Wednesday, March 25, 2020

Curriculum Design and Teaching Pedagogy at The NorthCap University – The Differentiating Factors

The NorthCap University (NCU) believes that the higher education should be aligned to the needs of the market and be relevant to the problems of society. This ensures that the graduates coming out of the Universities become more employable and deployable and are capable of offering solutions to prevailing societal issues. What differentiates NCU is its unique approach towards offering wholesome , satisfying and rewarding teaching learning experience to its students through innovative curriculum development and teaching pedagogy ,the two critical components for fulfilling these objectives. 

Curriculum Development 

Keeping these in view , the curriculums of various programs have been upgraded and restructured. The new curriculums have been made more robust, flexible and inculcate problem solving and design thinking. The focus is on experiential and hands on learning, so important to bridge the gap between class room and industry.The NCU has always remained a front runner in developing curriculum and with the involvement of external experts from industry, academia and other stakeholders integrated several features to enhance student learning experience through some of the best practices as follows: 
  • Specialisations based on current and expected market requirements introduced in all programs, particularly engineering to make our students more employable 
  • Integrated out of class room learning like Tinkering Lab, Incubation Centre, professional society work and moot courts with curriculum to develop problem solving skills. 
  • General Proficiency course compulsory in all programs for holistic development of students by recognizing out of class room development of students through co & extracurricular activities. 
  • Special skill modules for slow learners and other students to provide market relevant skills 
  • Communication courses along with language lab to hone up reading, writing and speaking & also personality development courses for soft skill development 
  • Foreign Language course compulsory in all programs to give global perspective to students. 
  • Courses on Problem Solving and Creative Writing introduced to imbibe innovative & entrepreneurship spirit.
  • Curriculums in line with global trends with more courses on fine arts &liberal studies to develop creativity and sensitivity towards social issues. 
  • MOOC courses integrated into curriculum to develop the capability for self-directed lifelong learning 
  • Industry internship and multiple project work compulsory for all students for hands on experience and understanding industry live situations 
  • Large number of open electives introduced in each program to offer interdisciplinary courses in line with global trends and for holistic development of students 
  • Flexibility in curriculum to opt for specialisation of their choice in the beginning or during the programs 
  • · Benchmark our curriculums with some of leading Indian and global Universities and various other features to make the curriculum contemporary and job relevant. . 
Creation and Upgradation of labs 

Consequent to the revision of syllabi, introduction of new specialisations and increased emphasis on hands on experience, existing labs have been be upgraded and certain new labs have been set up. These include high speed computing lab, cloud computing lab, AR/VR technology development lab and of Internet of Things Lab. All these labs are in addition to the large number of labs which already been established over last many years in all branches of engineering and also practice labs in School of Management and School of Law. A unique experiment with positive outcomes has been introduced by setting up a Thought Lab for stress management. Further certain special skill development labs have also been established in collaboration with industries like Cisco,Maruti,ISRO,Daikin,Beijing Spectrum, Mitsubishi and so on catering to UG/PG and research programs at the campus. 

Teaching Pedagogy 

Updating curriculum alone is not adequate and delivery & its implementation is equally important. Therefore, teaching pedagogy also needs to be upgraded & aligned to industry needs for improving quality. Several Innovations in Teaching Pedagogy have been proposed and implemented at NCU to enhance employability of students. The focus is on identifying students’ aptitude and also on more practical work, industry exposure and hands on experience. Experiential learning has been scaled up across all courses to make learning more relevant to current societal needs. Some of the initiatives recently introduced are as follows: 

i) E-portfolio development to identify areas of student’s interest and provide skill enhancement in those areas and make the teaching learning an enjoyable experience for them 

ii) Experiential learning through association with industry experts for course delivery, design of special skill modules and implementing live projects and quality guest lectures by renowned experts in every course 

iii) Properly monitored Industry internships in good companies, particularly with some renumeration 

iv) Project based learning with a live industry project and mentoring by industry experts. 

v) Self-directed learning through MOOC certification and award of credits 

vi) Integration of co curricular activities like tinkering lab , professional societies , moot court , legal aid clinics etc. with specified courses for award of credit to encourage beyond the classroom learning and develop innovative approach , enhancing problem solving and creative thinking skills 

vii) Special skill enhancement courses every semester to align with industry needs 

viii) Extensive use of ICT with flipped class rooms,LMS, online tests & assignments, student presentations etc. for every course to extend the benefits of technology for teaching learning experience enhancements 

ix) Including Practice / Lab component with large number of courses in each program including case studies , moot courts and industry relevant experiments to give hands-on experience. 

x) Collaborative learning in classroom and on project work& peer tutoring to develop team spirit 

xi) Student exchange programs with leading foreign Universities like ITB Ireland. Michigan Technology University USA, Regina Canada and others 

xii) Faculty mentor for each student to provide guidance and counselling on academic and other matters 

Faculty Development & Upskilling 

Faculty development and upskilling has become critical in view of the introduction of many specialisations in all branches of engineering. Faculty need to be trained in new technology areas like artificial intelligence, cloud computing, cyber security, internet of things,augmented / virtual reality, smart cities and so on to meet the teaching resources requirements. A number of FDPs have been conducted byIn house senior faculty and external experts in these areas to prepare faculty to teach these courses. Further the faculty is also being oriented for more and more useof ICT and MOOC in teaching learning and other digital platforms. Some other faculty development initiatives include: 

i) Deputing faculty during non-teaching period for FDPs being conducted in IITs and other leading training institutes 

ii) Collaboration with foreign Universities for faculty and student exchange programs 

iii) Encourage faculty to go for industry externships for 4-5 days in each semester to gain live industry experience and gain practical insights into new technology areas. 

iv) Encourage faculty to deliver guest lectures in other Universities on emerging technology areas and participate national and international conferences. etc. 

Besides innovative curriculum and teaching pedagogy,NCU has excellent faculty, mostly Ph.Ds from well known Universities for content delivery supported by state of art multiple technology platforms for digital learning. The transparent & robust academic governance and quality monitoring systems also include regular student & faculty feedback. All these have helped us to earn prestigious rankings and accreditations like NIRF and ASIC (U.K) & keep us ahead of the curve. 

An aesthetic environment and vibrant academic ambience at NCU campus offers a very satisfying experience to our students and NCU keeps on enjoying the position of being a preferred destination for higher education in the region fulfilling its vision of growth with quality.

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