Hyderabad: With the prevailing lockdown due to coronavirus, the International Institute of Information Technology Hyderabad (IIITH) has decided to conduct the spring 2020 semester entirely online. As a strategy to conclude the semester quickly to remove the cloud of the lockdown and the weight of the semester’s courses from the students’ heads, the institution has decided to do away with formal final examinations. The weightage of final examination will be distributed to less stressful and more hands-on components like assignments, projects, quizzes, reports, etc.
Prof P. J. Narayanan, director of IIIT-H said, “Evaluations based on more hands-on applications of concepts will stress the students less, though the work on the teachers may increase. Undesirable sharing is possible for such work, but we adopted it. It is good to not obsess excessively about every possible violation, as long as serious and hard-working students get their due.”
The institution has also decided to award a W (or Withdraw) grade in place of an F (or Fail) grade for courses. Both serve the same purpose as the student must meet the requirements later, said the institution. Students will be awarded only A, B, C, and W grades for courses, leaving out A-, B-, C-, and D grades.
Referring to the starting of classes, Mr Narayanan said, “IIIT-H started online classes on 23rd March. The institute took one week to test and train the faculty on the various technological solutions out there, Microsoft’s cloud-based solutions for email and other services we had adopted earlier. That included supported version of Teams, a tool suitable to run online classes. A big plus was the ability to record the classes including audio, video, slides, digital blackboards, etc. Students can access the video later even if they couldn’t attend the live class. Faculty are requested to keep notes and other study material on the LMS platform Moodle for students to access at will. We are aware that a small fraction of the students has poor to no access to online technologies. However, an overwhelming majority of the students are highly comfortable with technology and have adequate access."
Students who couldn’t take part meaningfully in the online phase of the courses – due to poor connectivity, or sickness to self or family, etc. – will be evaluated separately whenever it is safe.