Some of the major challenges faced by the University are outlined below:

  • A sudden and unplanned change in the education system compelled the University to change the traditional teaching and learning process to digital mode.
  • The pandemic situation posed mobility issues to national and international students by preventing access to courses in offline mode.
  • Students faced issues in accessing admission-related information and programmes offered during the lockdown period. In the same way, providing admission-related information to applicants was difficult for the University.
  • Activities such as registration and admission process, examinations and payment of fees were challenging to handle as they required face-to-face interaction at the campus. 
  • The mode of conducting classes was changed due to which both teachers and students had a lot of fear and anxiety about time-table, attendance, access to students’ records, study materials, events, etc.
  • With very little clarity and understanding about the pandemic situation, many students and parents had a lot of queries and grievances which were highly challenging to address instantly.
  • Keeping updated data on teaching and learning for continuous improvement as well as for accreditation purposes was quite tough during the pandemic situation.

The strategy adopted to address the challenges

While several educational institutions are still grappling with pandemic challenges, Sharda University has smoothly transformed to digital teaching and learning system by adopting flexible ICT-based platforms. Sharda University is one of the leading examples of how quickly and effectively some of the key challenges were overcome by using ICT-based platforms. The University dealt with these challenges in the following ways:

  • Sharda University anticipated the gravity of the pandemic situation in time and hence all the students were sent back home safely.
  • The next action taken was to quickly train the faculty members, staff, and students to use various Online Meeting Platforms like Zoom, Google Meet, Microsoft Teams, etc. for conducting and attending classes online.
  • Integrated Automated Student Admission and Registration Management System - PeopleSoft was set up to allow applicants/students to check eligibility criteria instantly, inquire about the programmes, and apply online.
  • Integrated cloud-based campus management software (iCloud EMS) for both teachers & students encouraged collaborative interactions and smooth functioning of academic activities. Further, the University developed digitalised ways of maintaining records of students, study materials, attendance, timetable, calendar, etc.
  • Sharda Automatic Question Paper Generation System (SAQGPS) was installed for fast, efficient, easy, randomized, unbiased, and secure automatic generation of Question Papers. This automated system replaced the conventional method of generating question paper and contributed to savings in time and efforts.
  • In the pre-phase of exams, the exam applications and/or eligibility of the students were processed and stored in the system. Further, with this record, the admission, as well as verification card of eligible students, were generated automatically by admin or COE staff through the Automated Examination Management System – PEOPLESOFT.
  • A platform PEOPLESOFT - Mentoring Portal was also installed by the University to ensure that students remain connected, actively supported, and involved with their mentor through online mode irrespective of their location.
  • Online Portal based on PEOPLESOFT platform was constituted for redressal of students' grievances related to academic or any other issue. This portal provided an online platform for students to log complaints quickly and freely that are further addressed by Grievance Redressal Committee.

The above actions on integrating ICT-based online platforms for the teaching and learning process have helped Sharda University cope-up with all the changes and challenges posed due to the pandemic. ICT-enabled platforms have reduced the error, duplication, time required for all the activities related to the examination process and, through the Online Mentoring Portal, the grievances of students were reduced tremendously.

These achievements and the success story of Sharda University resulted in achieving QS IGAUGE Learning Excellence for Academic Digitisation (E-LEAD) certification by QS-ERA India Pvt Ltd. In addition, QS IGAUGE Gold Rating has given the University the next level of confidence and encouragement to lead in the competition, and hence, the University is striving to enhance their performance in the rating system. Most importantly, the E-LEAD certification has helped Sharda University demonstrate its readiness and technology preparedness in the new normal era. The overall rating by QS IGAUGE is a benchmark to introspect, rework on quality perfection and ultimately achieve the global standards.

Sharda University aspires to become an inspiration for other educational institutions to integrate ICT-enabled platforms and digitise their teaching and learning process by sharing its experiences for the successful implementation and enable educational institutions to create more success stories.

Authors:

Dr Roopali Fulzele, Assistant Professor, School of Business Studies, Sharda University

Dr Mridul Dharwal, Professor, School of Business Studies, Sharda University

Disclaimer

The views & opinions expressed in this blog do not necessarily represent those of QS-ERA India Private Limited and/or its employees, partners, shareholders, or other stakeholders.

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