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UGC’s Digital Hygiene handbook to help teachers follow cyber security protocols – Times of India

Online and hybrid learning during the pandemic highlighted the demand for increased cybersecurity in academia. To handle this, UGC released a ‘Digital Hygiene’ handbook that lists tips for the teachers to ensure safe virtual classrooms. This handbook will help students and teachers in the rural parts, who were suddenly exposed to digital learning. The handbook offers information on the concepts of safe cyberspace protocols and teachers’ redefined roles for using digital tools. These protocols aim to expand the role of teachers as mentors.


Guiding the teachers


Exposure to EdTech learning and virtual classrooms increased the challenge for the teachers, who are facing the additional duty of handling cyber security besides teaching.

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Sudharshan Mishra, head, Department of Education, Ravenshaw University, Cuttack, Odisha told that the UGC handbook has listed a set of rules on what to do and what not do, and this will help teachers to utilise the allotted teaching hours in more productive manner. He says, “The protocols have brought one such sharp qualitative teaching option for achieving learning goals. Besides this, responsibilities of teachers and their teaching style are also redefined and have got diversified, making us aware of secure online pathways to preparing and delivering a lesson plan in a tech-savvy style”
Mishra further told that to keep students engaged in virtual classroom, teachers do keep a track of all asked queries or doubts and respond to all communications, mostly on a real-time basis. He says,” Besides, answering queries raised at discussion forums, chat rooms, videos, or other forms of the virtual classroom, teachers have to remain available for students after the class hours too.”


Not so tough compliance

Adapting to online classes was relatively easier for teachers at Delhi University (DU) and its affiliated colleges, than for those in rural areas or the interiors. Priyanka Choudhary, Assistant Professor, Motilal Nehru College, DU says, “Even though we have not received any official circular regarding protocols to be followed for online classes, we conducted the sessions without hassle since we had a basic understanding of technology and the threats associated with it.” Most teachers learnt to make slides and interactive methods in online classes. In the second phase, online classes were conducted with the help of digital tools like pen tablets and Google classroom integrated presentation aid Haiku Deck, she adds


Protocols and problems

Teaching in online mode was not easy for rural school teachers in the initial days of pandemic. They had their own set of problem to comply with protocols, which were not even well defined at that time. Antara Mitra, Biology Post Graduate Teacher (PGT) at Notre Dame Academy located in Patna, Bihar says, “We began online class by video recording on a selected topic and explaining the content. Soon, we realised that this was not good enough method of teaching to stimulate discussion and instil question probing habit among students.”

Commenting on the handbook’s guidelines, she said that now onwards, the problem of lack of seriousness to follow the protocols of online session of a scheduled class will be addressed adequately.

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