At the onset of the COVID-19 outbreak, the world went into lockdown. Schools and universities emptied, and learning was put on hold – with some parts of the world only just now reopening to students. As we come to terms with this new landscape it’s clear institutions that have been flexible and open to new technology are now leading the pack, which is why embracing hybrid teaching and learning is so important.
In 2003, the University of Petroleum and Energy Studies (UPES) was established in Dehradun, India to provide industry-focused and highly specialised courses essential to the success of high-growth areas. Today, with over 150 specialised programs, it stands apart as an institution of innovation, looking towards the future of energy. When the distancing measures came into effect earlier this year, UPES had already been using a hybrid teaching & learning model for 5 years. So, for staff and students, the transition to 100% online classes took only one week, considering their familiarity with a hybrid teaching & learning model and Blackboard solutions.
It began with a health advisory message to both students and faculty in the first week of March, but as the outbreak continued to spread, UPES made the bold decision to suspend in-person classes ahead of the national lockdown to protect students and teachers. Staff were allowed a week to prepare, and newer members were taught how to get the most out of Blackboard Learn, Blackboard Collaborate and other online resources to assist in delivering an engaging teaching experience at a distance. With the entire institution now online, students were able to resume their learning after only a brief pause.
“We trained students for over 2,100 internships in April 2020 with Masterclasses by industry experts and workshops. The level of engagement and interaction is better than what I had expected.” said Pooja Khanna, Manager-EDGE, Career Services at UPES.