Tuesday, 31 July 2012

assessment of colleges

For a college where 75% courses are undergrad courses, where teachers typically have a 22-24 classes/week and a whole lot of admin work, how much research activity can there be?
A remark made by a NAAC assessing team member that the college must produce much more research, "whatever be the quality", has made me wonder. What is the reason that one must "do research" of dubious quality, in order to become a good teacher of undergrads?
I think this kind of "doing research" between the 3rd and the 6th period lectures, is no good for improving teaching skills or research skills. The people who do such research, rarely visit any library, do not have access to online journals.....so I always wonder how they go about their research.
Some people get research grants for this kind of work. I think the grant could have been given to a more serious researcher, or the money could have gone to build a lecture hall or library or some such resource.

Sunday, 22 July 2012

New post-retirement option

Sometime back, there was this mail in my inbox asking me to become a guide for students enrolled for a PhD. I let slip this lucrative career option of facilitating others to get fake PhDs.

Now a new scam could be my post retirement option for making money.

In the continuous evaluation scheme for CBSE, students are given projects to do. Some enterprising ladies have set up "project manufacturing units".
They work from home, charge a couple of thousands and make projects for different school children. These professional projects would of course earn these kids good grades.

Like I said before, every solution has a problem lined up next to it.

posting articles.

There is one thing which I am not clear about. Would be grateful if some reader would clarify.
Suppose I am a subscriber to a journal/magazine (paid). I receive articles online.
Suppose I post in my blog, an article from the magazine-with proper attribution ,stating name of magazine, issue and author of article. I am allowing non-paying readers to access what was paid content.

Is that illegal / legal but objectionable / perfectly fine?

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Evaluation

Further to my previous post, like I wonder how reliable the student feedback on our teaching are, similarly, I wonder how reliable the continuous evaluation scheme in schools are. Can teachers rise above personal preferences, friendship with parents of their pupils, or just cussedness and evaluate children honestly? I have heard many children say that no matter how good their projects are, only X will get good grade.
There are some students who may not be likeable, but may do great work. Will teachers be objective enough to give them good grades? However, continuous evaluation does relieve the exam pressure.
The depressing conclusion is that no system covers all bases.

Feedback

We have a system of student feedback where students evaluate their teachers on various parameters. I teach a class that is made up of 3 sections (all sitting together). Each section has different subject combinations in addition to Chemistry. The total class strength is around 60.
In my evaluation, for the parameter "class control" two sections have given me 4.2 and 4.5 on 5 and one section average is 2.5.
They all sit together for my class. A low value of the parameter "class control" means that I allow the class to get noisy and that I am not able to get their attention for my lecture. So how can I get different values in the same class for a parameter that is not very subjective ?
In fact, I did not really pay much attention to this when I got my report, but my colleague in the Chemistry Dept had also got a similar score in the same parameter and mentioned it to me.
Is the feedback format faulty? or do the students not understand what is to be done? Or do they just randomly mark whatever they please and it has averaged to 2.5 ?

Thursday, 12 July 2012

future economists

I was watching the graduation ceremony of the LSE. A surprising number of Chinese and Indians in the graduating class......they form the majority, specially of the BSc degree awardees..... and further, a majority of these are girls.
I hope these youngsters will turn the world economy round and change the world order where 10% people have 90% of all the wealth.

Tuesday, 10 July 2012

http://www.lpu.in/


These are some of the private universities I have come across-- there are some more.
One of them, LPU, has this lovely website with nice pictures. The library looks amazing, the buildings are awesome. Their TV ad is also impressive-- 18000 students accomodated in their hostel!!! I mean, 2000 young men and women are tough number to maintain in hostels. (However, the name 'Lovely Profesional University' is a bit much.)

In some of them, you cannot find out anything about the faculty and in others, there is just some details about the few top profs. - nothing about the rest.
Galgotia has 5,
Amity has 4
Could not locate any in the Sarda U website--maybe I didn't look hard enough
LPU --cannot find any names.
They are all voted ' best university' by some organisation or the other.
I really wonder what they are really like.

On the other hand, SRM and VIT etc have websites with much more relevant information. For example, VIT and SRM have NAAC accreditation.

Sunday, 8 July 2012

Professionalism

Is professionalism a teachable trait?
In continuation of my previous post, which led to some discussion, I just repeat myself...can we make a professional? not necessarily good engineers or whatever, but just instill professionalism as a way of life in most of the children such that they carry it throughout their lives?
Is it possible if started early enough, to instill professionalism?


When I was a child, festivals were fun. They were about good food, perhaps new clothes, some token praying (from the kids' point of vie...