Since the dawn of globalization, the whole world was moving so fast even few days back. Advancements in the technology and modern inventions have taken the human beings to some other levels. But, all on a sudden, something that can't be seen in naked eyes, have shattered the world. The clock of the world is like on hold. Yes, we are talking about that Coronavirus and its deadly disease, COVID-19.
The world was not prepared for this, not even our country. Every sector, whether it is business, education, transport or travel, has been facing huge disruption. At one side, humans are busy themselves to fight against the unseen enemy, they are struggling for their daily survival on other side. Bangladesh had been in complete lockdown for several months.
Though some sectors are opening, still they are not being able to function in full swing. The sector that is facing further lockdown is education. Schools, colleges, universities or even their residential halls are the places where maintaining social distance is quite challenging. So, worldwide, classrooms are still locked down mostly. Alternatives are being tried. Online activities are going on.
World's one of the best, Cambridge University has recently published their plan to move towards absolute online platform for next 1 year at least.But there in an institution, and that's not in any developed country, rather in this developing Bangladesh, which hasn't waited this late. It started using online platform from the day it faced lockdown.
It is Daffodil International University (DIU), established in 2002. Since then it has been relentlessly serving for the betterment of higher education in national and international levels. One of the challenges that private universities face is regarding credibility, transparency and validity.
But DIU has challenged that challenge with its permanent campus, the largest one among the private universities and one of the most decorated and best campuses among all the universities in Bangladesh. The university is continuously excelling in world rankings with its education and researches.
But during lockdown, when on campus education is off, now what? Still DIU is running with its usual pace, even faster. The university has started to conduct all the educational and administrative activities through online, the day the nation got locked down, without delay for a single day, as said earlier.
The spring 2020 was the semester when COVID-19 tried to stop things. But students and teachers have worked relentlessly to finish their classes with great enthusiasm and standard by the help of various applications like - Zoom, Google Meet, BigBlueButton etc.
Various apps from G Suites, Google Play Stores and other sources, like - Form, Sheet, Jamboard, Kahoot, and Scanners etc. have been used to improve the performances. Exams and Assessments have been done with various methods like creative learning; open Book/internet exams, assignments, viva-voce under the guidance of the University Grant Commission (UGC).
Spring semester has been completed with timely result publication and now the Summer is going on its way. Students have been enrolled from their home and are continuing with various offered waivers. The University is continuously in touch with the students and guardians through all sorts of communication, including social media.
But the greatest weapon that DIU is using currently is its own Learning Management System (LMS), Bleanded Learning Center (BLC). At one edge they have their largest green campus and at another they have their own LMS. LMS is a modern and popular medium to conduct educational activities now a day. World Class Universities use various types, like Blackboard, Moodle, Open Edx, Canvas etc.
BLC is the purchased and updated version of Moodle for DIU. Very few universities have their own LMS in Bangladesh, due to high maintenance, costing and efforts. But DIU has been having it since five years. The students and teachers are greatly engaged in BLC currently, which provides all types of facilities including classes, lectures, exams, interactive contents, grading etc.
Daffodil International University is constantly arranging Webinars and Meetings with national and international renowned speakers for teacher's training and better outcomes. The teachers are now getting more skilled with new technologies like - Sites, Online Mentoring, ERP etc. DIU has also arranged nationwide online programs like 'Learning Summit' and 'Job Fest' which were inaugurated and supervised by several cabinet ministers.
Hence, to run the administrative and official works more smoothly, DIU has been using Enterprise Resource Management (ERP) since long. But during the pandemic, it is adapting with further development by launching SmartEdu ERP. It includes all the features like Tasks, Attendance, Chatbot, Contacts, HR, Monitoring etc. which are conducive for the faculty members and officials to work from home, by maintaining the WHO and national guidance of social distancing.
Finally, like the whole world, our country is facing serious disruption throughout all of its regular activities. Lot of students are fearing about session jam in the coming future. But DIU has inspired other institutions to run the operations even in this crisis. Not only the academic, any institution can be encouraged by its effort like SmartEdu.
In the next challenging world, where even survival might be a big factor, Daffodil International University is committed to building its students as fully fitted with an entrepreneurial mindset and technological expertise.
The University is indeed leading the country's education from the front during the pandemic. DIU is now getting ready to contribute in Udemy, CourseEra etc. famous online learning platforms. It is, therefore, progressing beyond national boundaries and to contribute worldwide.
The writer is a Lecturer, Department of Environmental Science and Disaster Management, Daffodil International University.