Covid impact: IIMs push back academic schedules, to focus more on online & hybrid learning models

Most of the country’s top b-schools are pushing back their academic schedules by at least a month or even more, owing to the uncertainty over university exams in the wake of the Covid-19 coronavirus epidemic.

Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad (IIM-A) said it has pushed the admission date for second year students to around the first week of July. First-year students will join in in the last week of July. Preparatory classes will be held online.

Programmes dean at IIM-A Shailesh Gandhi also said that preparatory classes will be held online.

IIM Calcutta has pushed its opening date to July 13. The institute’s director Anju Seth said that they would focus more on blended learning programmed, and would extend this to more geographies. The institute would also increase the focus on live classes, rather than pre-recorded ones in its executive education programs, so that more discussions among faculty and students could happen.

IIM Kozhikode’s director Debashis Chatterjee said that classes would not begingbefore the end of July. This could even be extended to September if the nationwide lockdown continued for a longer period. Chatterjee said that hybrid models would be evolved to adapt teaching to the new situation. “We can focus on doing rote part online, but higher order thinking will have to happen in person.”

Typically, classes at IIMs begin in June – either earlier or later depending on the ranking of the institute. In some cases, they can also start in the first week of July.

IIM Lucknow’s director Archana Shukla said they hadn’t taken a decision on pushing back the new academic year for the full-time MBA students, and would wait until the end of the lockdown on May 3. “We may have to think of online mode for the one-year program,” said Shukla. The one-year program for executives was supposed to begin in April.

IIM Indore’s director Himanshu Rai said that they were planning to start classes for first-year students in August. “There will have to be greater research and innovation in online learning,” said Rai.

The institute will also be launching 5-6 short term online courses, which could be a week-long to forty-hour long programs. Rai said the subjects would likely be analytics (financial and human resource), marketing and leadership.

IIM Jammu’s director B S Sahay, on the other hand, said that they would not delay the admission for first-year students unless the lockdown was extended. Sahay said that first-year students could take provisional admissions, even if their university results had not come yet. Sahay, however, said they had a contingency plan in place for starting the year later as well.

“The first year courses were completed online – it worked really well. We’re exploring how we can take exams online as well,” said Sahay.

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