Offline, outdoor: MICA’s open-air classes get encouraging response

When more than half of the one-year Crafting Creative Communications (CCC) course at MICA Ahmedabad was conducted online amid the Covid pandemic, students were least hopeful of getting back to campus before their course completed. That is when the institute announced “open-air” classes.

The batch of 41 students attended a week-long story-telling session at a makeshift classroom in an open lawn, even as the institute is yet to resume its flagship post-graduate programmes on campus.

“We were aware of the hardships students face during the online classes. After confidence levels spiked with the commencement of vaccination and a drop in cases, the management offered us a provision to get students back to the classroom but in an outdoor setting, ensuring all the safety protocols,” said CCC chairperson, Nitesh Mohanty.

The institute made special arrangements for the open classroom with audio-visual facilities and charging points for laptops and mobile phones.

“Students of CCC need to work on their portfolios in the last leg of the course and hence we created an open classroom,” said Sunjay Chandwani, head of MICA’s estate and administration.

He added, “Before opening the campus to select students, the administration ensured sanitisation of the facilities daily, Covid tests, quarantine facilities and single occupancy rooms, to name a few. Students do not have access to the auditorium, library, and canteen, nor are they allowed to leave the campus. The staff continue to work from home.”

“We had given up the hope of attending classes on the campus… With this initiative of open-air classroom, we found newer ways of learning along with a feel of the old Gurukul system,” said Nidhi Netravalkar, a student.

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During the week-long session, the faculty also stayed on the campus. “It was similar to a bio-bubble arrangement for faculty as till the workshop was over, they were not allowed to leave the campus,” Prof Mohanty said.

This turned into their favour, according to the students. “Since the faculty was staying on the campus, there were no set teaching or learning hours. It was a kind of an immersive programme,” said Drishti Chikhal, another student.

With the encouraging feedback from students and faculty, the institute plans to conduct photography and film-making modules, too, outdoor.

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