March 26, 2009
- There is something wrong with present state of undergraduate engineering education at NITC.
- There is hope for change.
Justifications for the premise
- General conversations, blogs, reduced level of motivation in students and teachers - none of them conclusive, but very indicative of something wrong somewhere.
- Lot of people are agreeing that there is something wrong somewhere and analyzing the reasons and trying to take corrective measures. Seems a good time to pitch in and help in a way that I could.
Purpose of this articleis not to
- prove or disprove the premises or
- to find the culprit
but, it is to
- investigate a bit into what could be wrong where,
- provide a (very subjective) list of things that can be done to bring about a positive change and
- to give a specific UG curriculum in tune with the above spirit for the B.Tech program in ECED, NITC.
- I may be wrong.
- But I firmly believe in this now and I will believe thus till someone convinces me otherwise.
- I will always remain open to anyone who wants to convince me otherwise.
- I limit myself in these thoughts to the cognitive domain.
What could be wrong and where?
Many students feel that
- they are forced to study and not inspired to study.
- they have very limited freedom in choosing what to study with in their chosen degree program.
- lecture is not a very effective means of learning
- labs do not encourage actual experimenting
- they are forced to write too many exams
- they have very little time left for extra curricular activities
Some faculty feel that
- students may be right
- students are not college ready as they used to be in the days when they left school after 10th standard.
- change in society's priorities have changed the priorities of students too.
What can be done about it?
Soul Searching(I'm limiting myself here to the cognitive domain responsibility
of the system. I'm unprepared to comment on the affective domain
- the primary responsibility of an undergraduate educational system should be
- to inspire,
- to set free,
- to give time and
- to give resources to the students.
- the secondary responsibility is
- to help them with their learning and
- to evaluate the outcome
Who and hoWI think we are already doing a pretty good job with the secondary responsibilities. But we can improve a lot on the primary responsibilities
|who's job||how (mainly)|
|to set free||curriculum|
|to give time||curriculum|
|to give resources||system|
The new teacher should
- (in her own unique way) inspire the students to learn
- mentor the students in their process of learning
The new curriculum should
- give more types of B.Tech degrees
- Minimal B.Tech (something to the tune of 120 credits)
- B.Tech with major in one discipline (120 credits) and a minor in another. (30 credits)
- B.Tech with honors in one discipline (150 credits)
- B.Tech with one major (120 credits) and two minors (60)
- B.Tech with honors (150 credits ) and research output (30 credits)
- have lesser total number of courses and credits
- About 4 courses per semester. 2 of them may have a lab component.
- On an average of 15-16 credits per semester for the week student, 19-20 for the majority and 23-24 for the exceptionally motivated student.
- give a smaller pool of core courses and a larger pool of electives.
- The choice of what goes as core may be based upon the corresponding GATE syllabus.
- Can have lab or project based courses in the pool of electives.
- Can have seminars based contact courses in the pool of electives
- flexible way of earning the credits with in a course (exams + seminars + project + lab demonstration)
- participation based evaluation component (rated discussion forums, voluntary seminars, ...)
The new system should
- leave the labs accesible to students any time
- allow students to initiate purchase of custom equipments using system funds
- provide a collection of open online discussion forums (for various subjects)
- arrange out of syllabus talks and workshops regularly (and allow students to invite experts whom they want in campus)
- provide platform for students to give voluntary presentations to larger audience
A proposed curriculum for B.Tech in ECE
The choice of core is mostly based upon EC GATE syllabus.
|1||Linear Algebra and Vector Calculus||1||3||1||0||4|
|3||Physics for Electronics (??)||1||3||1||0||4|
|6||Electronics and Computer Workshop||1||0||0||3||2|
|Sem Total (S1)||11||5||6||20|
|7||Transforms and Infinite Series||2||3||1||0||4|
|9||Logic System Design||2||3||0||3||5|
|10||Electromagnetic Field Theory||2||3||1||0||4|
|Sem Total (S2)||14||2||6||20|
|12||Probability and Statistics||3||3||1||0||4|
|13||Network Theory & SPICE Lab||3||3||1||3||6|
|14||Solid State Devices & Devices Lab||3||3||1||3||6|
|15||Signals and Systems||3||3||1||0||4|
|16||Physical Ed / Value Ed||3/4||0||0||2||P/F|
|Sem Total (S3)||12||4||6||20|
|17||Differential Equations & Complex Analysis||4||3||1||0||4|
|18||Electronic Circuits and Circuits Lab||4||3||1||3||6|
|19||Micro Processors and Micro Controllers||4||3||1||3||6|
|20||Random Processes and Analog Communication Theory||4||3||1||0||4|
|21||Physical Ed / Value Ed||3/4||0||0||2||P/F|
|Sem Total (S4)||12||4||6||20|
|22||Linear Integrated Circuits & IC Lab||5||3||1||3||6|
|23||Digital Signal Processing and DSP Lab||5||3||1||3||6|
|Sem Total (S5)||20|
|26||Communication Theory (IT & DC) and Communication Lab||6||3||1||3||6|
|Sem Total (S6)||20|
|31||Major Project + Electives||7||15|
|32||Major Project + Electives||8||15|
|Grand Total (Majority of Students)||150|
- Department electives should be in at least two pools (Electronic Systems and Devices, Communication and Signal Processing) ... and the department should ensure that at least 6 electives are offered from each pool in each semester.
- Any student who opts for honors in his major should be allowed to take PG courses as electives.
- Any elective course in any department should be a global elective for other departments.
- A student can opt for any number of global electives, but she should ensure that she will take at least 120 credits from the department curriculum.
- A student can choose to schedule her project and elective load between semesters 7 and 8 so as to facilitate those who wish to do a project with an industry or another academic institution.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be kindled."
~ Plutarch, On Listening to Lectures