Teachers of Jadavpur and Calcutta universities have started taking online classes for students, like some schools in the city have done, because of the lockdown triggered by the coronavirus.

Some teachers at Jadavpur University are using gaming platform “Discord” to hold classes from home during the 21-day lockdown that started on Tuesday midnight.

Teachers on the Ballygunge science college campus of Calcutta University are using videoconferencing app “Teamlink” to hold classes.

Metro had reported last week that Garden High International School was holding classes over Skype for students of classes IX-XII.

Discord is a digital distribution platform designed for video games. It specialises in text, image, video and audio communication between users through a chat channel.

“We had Skyped students initially. Now, we have gone for gaming platform Discord because it helps us connect to a large number of students in a better interactive mode,” a teacher said.

Teachers are holding classes at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels.

Abhijit Gupta, a former head of the English department at Jadavpur University, said he hoped the number of classes would be increased from next week. “Discord accommodates a large number of students, requires low bandwidth and is quite protective of the privacy of students,” Ekabali Ghosh, a student of MPhil in English at JU, said.

Sujay Ghosh, an associate professor of zoology at Ballygunge science college, said he had downloaded the videoconferencing app Teamlink. “After launching the app, one has to tap on start, enter an ID and password. The data gives access to the camera and microphone and users will be redirected to the virtual class. I took postgraduate classes on genetics on Wednesday afternoon through this. At least 75 students attended the class.”

Sabuj Kumar Chowdhury, an associate professor of library and information science at CU, said he had taken six classes online since March 16, using Microsoft Link.

JU vice-chancellor Suranjan Das appreciated the “innovative” approach. “No one knows when the lockdown will end. Virtual classes can help lessen its impact on students.”

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