Published: 20th May 2021
IIT Bhubaneswar completes semester examinations for 2020-21 despite setbacks from the pandemic
Last year in March 2020, before lockdown was announced, the institute switched to online education without any gap due to prior planning, innovations and execution, a senior official said
Indian Institute of Technology, Bhubaneswar has completed its spring-end semester examinations of 2020-21 for all of its students except for the first year BTech despite the COVID-19 pandemic, an official said. The first-year students' examination will take a month and a half more due to late admission and late starting of the semester across all the IIT's across the country.
The spring-end semester examinations of 2020-21 has been completed for all students on May 15. Last year in March 2020, before lockdown was announced, the institute switched to online education without any gap due to prior planning, innovations and execution, a senior official said. The institute also developed a very unique and innovative online method to hold comprehensive pen and paper exams, trained its faculty and applied the same very successfully to hold the end-semester examination, in May 2020, he said.
"Due to the very tough pandemic, the theory classes for the entire 2020-21 too were conducted online, timely for all the students. For science and engineering students hands-on laboratory training is important and carrying on the same during the pandemic posed a serious problem," said Prof Raja Kumar, Director, IIT Bhubaneswar. He said the lab courses were organised for students with both (i) physical presence with hands-on experience and (ii) online by live-streaming or pre-recorded video of demonstration of experiments performed on the lab table by the faculty members.
In the later method students are provided with the live video streaming of the demonstration of an experiment during the lab class as per the timetable, he said. All students except for the freshers were brought to the campus and they had their full lab sessions with a physical presence in the campus during February-April 2021 very successfully.
Due to the onset of the second wave of the pandemic in a severe form, the lab practice with physical presence of the freshers has been postponed and it will be completed as soon as it is conducive, the director said, adding that even the extra academic activity (EAA) including Yoga classes and practice of the first year BTech students could be done online in a very innovative and unique way during the pandemic. Project and research seminars, evaluations, of UG, PG and PhD programes have been conducted over online platforms, he said.
Stating that maintaining good health and protection from the pandemic is more important than running the academics in standards, Prof Rajakumar said: "IIT Bhubaneswar campus has been kept COVID-free except for 5 cases in September 2021 and up to 7 cases in April 2021 and 5 cases in May 2021, through a very strict and spirited implementation of the COVID protocols, awareness campaigns and participation of the whole fraternity in the same."
These standards of protection could be achieved, even as the essential services of the campus including offices like that of the Director were never closed during the pandemic. "Though the situation in Odisha has been better, nearly 90 per cent of our students come from all places in the country, up to 2000 migrant workers stayed in the campus, and the challenges have been like anywhere else," he said.