Sunday, March 26

Digital gap: JU to go extra mile

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Jadavpur University will send its employees to students’ homes to fetch assignments or projects that they fail to mail or send through WhatsApp for want of a device or Net connectivity.

The university will send its personnel either on car or on train depending on the distance to collect assignments and projects, which are part of the internal assessment.

Internal assessment will be factored in while evaluating engineering students in the final semester, a university official said.

The engineering faculty had in early June decided that students would be assessed by factoring in 30 per cent weightage of the best of semester grade point average (SGPA) from previous semesters and the remaining from internal assessments.

Vice-chancellor Suranjan Das, who had in April advised teachers against online evaluation/grading for internal assessments because of the “digital divide” faced by a student, told Metro on Tuesday that the mechanism had been planned so that “no one feels left out”.

A student may not have access to a computer or may have connectivity issues in the aftermath of Cyclone Amphan, Das said. “We have to think of the student who is on the other side of the digital divide. We all know how a student in Kerala was forced to commit suicide because of such constraints. We will go to unparalleled lengths so that no one feels left out because of the digital divide.”

The Telegraph had on June 3 reported that a 14-year-old school student in Kerala committed suicide after her father, a daily labourer who was ill and had no work during the lockdown, failed to repair the TV, through which she was attend virtual classes.

The university has started preparing a list of the students who will require the service.

The university will send men on a vehicle for up to 30km from the campus, an official said. “If a group of students live in the remote corners of North and South 24-Parganas districts that have been battered the most by the cyclone, the men will be sent on vehicle to collect the copies at one go.”

If a student lives in far-off places like Malda, the officials will go on a train, the official said.

Another official said the service would be restricted within the boundaries of Bengal.

The university has students from Kashmir, which has largely faced Internet lockdown since the abrogation of Article 370 in August last year. Students have returned to the valley when the lockdown was imposed on March 23.

“They can courier the copies. If they have financial constraints, the university will help,” the vice-chancellor said.

Even for those in the state, the university is planning to engage couriers. “The mode of service will be decided in consultation with individual students. We want to wrap up the BTech assessment by July 11,” he said.

In April, he had asked teachers to be “cautious” while conducting online classes or sharing digital content because of the digital divide.


Source: The Telegraph

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