Going tech-savvy ahead of exams

Areeba Zaidi, a first year student of B.Tech in Psychological Sciences at Gargi College is growing impatient by the hour, as she awaits her new laptop while working on her presentation on voice of arts for the English foundation course.

“It’s almost the end of the semester. We are doling out one presentation after another as we need to get done with them by the end of October. These presentations and projects carry 75 per cent weightage in the exams while only 25 per cent goes for the written part of foundation courses.” In a course that is heavily dependent on technology, it was becoming imperative for students to have a personal laptop, a necessity recognised by Delhi University ahead of the declaration of the Four Year Undergraduate Programme.

Delivering on its promise, the university has released HP laptops with Ubuntu as its operating system in the beginning of October. Students are required to register for their laptops by submitting a copy of their ID cards along with an affidavit-which entails that the laptops would not be modified and would be returned by April 2014.
While Areeba’s  laptop is due to be released this week as her college has started the distribution process by registering students as per the alphabetical order of the departments, students in some colleges are not as lucky. For Vaishali Chowdhary, studying BA in English Honours in PGDAV college, the news about laptops still remains a rumour, “We are being told that the laptops will be out by 18 October, but there has not been any authoritative notice or announcement about the registration process until now.”

Speaking to different colleges, Metrolife confirmed that students in Sri Venkateswara College were amongst the first to use these newly released devices. Still, Dr AK Karathekar, the vice principal shares the concerns of the students, mentioning, “By now, it’s a little late for the laptops to arrive as their exams for the first semester are approaching by 20 November. We tried to release them as soon as the systems arrived by early October.” The college received 1062 laptops for the distribution process about 10 days ago; 25 laptops have been reserved for the teachers to facilitate learning on both the ends. Soon, students will get access to the college Wi-Fi connections to enable them to use internet inside the premises.

Now that the laptops are out, what lies ahead for the students of first year? Speaking about it, Dr N Latha, a professor of Biochemistry who is also a member of ILLL (Institute of Lifelong Learning), a nodal agency for creation of e-materials under Delhi University, says, “The idea is to create a virtual classroom which would promote interactive learning for the first year students. ILLL has already been uploading e-lessons and texts by teachers of DU to create an open source platform where knowledge can be accessed online.” She emphasises, that instead of criticising the open source software, Ubuntu, students and teachers should take it up as an opportunity to learn a  Linux based system instead of using windows. 

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