All You Need To Know About Blended Learning: The New Age Education

10Square: Evolving a Model for Post-Pandemic University Education

Part IV begins…..

Blended Learning
Blended Learning

Entrepreneurship & Innovation:

Innovation as a way of life and entrepreneurship as a passion need to be nurtured on campus through non-credited and/or credited courses on these subjects, with practical assignments given. Having focused entrepreneurship programs and department is one aspect of it, but bringing in basics of entrepreneurship and innovation in every program is another key aspect too.

The university may initiate a series of programs to further fuel the spirit, habit and exposure of innovation and incubation among its learners.

Some possible options are as follows:

  • Women’s Entrepreneurship Meet annually
  • Grassroots Entrepreneurship Meet annually
  • Youth Entrepreneurship Summit annually
  • Heritage Entrepreneurs’ Fest
  • Participation in global entrepreneurs’ meets
  • First Generation Entrepreneurs’ Summit & Awards
  • Innovation Hackathon at the national level
  • Innovative Idea Studio: contests to incubation
  • Participation in innovation contests in multiple universities within and beyond the nation
  • Innovation Lab with multiple inter-disciplinary projects
  • Annual Entrepreneurship Accelerator Meet & Ventures Funding
  • What’s Next? What’s New? Innovation Conclaves

Industry Collaboration & Placements:

In a developing economy, one of the key roles of the university is to develop intense industry-institute interface. This is singularly the leading economic outcome of higher education through which human talent nurtured can be economically productive and employable. Such collaboration can be through master-classes by industry experts, appointing Professors of Practice (full time or part time, from among industry stalwarts), industry guided program and course development, projects from the market, internship assignments (online or offline, full-time or part-time), research using industry infrastructure, showcasing future technologies on campus by the tech majors, and final placements.

Towards these goals, initiatives like the following need to be developed in South Asian universities:

  • Annual mega Job Utsob/Fest: minimum 1000+ jobs from 100+ recruiters, more the merrier
  • Industry Master-classes/ Workshops every fortnight
  • Certain Labs and Studios created with industry support
  • Research work using industry infrastructure
  • Jointly Curated Programs with the industry
  • Industry sponsored events related to concept, practice or recognition of talents
  • Market research and industry specific paid projects
  • Skilling Workshops & short courses with corporate involvement
  • Large-scale HR Meet annually
  • Knowledge Partnership with corporate houses for their Management Development Programs, PhD research by their top brass, etc, since ongoing continuous learning and training are becoming essential part of corporate HR today
  • Creating Video Resume, Digital CV, and Personal Branding, and
  • Extensive domain-specific Portfolio Creation

Community Outreach:

A respected university is one which is a caring one, one which has a community outreach division to initiate institutional and individual social responsibility initiatives, like #ChangeTogether Initiative within and beyond the campus. The university must reach out to people during natural catastrophes (flood, pandemic, famine, earthquake) leading to relief and rehabilitation efforts, can take up marginalized children’s upkeep & holistic growth support by all university stake-holders, and learners can engage in application-oriented projects for social good and use by development sector organizations.

The learners can give back to their schools and juniors through Back2School Project where each learner gives back to school through knowledge initiatives, or #EachOneReachOne initiative where each learner changing the life of one teenager.

The University can adopt a school or a village in its vicinity for outreach program with visible outcome.

Events that brings in UN Sustainable Development Goals awareness, initiatives and evidential contribution towards SDGs can be another area of social outreach.

Excellence in Sports & Culture

A documented excellence in games and sports, and in cultural initiatives is another hallmark of a good university and a fulfilling learning experience of the stake-holders.

Wellness regime as a compulsory component of campus must exist where gym use, racing, yoga and exercises must be a daily regimen in the university. Adequate Sports scholarships based on transparent criteria must buttress this effort towards creating excellence in sports. There must be sports on-campus through multiple competitions. This can lead to national team selections & for international tournaments also.

On-campus medical facilities need to be assured and continuously expanded each year, along with Smart Health Card for all.

Apart from games and sports as a culture, co-curricular activities need to be harnessed bringing in a culture of creativity and expressions. Each such domain can have a learner driven club, like Music Club, Dance Club, Debate Club, Adventure Club, Quiz Club, Book Club, Communication Club, Film Club, and the like. Each of these clubs should have a monthly plan of action, and participation in at least one club should be compulsory task of each learner. The performance in the club and even in active healthcare should be a component of comprehensive excellence score explained in the enablers.

The university can have a program of Art of Living which may include Pitri-Matri-Shikshak Diwas (Parents’ & Teachers’ Day), celebrating the festivals of various communities, National Days of various nations (for foreign students), Universal Humanism special talks in interaction with global stalwarts

Every good university has its own Annual Fest with creative contests, which can be at two levels: inter-HS Schools & Colleges-Universities.

Culture and healthcare will get a stronger push with focused programs on Health Science and Sports, and also through a Faculty of Creativity or Creative Sciences & Arts in the University.

Liberal Education

The enablers noted earlier in the first part of this article, along with some of the aspects of outcomes noted here will lead to a model of liberal education in the university with several common learning areas, having common credits for all learners. These can be related to diverse areas like:

  • Employability 360, Design Thinking, Entrepreneurship
  • Communication & Language skills
  • Creative and Problem-solving skills
  • Universal Humanism & Know Your Nation Better
  • Online Courses (e.g. Coursera or LinkedIn Learning) for integrated knowledge, acquired digitally
  • Lifelong Learning Skills: Intelligence Quotient, Passion or Emotional Quotient, and Spiritual Quotient detailed with applications, cases, etc.
  • High level of technology exposure to all learners involving 4IR technologies of today

A liberal framework of education is expected to create a complete comfort in learning, working, researching, and communicating in a blended manner among the learners (even the mentors), leading to a creation-oriented mind-set among all: creation of technologies, products, services, new knowledge and communication tools.

Liberal education also emanates from major-minor specialization approach explained among the enablers.

As the universities complete a quarter of a century in this millennium, a renewed attention towards such a holistic approach to higher education for life is the call of the day.

Part IV ends….

Ujjwal K Chowdhury

Prof. Ujjwal K. Chowdhury is a maverick who travels between media academics and media practice, between profession and social activism, between travelling and staying put. Prof. Chowdhury is Executive Director of the US-registered, Dubai-based International Online University. He has been the strategic adviser to two leading Asian universities. He previously served as Adamas University's Pro Vice Chancellor and Dean of Symbiosis and Amity Universities, Pearl Academy, and AMP; Whistling Woods International. He is the secretary of the Global Media Education Council. He is also the President, Strategy & Planning of the Indian Diaspora Global. He is a firm believer in the convergence of technology and learning for a better tomorrow. He had been a wanderer, working as a media consultant in Nepal, consulting with the Amsterdam Film School in the Netherlands, working on films for WHO in several nations, and working with Acore Media in Dubai. He speaks and writes on various platforms and works on civil society initiatives in media, youth entrepreneurship, and democracy. Facebook Twitter

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