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Classes@IIIT October 7, 2006

Posted by Karan in IIIT centric.
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8:30 A.M The schedule time for the class to start. The Prof is all set with his slides, but students.. there are hardly five of them seated, in a class of 140!

8:35 A.M Seeing no other go, the Prof starts the class with about twenty students on board.

8:45 A.M A swarm of students enter the class, fearing the closure of the door.

9:45 A.M This is the time when the maximum number of students enter the class, just for the sake of attendance, damn the 85% attendance rule X-(

 

Well, this is the story of one of the supposedly top colleges of India. Now for some facts. The fees we pay per semester is 35K+. Taking in the point that some of the money is used for infrastructure maintenance, and lots of it for research (wonder how much.. and is it all that necessary?), there is still a lot of cash which goes into the classes. Definitely, more than 50 bucks per class. And how do students spend their time in the classes? Sleeping, SMSing, catching up with novels and friends are the hot activities. Listening to the class, you must be joking! And why should they listen? We have some of the most boring professors around. Of course, a lot of the blame lies with the complacency of the students, but remember, these are some of the most sincere and hard working students around, who have sweated it out throughout their lives. So, there has to be something wrong in the system too. Take my case. After screwing up my second semester in comparison to the first, I had decided to make amends this time around. I had decided to pay attention to the classes. However, what most of my Professors (save a couple of them) do is to read out stuff from slides or material prepared from textbooks (which even my grandmom can do well). Who would be interested in listening to such classes, when there is much better stuff to do 😀 . And to say that listening to classes ensures good marks in the exams would be a big mistake. There are innumerable examples in my class, where students score top marks without paying too much attention in the class, and vice versa.

 

Anyways, here are a few points I would like to make:

 

1)      Why have so many students in a single classroom, when it is so very difficult to manage them? It’ll be much better if each room has a strength of about 50-60 students. And it definitely shouldn’t be too difficult for the professors to repeat what they have taught.

2)      One and a half hours for a single class! Even by our standards, that’s way too long. It’s a commonly known fact that the average span over which a person can remain at the top of his concentration does not cross 30-40 minutes. It’s nearly impossible to pay attention for more than an hour, and this invariably leads to grumblings within the class towards the latter half of the class. Frustration creeps in on both sides.

3)      I suggest the methods of teaching be looked into once again. Teaching from the slides and prepared material from the text books just leads to waning interest among students. The best respected professors, Dr.Jawahar, Dr.Jayanthi, Mr Marathe, Mrs Marathe and Dr.Anoop are the ones who do not do so. They are the ones who use the board more often, and try to cover the critical aspects, which the students may not understand dexterously. A course like Operating Systems could have been very interesting, but for the method of teaching, which just acts as a  major turn off.

4)      Finally, I question the benefits of an attendance rule and advocate its withdrawal. Not having such a rule will ensure that the interested students stay put.

 

I guess this is an issue everyone should look into and contemplate. For our institute to stay on top, how long can we allow such a sorry situation to prevail?   

 

 

Comments»

1. Pankaj Saini - October 7, 2006

yeah….i agree…but don’t reduce the class..size….it will deny me the pleasure of reading…(novels…of course..)…the only thing can be improved is the way of teaching…..and of course profs…if it is possible…..they are better in research works….i person who has vast amount of knowledge may not prove out to be a good teacher…..thats what the problem with this distinguished faculty of ours…is…..class duration yeah it shud be less than one hour………..and attendence rule of course…sucks……those who want to attend will most definitely attend even if there isn’t any such rule……

2. pk - October 7, 2006

Well…..I am sure most of us wud find this agreeable….
The way u write is as gud as ever(nothing new 😉 )….
Wat I must congratulate u upon though is the guts that u have shown writin this post….
Well done be…I sure hope the faculty reads this….
AND instead of takin it personally (which i am sure some of them will..)
do something about this SITUATION

3. Deepti - October 7, 2006

Well said abt the methods of teaching.n a change in them…But i think u cud have elaborated on the part of the post abt how we spend time n njoi to d max in our classes…[:)]

4. Maruti - October 7, 2006

yeah .. i totally agree with you . I think the teachin methods shud change big time . Nowadayz ppl are reading newspapers in the classroom . I guess future batches will drink coffe or may be smoke in classes 😉 .

5. Kapil - October 7, 2006

Yes Karan I agree with you completely …. You have once again raised the same matter which many have done before ( bu t no solution ) ……You also presented solutions or alternate methods in which also i completely support you ……
I think the decision makers and the advocates of this policy must be made to attend some of our classes then they will understand our problems…..
And i hope that some day there will be some solution .
Keep up the good work

6. namrataalltheway - October 7, 2006

Classes and education well dont sound good when takn in the same breath atleast not in IIIT.Couldnt agree more with you on this post.The lenght of the classes is pretty long.Lot of ppl actually sleep ,wake up, read a novel ,send about 10 messgs, chat ,have fun and sleep all over again within one class!!Attendence rulz are pathetic and that wud be an understatement.Hope that something concrete can be done instead of we ppl just cribbing about it.And amidst all this shud say that nice piece of work.

7. Sugandh Rakha - October 7, 2006

The points made are quite valid. I am working since long to put a case against the attendance rule. And I have been able to collect quite a good amount of material too. I guess I should be finalizing it tabling it for the SLC soon.

8. Apocalypse - October 7, 2006

loads of people are on the “ban attendance” bandwagon arent they? well, i am not, and i seriously think that while 85% attendance is a bit draconian, something like 65% is absolutely NECESSARY.

i’ll make it short – and i’ll compress everything i have to say into three points, you may or may not agree –

1. if it werent for compulsory attendance, i am sure i would have learnt much, much less than what i have. and i do sleep in class, whenever an opportunity arises. but just going there and listening to half of what the prof says – its better than spending twice as much time with a book.

2. if there were no attendance, i would not go to any class. not a single one, not even the most interesting one. nor would anybody else i know.

3. assume the “no compulsory attendance” rule is implemented. whats the bloody point of employing and paying profs if for a class of 140, just 5 people come for all classes? why even pay profs? let us save the money and just build up a super-massive library, where students can read whatever they want, and just go give the midsem/endsem.

besides, just what will you do all day long, for a few months in each sem? 😀

9. Dahaka - October 8, 2006

1) the major factor which might prevent this division of batches into 3 or 4 is, unfortunately, time. Most of the faculty dont have time. And you cant expect any prof in any institute to be free most of the time and in our institute with guest profs, research oriented profs….finding time to teach for three batches!! hmmmmmm I doubt it.

2)the one hour classes will be good. With sufficient intervals between classes like about 5 mins or 10 mins for people to move to other classrooms or sometimes other buildings 😦 this can be done.

3) I dont see any prob if you were taught using ppts and other means…. according to me ….dont complain abt the teaching method coz it is the prof who teaches that makes the diff some are good at using board, some other ppts….. The problem I saw in ur case is the prof using the means of teaching which he wasn’t that good at.

4) And finally the topic on which the debate (between students and profs) that will never end in any institute….attendance policy…There are so many people like me (I can guarantee you atleast 75%) who try to bunk classes but because of this policy, attend them and learn something. Even 100% wont be a problem (it is just a figure of speech dont curse me for the use of 100% and I will not be responsible for any consequence because of this stupid usage 🙂 ) untill they follow it properly and give proper room for proper unavoidable circumstances which lead us to bunk classes …. like we cant bring doctor certificate for small fever which paralyses us in the morning and leaves u by evening. and karan….blogs are not the proper place to discuss attendance policy 😀

PS: please please dont get excited in literary events 😛 😀 no offense meant…

10. Shark - October 8, 2006

As apocalypse said something like 65 to 75 % of attendence will do. In years gone by there were batches (98,99,2k) who really abused the no attendence rule. People did entire courses without attending a single class. That’s not really healthy for the institute. However the solution is not good. Deducting grades is for lack of attendence is not the worlds brightest idea! (This one is for the sake of BC….Whose brainchild was this rule?? Zulu, Camel ???? ) and as long as profs allow u to get in at 9:45 who cares 😀

11. tipo - October 8, 2006

interesting points people have made here. let me just say that the system of teaching is not going to change here. In fact, i don’t care even if it does. To be honest, I’ve made it this far only because of my class mates (and I guess thats how it should be, the faculty is just going to touch the topics they consider important) . As a fellow student who faced similar problems in the first yr, my advice to you is to accustom urself to the system of examination here. *No comments on the attendance issue*.

12. Apocalypse - October 8, 2006

forgot to mention one thing – if you really care about this, and want more views on this, go to the DF and start a debate. im sure many people would have something to say on this topic, and you will get more view-points than you do on a blog. 😀

(there are enough places telling you where the DF is :P)

13. mythalez - October 8, 2006

1. No point in discussing the attendance policy .. nothing wil come of it.

2. @maruti, “guess future batches will drink coffe or may be smoke in classes 😉 ” – all these have been accomplished already :P.

3. in the next yr when u take electives, some of the classes would have just 20-30 students . . but the situation may not be different at all.

4. the usp of top colleges like ours is that the students are top notch and learn frm each other … and u get freedom to choose ur areas of specialisation .. not classes .. 😛

14. Turbine Musings - October 8, 2006

My take on attendance policy

A hot debate is going on on Karan’s blog regarding the attendance policy. Here I am presenting my own views and solutions.

15. Turbo - October 8, 2006

Hey.. I tried to do a manual trackback ping ( blogger does not support trackback). But it didn’t quite come the right way.
So the above comment was actually meant to be a trackback.

16. playboi - October 9, 2006

wont work honey. Do all you want. Those people wont change for anything. Try talking about this in FSIS. They will say ” we will think about it” and their thoughts will never be passed back to you. Send a mail to one of the faculty telling him about your thoughts on institute, and he will go running and show it to the director. Like a kid running to his father.
IIIT was much better 4 years ago. But then power went to faculty and “SLC”.

I am so happy i passed out in the nick of time.

I swear till the people “running” the insti are same, there wont be any help from majority of the alumnous

17. novice - October 9, 2006

i think there is no need for attendence policy…. i was very happy in my first year when we had no attendence rule….
Atttendence means only physical presence nd u can’t force nebody to listen to u until tht person is intersted in listening to it….
So they r just wasting the time of a student which can be devoted to the thing callled research by these people by a student…
so according to me, there shdn’t be ne attendence rule….

18. iiit rocks - October 10, 2006

I DEMAND TO HAVE A 100% ATTENDENCE POLICY.

PS: I AM SO NOT !KIDDING

19. Manish Arora - October 11, 2006

Yeah,i do agree dat attendance policy(85%) sux.Bt as already mentiond by many above,dere shud b at least sum compulsion on attendance so as 2 make us regular(not because v get sth in classes).
Well,many guys say dat prof ‘X’ is “trying” to teach well,he z doin his best…bt i prceive dat v hv a professional relationship vid d prof n not personal,so a prof vid less knowledge bt gud teachin skills is more desirable dan a prof vid gud knowledge bt pathetic teachin skills(which is d case i gess vid most of d profs,sry 2 say bt v all know dat dis is true).On the slides/ppts issue,i gess translatin slightly high level Eng into easier one will not work,vt actually xpectd r d concepts.So i gess vid such a sry situation,dere z no use in attendin classes.As u know dat dis thing has been discussd a lot many times even vid faculty bt nth came out of it.So,it wud b b8r if v acclimatize ourselves vid d situation which most of us hv already done.Newayz, a gud post vid a gud topic 4 discussion.

20. lifeizlikethat - October 12, 2006

Well dood you have raised a very valid point. Its good that someone raised it so that faculty comes to know abt it but i for my part am not in favour of completely scarpping the attendance policy there should be some limit but it shouldnt be as stringent as the current one.come on man 85% is way way too much. I guess i dont have to say much about the standard of teaching of some of the profs, many people have written abt it. Brave of you to hav raised it….

21. viks - October 16, 2006

its completely agreeable…..the attendance policy shud be changed…..& the way of teachin is the major problem………as u have mentioned sm of the teachers whohave the power to make the students stick to the seats & listen them though Mrs.Jayanthi didn’t even took the attendance….the last thing the duration of the class shud also be reduced becoz its very hard to bear the profs & the lectures 4 1.5 hours……so maroo now its up to u to do smthin as u r our forthcmin CR…..:D

22. Aditya - October 26, 2006

well..to scrap the atendence policy altogether isn’t a great idea as such…one has got to analyse this issue more deeply before coming to such strong decisions…one has to notice that there are certain advantages of having compulsory attendence…most important of them is the fact that the compulsion to attend classes brings (or rather forces) regularity in students…just imagine people sleeping 5 at nights and getting up at noon time daily…while many may see no harm in such a routine, such disorderly life would have adverse affects on people…people have said here that certain teachers do have the power to keep people glued to their seats for the entire span of class…but the question of people being able to bear the class easily arise only when people go to class at the first place…so there’s a need to study the matter more meticulously for better conclusions

23. daksh - December 11, 2006

All IIITs are same.. aren’t they

be it Pune,Bangalore, Kolkatta

24. Karan - December 11, 2006

@ daksh.. no dude.. they’r different. v @ iiit hyd r the best among all, and match the levels of the iits in terms of comp science. v have the top notch mncs and other companies comin over here every year for placement, whcih needless to mention is over 100%


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