Solution for Quality Education in a New Era
In today’s information age, it is fundamental for students to have greater access to academic material beyond the lecture hall.
Although only 3.7% of Bangladesh’s population have access to Internet, the rapid growth of Internet service providers is allowing more and more Bangladeshis to connect online. All 80 public and government-approved private universities provide Internet access within their campuses. In fact, the higher academic institutions are pioneers in adopting and using Information and Communication Technologies.
Infamously known for the country’s high rate of poverty, Bangladesh also has an information poverty. Information poverty is the lack of access to all necessary data for our daily tasks. Last year, the UN declared access to Internet as a human right. But merely having access to Internet is not the solution. Applications need to be built in order to provide data bridges to users. Employees need to access their work across all their devices in and outside the workplace. More importantly, students need access to their course material, classmates, professors, T.As, both on and off campus.
Although they are pioneers, it is very hard to believe all the universities are still using the old traditional way of schooling in respect to IT facilities. Students continue to be fully dependent on the lectures from the classrooms. Given Dhaka’s transportation problem, everyone is bound to daily spend at least unproductive 3 hours on road. That is almost 180 to 200 hours per semester. Take a moment and think about it.
I can remember many hours I wasted during my university schooling trying to get hold of faculty members. Students need to wait for hours after hours to speak with their professors and faculty members. There is no way for students to know the change of faculty members’ office hours till the point they physically come to the University. Imagine a student travelling for hours to meet with the professor during his office hours only to find out that he has an off-campus event to attend that day. How frustrating!
Let’s consider a few other popular scenarios. What if someone misses a class or a few classes due to some unavoidable emergency circumstances? He has no option but to consult with faculty or course friends during the little free time that they have. He might get the gist of the lectures later from his classmates’ notes and speaking with T.As or the professor. However, there is no way to find the same information again which was delivered during the class. That information is completely lost.
What if someone has an advanced or simple question after class? Where does she carry on the discourse after class ends?
What if someone looses their class lecture book right before the exam? The outcome is unimaginable! Given the situation, students will be running after the lecture notes from his friends and wasting considerable time on road due to Dhaka’s traffic.
Students are required to do a lot of group work during the course of University. Given the lack of IT integrations by their university, students tend to do the work in a sequential manner. Different versions of one document get passed around from one student to the other. Each student has to wait for feedback from group members before proceeding onto another draft. What a waste of productive hours. What if all the members of the project can work in collaboration and finish the work in parallel without travelling back and forth to meet with one another?
Now think of a solution to all these problems. Cloud computing and Google Apps for Education is a key part of the solution. Cloud computing allows cost-effective storage of all lectures & presentations which are accessible by students & faculties at their own convenience. All the results, discourse, upcoming quizes, and other announcements can be published online. Students registration, course selection, faculty selection all these time-consuming tasks can be done through online facilities.
T.As & faculty members can take questions online. T.As can answer once to all questions asked by students. Some students who may have similar questions and they will receive the answer from the online discussion. Some questions can be answered by peers as well. The online discussion will provide as a rich resource for off-campus students. Eventually that will turn out to be a huge resource for reference for students. Students should be able to make all submissions online.
Vitizo wants to hear specific stories from university students in Bangladesh. What are some common challenges you face while studying for your degree? Share your story via video, photo, or comment for a chance to win a new smartphone. Winner will be announced on March 15th. Check out the contest details.
Google Apps for Education allows for real-time collaboration with lots of tools for students to use to organize, innovate and compose. Google Apps for Education has familiarity for all Google users. It is also a cost-effective and secure tool for universities.