Objectives of the Practice
The present day education sector is worldwide experiencing a paradigm shift from the input-output based education to the outcome based education system. The student-centric teaching- learning process is essentially required in the present scenario. How much the students learn is important rather than how much we teach to them. The institution has therefore taken initiatives to implement the teaching-learning strategies from the students’ point of view and how it will help them in their further studies/jobs. Most of the students of this institution progress to higher studies and appear for competitive examinations, relative to the minimal percentage availing the job opportunities directly after graduation. Thus, keeping pace with the modern day higher education is intended from this practice.
Outcome based education has arrived with its own challenges for the higher education sector of India, especially when the gross enrolment ratio in higher education is less compared to other countries. The use of ICT enabled tools is ubiquitous in every sphere of life and is one of the powerful strategies of student-centric teaching-learning mechanism of the outcome based education. Our teachers had to equip themselves on the use of ICT for teaching-learning process by attending training programmes, workshops, watching online videos, practicing the use of online platforms and fixing the related issues by discussions. The methods of experiential learning had to be devised considering the pandemic situation. Correlating the practical experiences of the students with their applications to the real life problems was a challenge in some departments, especially during the pandemic situation. Cultivating the life-long learning habits of critical thinking and problem solving are essential in the student-centric teaching-learning system, and strategies were adopted accordingly. The developing of communication and presentation skills of students was also intended to keep pace with the modern day education.
The practice includes the following:
• Assessing the learning levels of students: The first step of student-centric teaching-learning process is assessing the learning levels of the students and accordingly designing the teaching process. The learning levels are therefore assessed through interactive sessions, question-answer sessions during classes, formative assessments and academic counselling by the mentors. The slow learners are given specific attention through remedial classes and assistance beyond class hours, while the advanced learners are encouraged to participate in competitions, creative writing and processing of their research oriented thoughts in different dimensions.
• Experiential learning by studying real life problems for practicals and projects, For example, for zoology students, studying the life cycle of butterflies in their own garden, observing animals like dog, birds like pigeon, sun bird, which are visible from their homes for the practicals on animal behaviour and chronology etc. For the conservation biology students, open ended experiments were designed such as Case study on Jim Corbett National Parks, Chemical Immobilization of Royal Bengal Tiger in the wild for collaring in Sundarban, West Bengal, Modelling the impact of mangrove in fish population dynamics of Hoogly-Matla estuarine systems, West Bengal, India, Case study on Sundarban National Park etc. For botany students, exploring the plant species in the college campus. For English students, the Kolb’s experiential learning cycle was used, for Geology students writing of research and review articles of the budding geologists was implemented from their field experiences while for chemistry students, the 3D visualization and animation of molecules through software was practiced.
• Use of Learning Management System (LMS) and computer-aided methods: The practice of using Learning Management System was initiated in March 2019, when IQAC conducted the workshop for faculty members on the “E-content: Development and Uploading of the four quadrants” on 14.03.2019. The MOODLE site creation by faculty members was demonstrated in the workshop along with the preparation and uploading of E-content, video lectures and assignments. In the workshop, students of Department of Chemistry also shared their views on easy availability of the E-content from the departmental MOODLE site. The post workshop outcome was opening of MOODLE sites by some faculty members and some of them started using the Google Classroom also as the LMS. All departments were provided with the laptop, desktop and LCD projector facilities to undertake the use of computer-aided methods of teaching. Three classrooms were converted to smart classrooms as the post-accreditation initiative. Faculty members thereafter started participating in the workshops, refresher courses, short term courses on the Development of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs), open educational resources, Information and Communication Technology, FDPs on Soft Skills and Personality, Online assessment techniques etc. This helped them to apply computer-aided methods of teaching and the practice proved to be the most effective one during the pandemic situation.
• Participative learning and choice of elective papers: Students are given the liberty to actively participate in the teaching-learning process. Groups discussions, debates, student seminars, students playing the role of teachers in classroom, story reading sessions, power-point presentations by students and other strategies are applied. Students of Semester-V arts program are given the liberty to choose their generic subjects, students of different departments are also given the liberty to choose from the pool of options of skill enhancement courses.
• Cultivating the critical thinking and problem solving skills in the learning process: This is practiced by giving topics of assignments to students but not the answers. They come up with multiple answers and then develop the strategy to select the best solution for implementation. Students work in groups during practicals to exchange ideas and solve a problem, developing the sense of teamwork.
• Feedback taken from students on curriculum and teaching-learning process: The learning outcome based curricular framework was introduced by the University since the academic session 2020-21. The feedback on the curricular aspects is taken by the IQAC from the students and forwarded to the university with suggestions. Students are asked several questions in feedback forms, which are addressed accordingly such as whether the learning outcomes are discussed with them by the departments, whether the curriculum is need based and complies with their expected outcome, whether the curriculum makes them job ready, whether the computer-aided methods of teaching are used by the teachers, whether the internal assessments are discussed with them etc.
• Handling the issues through an effective mentoring mechanism: The student mentoring system was implemented formally in the institution from the academic session 2019-2020. Mentors organize interactive sessions and kept contact with their mentees to guide them and address their problems as and when required.
Evidence of Success
• Students cleared JAM examinations with All India Ranks: From 2018 to 2020, 44 students of different science departments have cleared the JAM examinations with good All India ranks, including the top ten ranks in India by three students. In the year 2021, total 26 students have cleared the JAM examinations with all India ranks.
• Students placed for higher studies in IITs, IISER, Banarus Hindu University (BHU), University of Calcutta, The University of Burdwan and other institutes of national importance.
• Students have participated in poster competitions, quiz competitions, presentations and other online events organized by external agencies and also won prizes.
• Student project was selected for CSIR summer research training programme in 2020.
• The performance of students in university examinations has improved significantly from 2018 to 2020.
• The computer-aided methods of teaching-learning activities adopted since 2019 have helped the institution to cope up successfully with the challenges of online education during the pandemic situation since March 2020.
Problems Encountered and Resources Required
• The teaching-learning activities sometimes suffer time constraints due to prolonged time taken by the affiliating university in conducting the semester examination and commencement of classes of the next semester.
• Durgapur Government College is situated at about 175 km from Calcutta. Students cannot access advanced research laboratories, libraries and premier institutes situated in Calcutta, which compromises with their advanced learning experiences.
• The institution faces the problems of funding for conversion of more classrooms into smart classrooms and the administration has applied for renovation and upgradation of laboratories and classrooms.
• Digitization of library and e-resources has also been applied under the RUSA scheme by the institution.
• Procurement of more computers is required to improve the student : computer ratio.
Best Practice 2
Title of the Practice
Objectives of the Practice
Students are trained on the curricular aspects by every institution, but the process of imparting education should also be in line with the simultaneous development of their interpersonal skills and making them aware of their social, national, environmental and cultural responsibilities. This can only be implemented if an institution takes sincere steps beyond the syllabus and curriculum to sensitize students on social issues, ethics, human values, environmental consciousness and promote their cultural development. This practice is intended to shape the students as good, cultured and responsible human beings when they leave the campus walls.
The present century has witnessed considerable erosion of human values and social responsibilities. This is witnessed in daily life, newspapers and media incidents. If we expect individuals to work for the society and develop the sense of respect for its people, the nation, culture and the environment, then sensitization is essentially required in their student phase. Progressively, in their subsequent phases of life, they will develop the lifelong habit to contribute for the society and the nation. One small step taken by each individual can create a big difference in the nation.
Sensitizing students towards the social responsibilities and develop sense of respect for all individuals
• The first National Service Scheme (NSS) unit of Durgapur Government College was started in 1972 and has a glorious past since its inception. Unit-2 was started in 2008. NSS Volunteers organize awareness campaigns on social issues in the adopted villages, organize blood donation camps, cleanliness campaign in the college campus and neighbouring villages and areas under Swachh Bharat Abhiyan, Green picnic mission, raise funds for natural calamities, organize free health camps for local people and perform several social activities throughout the year.
• One Day National Level Webinar on “Understanding Gender” was organized by the Internal Complaints Committee.
• Department of Philosophy organized special lectures on “The concept of Anumana: with special reference to the Nyaya and the Buddhist model”, with the objective to sensitize students on the moral and social teachings.
• Special Lecture on the “Sexual and Textual Politics in Manjula Padmanabhan’s play Lights Out” was organized on the theme of gender inequality and the subjugation of women in patriarchal society, the theme of rape and the male and female reaction to it, the insensitivity of the media in contemporary times and the hypocrisy of the Indian middle-class revealed in their apathy towards the plight of women in society.
• Interview of transgender author shared by faculty member of Department of English to sensitize students to think from other person’s point of view and develop respect for individuals.
Sensitizing and preparing students towards national responsibilities
• Cadets of the college NCC unit take part in the different camps. Rigorous physical training is imparted to the cadets with a view to increase their physical endurance. During Military training, cadets acquire first-hand knowledge about the use of various devices used by the Army. They are also trained on self defence, map reading, first aid and shooting. Cultural programs are also held during training periods for improving the cultural and social outlook of the cadets. They also have to participate in various social activities to get the feeling of belonging to the society. Apart from these, cadets also join the adventure activities such as Mountaineering, Rock Climbing; Ice skating, Trekking etc. NCC team regularly participates in the formal Sub Division level Guard of Honour on 26th January and 15th August to commemorate the Republic Day and Independence Day of India and almost every year perform outstandingly. NCC cadets also participate in the march-past during the college sports. NCC Cadets celebrate “International Yoga Day” every year.
• One Day State Level Webinar on, “Indian Democracy and Civil Society” organized by Department of Political Science in collaboration with the IQAC on June 5, 2021 to highlight the importance of civil society in Democracy at present time.
• One Day State Level Webinar on ” Ethics in politics issues in leadership and governance in democracies” organized by Department of Philosophy and Political Science in collaboration with the IQAC.
• Every year, all students and employees read out the Voters’ Pledge on the occasion of the National Voters’ Day.
Sensitizing students to develop respect for culture and environment
• Basanta Utsav, the colour festival of happiness is celebrated every year in the institution to sensitize students towards mutual harmony and positive energy.
• Students are encouraged to perform cultural activities, write poetry, draw paintings and recite their writings to observe/celebrate important days such as death centenary of Swami Vivekananda, observation of death centenary of Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Celebration of 74th Independence Day, Celebration of Birth Centenary of Poet Sukanta Bhattacharya, Teachers’ Day Celebration, Celebration of Durga Puja Utsav, Republic Day Celebration , Celebration of International Mother language Day, Celebration of International Women’s Day, Celebration of Rabindra Jayanti, Celebration of Nazrul Jayanti and Celebration of World Environment Day.
• Webinar on Biodiversity Conservation organized by Department of Conservation Biology
• Students were encouraged to participate in Great Backyard Bird Count.
• Bird Watching Programme organized in the College Campus.
• Optional Field visits, Virtual Laboratory visits on environmental aspects were organized.
Evidence of Success
The sensitization initiatives of the institution led to evidences which clearly reflect the cultivated sense of social, national, cultural and environmental responsibility among the students:
• During the COVID-19 pandemic situation, students themselves took initiative to supply cooked hygienic food to the local poor people, which reflects their sense of social responsibility.
• Students took part in the distribution of masks and sanitizers in the neighbouring areas.
• Students acted as volunteers for smooth conduction of National Means-cum-Merit Scholarship Examination and National Talent Search Examination in different schools of Durgapur for National Talent Search Examination 2021.
• NCC Students observed the Black Day to pay tribute to the 40 CRPF soldiers who were martyred at the Pulwama attack in 2019.
• NCC Students paid tribute to Sahid Rajesh Orang who was martyred during the face-off between Indian and Chinese troops in Galwan Valley of Ladakh. Students also interacted with the family of Sahid Rajesh Orang.
• During the pandemic situation, students planted saplings in their villages and wrote poems on the environment to express their concern for the environment on the occasion of World Environment Day.
• Four students secured the winner positions for the PowerPoint presentation competition on the World Earth Day organized by “Team Bengal CAN” (a network of several key stakeholders to create awareness about air pollution and its impacts on health – setup under the aegis of SwitchON Foundation).
• During the pandemic situation, students took initiatives to organize online cultural programmes and actively participated in all events.
Problems Encountered and Resources Required
• Due to the huge academic load of the CBCS curriculum and the delayed examination schedules of the university, students experience time constraints to participate in the beyond the curriculum activities.
• Lack of funds do not allow implementation of the social projects on a larger scale.
• In some departments, there is shortage of faculty members which imposes huge academic and administrative pressure on the faculty members, thus allowing them with very less time to contribute for beyond the curriculum activities along with the students.
• Shortage of non-teaching staff is also a major concern for successful maintenance of the environment-friendly initiatives.