Promoted by internationally renowned humanitarian and spiritual leader Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi (aka ‘Amma’), Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham (AVV, estb.1994) is a multicampus, multidisciplinary university that boasts 207 programs and 15 constituent schools across six campuses in the southern states of Kerala, Tamilnadu and Karnataka with headquarters at Ettimadai, Coimbatore, Tamil Nadu.
Accredited with ‘A’ grade by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council (NAAC), the deemed-to-be university offers over 150 undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D programmes across a choice of disciplines including Engineering, Business, Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Nursing, Ayurveda, Biotechnology, Arts and Sciences, Education, Communication/Journalism, and Social Work, among others.
In consonance with its founder’s vision “to be an exemplary institution that thrives on its commitment to the transformative power of value based education, providing the impetus to develop the expansiveness to harmonise both scientific knowledge and spiritual understanding, so as to utilise knowledge for societal benefit and contribute to a prosperous and sustainable future for all”, AVV provides a globally comparable educational experience rooted in Indian values and traditions.
“At Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham, our goal is not to create people who understand only the language of technology; the main purpose of education should be to impart a culture of the heart, a culture based on spiritual values,” says Sri Mata Amritanandamayi Devi, chancellor, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham. A recipient of the inaugural Vishwa Ratna Puraskar (Gem of the World Award) 2013 of the Hindu Parliament, she was conferred an honorary Doctorate in Humane Letters of the State University of New York, Buffalo (USA) in 2010.
Ranked #4 among India’s top universities in the National Institutional Ranking Framework (NIRF) Rankings 2020 of the Ministry of Human Resource Development (Government of India), in 2019 the varsity was also conferred with the ‘Institution of Eminence’ tag by the University Grants Commission (UGC).
Distinguishing features of an AVV education
AVV has earned a distinguished place in India’s higher education space through the provision of industry-aligned undergraduate, postgraduate and Ph.D programmes in both traditional and emerging disciplines. Besides, the varsity provides ample opportunities for honing students’ entrepreneurial skills and boasts several international collaborations, exchange programmes and community outreach initiatives including Live In Labs® and Humanitarian Technology (HuT) Labs.
Launched in 2013, AVV’s Live In Labs® is a platform which seeks to engage students in both academic learning and humanitarian pursuits – a space where students can apply conceptual knowledge to real-world problems and contribute to community and national development. With over 150 projects in 21 states across India, participants of this programme have touched the lives of approximately 60,000 rural residents over the last eight years.
Navigating the Covid-19 era
The novel coronavirus pandemic has unleashed not just a global health crisis but also unprecedented socioeconomic disruptions and education has been one of the worst impacted sectors. Against this backdrop, the AVV leadership team has stepped up to revamp all aspects of education delivery and institution management to ensure minimum disruption in the teachinglearning process through a comprehensive strategy outlined below.
During the early days of the pandemic when the likelihood of a national lockdown loomed large, AVV’s senior leaders deliberated on potential impacts of the lockdown on the functioning of the varsity and learning continuity of the students. Subsequently, the AVV top leadership’s farsightedness drove the accelerated deployment of innovative digital technologies-led teaching-learning solutions and the concurrent launch of a rigorous training programme to equip faculty members with digital competencies.
COVID19 educative & communication portal
Right at the outset of the pandemic, the university launched a web portal to facilitate better interaction with the students, faculty and other stakeholders and share timely and appropriate information on Covid-19 to mitigate it’s impact. The primary focus of the initiative was health and wellbeing of the entire AVV community. Among other measures, it included providing verified answers to frequently asked questions while also divulging updated and researched information on health and wellbeing from certified sources.
Leveraging the right technology platforms and LMS
With all the teaching and non-teaching staff working from home as a safety measure and schooling at home becoming the norm, all stakeholders of AVV started relying increasingly on video conferencing platforms to stay connected and engage in various academic and nonacademic activities. Throughout the pandemic, the teaching faculty of AVV faculty worked relentlessly to carefully curate self learning material, online content, assignments, exhaustive question banks, subject-specific audio lectures and relevant research.
AVV’s technology and domain experts also worked in tandem to develop an online learning management system (LMS) called AMPLE (Amrita Multiplatform for Personalized Learning and Evaluation). To address issues of remote connectivity errors and faulty internet connections, the LMS software was customised to allow students to write exams on desktop, laptops or mobile phones even at low bandwidth. The LMS has enabled the learning continuity of over 50,000 AVV students and all the resources on the platform are accessible to the faculty and students for future reference.
“Amrita University is an ecosystem of students, industry, and alumni including researchers, visionaries, and innovators from diverse disciplines and domains. Our aim has always been to provide the best-in-class educational experience to students by leveraging the full benefits of technology. Therefore, switching to online learning was comparatively a smoother process with our teachers adapting quickly to the new technologies driven teaching-learning practices and assessment systems,” says Brahmachari Maheshwara Chaitanya Ji, director, AVV, who has led the varsity’s online learning initiatives right from the outset of pandemic.
He has been associated with AVV for close to two and a half decades in various capacities including computer science teacher, admissions manager and deputy controller of examinations. He has also facilitated over 60 online and offline sessions on career guidance, computer science engineering, education and engineering counselling for AVV’s teachers and students. Chaitanya Ji was conferred with the ‘Asia Distinguished Leadership award’ in 2018 for his 10 year service in recognition of his commendable contributions to promoting competitive programming in India.
Training & Placement
Even before the onset of the pandemic, AVV had in place a fully functional, dedicated and dynamic Corporate & Industrial Relations (CIR) department to empower students in specific areas outside their regular curriculum. While working steadfastly to ensure a majority of students bagged placements and internship opportunities in reputed organisations well before the pandemic struck, the varsity’s CIR department put in extra efforts into forging strong industry ties for the development of a robust online placement process throughout the pandemic. Providing online resumes of students specifically tailored to the organisation and industry, facilitating online interviews through video conferencing platforms, among other initiatives of the CIR cell, ensured minimum disruption in the placement process despite the pandemic.
Shedding light on AVV’s future plans, Chaitanya Ji says, “Our efforts to integrate technology in learning has been further boosted by the launch of the visionary National Education Policy (NEP 2020). Students and parents can now adapt to user-friendly and free e-learning platforms driven by Artificial Intelligence and gamification to create a dynamic and engaging learning experience. With our renewed commitment to continuously seek feedback and innovate, we are now exploring ways to solve student concerns via innovative course design.”Posted in Campus, News