Resolving the Unresolved: Ask A Question 8.0

Resolving the Unresolved: Ask A Question 8.0

Mar 06, 2017 | Anubhav Singh Satyajit Mahapatra

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Even the slightest misinformation can lead to situations unimaginable. Thus it is imperative for the NIT-R junta to be educated about the functioning of the institute and the various rules that come along with them. In the eighth installment of ‘Ask A Question’ Team MM tries its best to removes the veils of doubt surrounding various issues concerning the students. 

Responses from the Dean Academics, Prof B. Majhi:

1. Can a previously failed Extra Academic Activity of Odd Semester be retaken in an Even Semester or vice-versa?

BM: Currently there is no provision for retaking a failed Extra Academic Activity of odd semester in an even semester as the time slot for the activities might clash. However, if a student feels that the time slots of his/her Extra Academic Activity does not clash, he/she can approach me regarding the same and appropriate steps shall be taken.

2. What is the reason behind not giving enough gaps between consecutive examinations both in mid-semester exams and end semester exams?

BM: We have a fixed number of working days for a particular semester. If we start allocating one-day gaps for every examination, the duration of the examination will be prolonged and the necessary quota of classes will not be met. That is the reason for not providing gaps in the mid-semester exams and end semester exams.

3. Is there any transparent procedure of validating the grades/results received in the end semester exams? Why are not the results of the end semester exam ever disclosed?

BM: We have explicit instructions for teachers to reveal the marks of the mid-semester as well the end semester exams to the students in a transparent manner. If need be one class should be dedicated to showing the papers of the subject to the students. As far as the end semester examinations are concerned we have a 15 days window within which a student can request the teacher for his/her answer sheet and validate the marks awarded. If the student is not satisfied with the marks awarded he/she should apply for a rechecking.  

4. In cases where the course load of a subject is considered excessive and it burdens the students, is there any way the course syllabus can be revised?

BM: We are an autonomous institute. Every teacher in this institute has been given the flexibility of determining the syllabus of their respective subjects. If students consider the course load to be excessive, they can approach the concerned teacher with a request to omit particular chapter/s for the mid-semester or final semester examinations. Moreover, if students think that enough time has not been dedicated to a particular portion of the syllabus they can request the teacher for extra classes as well. But as far as the academic office is concerned, I cannot instruct a teacher to reduce the course content.

5. Can any random student attend the Departmental Seminars, which are sectioned under "Events this week" in the institute website?

BM: The seminars listed under ‘Events this Week’ are open to all. So students irrespective of their departments can attend the seminars.

6. What is the procedure to apply for a provisional certificate after the end of the final semester?

BM: For the provisional certificates, we prepare them at the end of the semester and send it to the students in one go. If a student wants to collect the certificates sooner he/she can; after the results are published he /she can come to the institute and collect the certificates.

7. Can you provide us with the details regarding the attendance system for dual degree students in the 5th year?

BM: As soon as the students enter into their thesis semester, the biometric attendance covers everything. The final year students can afford 15 days of casual leave beyond which there will be stipend deduction for the students.

8. In a previous edition of “Ask a Question”, you had said that Dual degree students receive the stipend for 12 months. However, after enquiring with seniors I came to know that was not the case. They receive a stipend for 10 months only. So is there any way to address this problem. Although Prof. B. Majhi had assured that he would look into the matter, has any step been taken in this regard?

BM: Since the students are available on the campus until the month of April, the students receive their stipend for a period of ten months only. They start receiving their stipend from the month of July to the month of May in the following year.

9. Can a research project be done completely in summer, that is 8 credits if backlog subjects are completed in the normal academic year for B.Tech students?

BM: Yes it can be done. As far as I am aware the current system has this provision and many students do follow this practice.

10. For some courses, video recording takes place in PPA. Yet, these courses are conducted every year and it is mandatory for students to attend the classes. Then what is the point of video recording?

BM: Video recorded classes are not a substitute for classroom teaching. If that would have been the case, there would have been no need for classroom teaching anywhere because NPTEL video lectures would have served the need. The video recording of the lectures is aimed at complementing a student’s efforts, but that does not necessarily render the classes for the subjects useless.

11. Is a teacher allowed to mark a student absent as a punishment for poor results in tests/answering questions?

BM: No a teacher is not allowed to do so. If any teacher is doing so, students can directly contact me.

12. What were the criteria for the selection of students for JENESYS 2017 program?

BM: Since we were in a rush for the selection of students for the program, we decided to go with the students with the highest CGPA. That was the criteria for selection of students for JENESYS 2017.

13. Can we expect an attendance leisure for final year students in next academic year so that they can attend many companies?

BM: No relaxation in attendance would be provided for the students in their final year as far as placements are concerned. They are currently provided 6 TnP leaves along with 6 casual leaves (for a 3 credit course).

14. The would be defunct OEs like Discrete Mathematics, Communicative English, FEM, Vacuum Physics are helping students in interdisciplinary works and thus help in widening their academic horizons. Dry and demanding OEs can be redesigned and its gist presented beforehand in ANKTCEL video lectures. In addition, no one dislikes an OE on Disaster Management, offered by Department of Civil Engineering, yet the department could not complete the OE quota. What is your take on this OE mismanagement and reformulation, then going for the ultimatum?

BM: For the upcoming batch of 2017, the concept of OE will be abolished and only three Open Elective courses will be offered. There will be two Open Electives courses offered from the Department of Humanities and one from the School of Management.

As far as the OE management is concerned, I do not think we have done a very good job in that. I do not think the current system of Open Elective allotment is really serving its purpose. Since these are Open Elective courses, the students should read the courses that interest them, but every course has its limitation and we cannot accommodate more than a fixed number of students in a particular course. The current algorithm that we follow while distributing Open Electives also makes it difficult for every student to get his/her Open Elective Course of choice. I have not actually figured out a better way to make the Open Elective courses more efficient, but I am open to suggestions from the side of the students who can provide a better way to manage the ‘Open Electives’.

15. Why are we un-enrolled automatically in Moodle for a particular course if we are inactive in Moodle for a week? This cause inconvenience for both students and faculty, thus discouraging the use of Moodle.

MM: There is no such rule that un-enrolls students from a particular course in Moodle if they are inactive in Moodle for a week or so. Kindly check with your concerned teacher in such cases of discrepancy.

16. When I joined NIT-Rourkela I was good in studies but after that, I started losing my interest in studies and now it is completely gone. It is not only with me there is a huge crowd of students like me. How do you think is the current education system in the campus responsible for it?

BM: Yes, I do concur with his observation. This is definitely a problem with a major fraction of students in the institute. A number of factors are also demotivating the student as well. First, the teaching-learning process has not been very efficient in the past few years. Many professors do not take their classes seriously. The teaching-learning environment is not very conducive, so the students are also losing their interest in the subject as well. The class size is also a factor because not everybody has the same learning capacity. Students are exposed to a higher degree of heterogeneity here as compared to what they have experienced before. Students come from a situation where the teachers used to care for them to a place where they have to take care of themselves. A lot of changes involving food, the hostel does indeed affect the student’s interest and willingness to learn.

We are not doing a lot about the class size for the upcoming batches, but we will be taking the help of the senior students to help and guide the students from their first semester itself. Every student will have a one-to-one correspondence with their seniors for the first two years after which they will become the guides for the students in their third year of study. We are also planning to ask interested final year students to hold classes in the evening for a small group of students while offering them financial incentives and added credentials in the certificate.

A professor will be appointed as the student counselor, who will be working with the senior students to help the first years. Two professors and a professional psychologist will assist the appointed professor.

We have also reduced the number of festivals to preserve the academic environment of the institute so that it does not take time away from a student’s schedule.

17. Will TnP leave be provided in case of an industrial tour?

BM: In case the concerned guide/professor approves the tour, TnP leave can be provided to the students.

Academic Reviews: -

1. What is the necessity/relevance of including courses in the curriculum, which may or may not be anyway associated with a student’s corresponding branch/department?

BM: There are few subjects which are the basic foundation courses of any engineering courses. These subject although seem irrelevant will actually benefit the students in the long run. Therefore, it is difficult to exclude any such subjects from the curriculum.

2. What are the upcoming attendance changes for current students?

BM: There will be no changes in the current system of attendance. Since there will be a reduction in the number of classes for the new batches, the students should expect more stringent academic regulations pertaining to attendance.

3. What changes can the existing batches expect from the curriculum change?

BM: The existing batches will not be benefitted significantly from the curriculum revision as revising the curriculum for them will only introduce chaos into the system. Whatever changes will be implemented will be for the incoming batch of 2017.

4. When will the details of curriculum change be made available to the students?

BM: It will be made available very soon. The revamped curriculum for the first year of study has already been finalized. We will be introducing fractional credits as well.

Responses from the Director, Prof. A.K. Biswas:

MM: What are your views and plans about improving the placement Scenario that is lagging behind as compared to other IITs and NITs?

AB: With the institute alumni and alumni-student relations having grown and in the process of getting better, I am hopeful of more support from them. For every contact we have initiated, we have received a positive response. I would also request the Training and Placement center to pool in their support in contacting the alumni and other interested companies. Additionally, one of the priorities now is to improve the Wi-Fi services in the TIIR building. We are aiming to bridge the communication gap that exists between students and the recruiters and to make their stay comfortable as well.

MM: Keeping in mind the placement scenario, what is the status of the NIT-Rourkela’s outreach center in Bhubaneswar?

AB: The work order has been given out the contractor and we have decided upon some tentative designs too. However, due to lack of supply of funds from MHRD, work progress is slow. As of now, the boundary wall is being made and the process will resume once the fund is released.

MM: Why is NITR not providing Wi-Fi routers for internet access everywhere inside the campus? Why is the internet access restricted in the day hours during exams because during exams, usually the only credible source of clearing any concept about a subject is from the internet?

AB: Installing Wi-Fi routers in the whole campus will be a very expensive venture, as of now and because of the financial crunch, it is not possible. We are focusing on making TIIR a building with full network accessibility and at the same time, improving the present internet conditions in the library. Prof. Sarat Patra, who is working to achieve this cause, has told me that INR 10 lakh is allocated for this and we are looking to use that amount in the most efficient way possible.
Coming to the internet restrictions during exams, I will inquire Prof. A.K Turuk about the same.

MM: Why does the institute not provide railway concession forms for traveling from hometown to college and from college to hometown? It is given in all IITs and NITs, then why not here?

AB: I was totally unaware of this and I am largely in the opinion that railway concession forms should be given to the students. The fact that it has not been allowed is very unnatural and I will definitely talk to the Dean (Student Welfare) about this.

MM: Why do we need to take an appointment to meet you? There was no such rule previously. Students, to some extent, feel that you are unapproachable now because of that.

AB: Anybody and everybody can approach me. I consider this office to meant for everybody and even to accommodate in all of his or her need. I have streamlined the meeting process so that I can dedicate private time to anybody who needs me. And in all other offices, such kind of decorum is maintained.

Responses from Prof. D.R.K. Parhi, Dean Student Welfare:

1. How are the members of the senate selected?

DP: The current system follows a nomination procedure wherein the director selects the students based on their past performances, their management ability and sometimes, academic prowess. However, there are no fixed criteria for selection. The revamped structure would, however, require elections to be conducted for the selection of the students into the senate.

2. What were the selection criteria for the SAC restructuring team?

DP: There were no such criteria per say. It was an instantaneous decision on behalf of the director during a meeting with the SAC representatives to construct a SAC restructuring team. Thus, the members from amongst those present were selected for the team.

Responses from The TnP Cell:

1. Can we expect a change in the current placements rules which are more friendly to companies and less with students i.e, a student who got a job in category III with 6 lakhs package cannot sit in any other company even it offers more than 8 lakhs?

MM: The current placement rules were framed due to a lot of job loss which is evident from the placement statistics. The rules can be modified depending upon the situation.

Responses from Prof. Pitamber Mahanandia, Warden, DBA

1. When will the long persistent "dog menace" in DBA hall of residence be resolved?

PM: It’s the boarders who are responsible for dogs roaming around in DBA Hall premises. Boarders leave the gate leading to adjacent courtyard open and the dogs make their way through these gates. If the dogs are entering the hall through cycle stand or from MSS Hall of residence, then it is not my responsibility. I have repeatedly noticed that boarders leave the hydraulic gate open and I have myself closed it several times. Many times I have chased the dogs out of the hall. Boarders never take any action from their side even if the dog is following them they never bother to scare them or chase them out of the Hall. Moreover, I have noticed that some of the Boarders of DBA are feeding the dogs so if you feed them then dogs are bound to come. Boarders should be sensible enough to stop feeding the dogs and chase them out of the premises if they spot one. In my knowledge, actions have been taken in this regard as two months back some non-NIT body visited the campus and captured a number of dogs in the campus.

2. When will the DBA Hall of Residence get curtains?

PM: This question was even raised in the last HMC and the chief warden said: “you decide”. We were asked to give the requirement details for our Hall but we were not able to do so due to the ongoing mid-semester exams as we did not want to disturb the boarders. Now that the exams are over we are trying to get the details but we cannot access all the rooms because some rooms remain locked and few of the boarders have refused for the curtains. We tried our best to finish this but it has not been effective due to non-cooperative nature of boarders. Finally, we have decided to go through this process in the summer vacations when students would leave handing over the keys to us.

3. DBA doesn’t have a TT table since February 2016. In addition, the warden has taken no action, despite numerous complaints from the students. Warden is giving absurd and diplomatic answers.

PM: The TT table was broken by boarders during a birthday celebration. Keeping our allotted fund in mind we were a bit hesitant in the beginning but we managed to save some money and decided to purchase a TT table. By the time we managed to do so we came to know that some TT Tables were already procured hence we filed a request for repeated order on 13th January 2017. Our request for repeated order has been kept on hold and I am unaware of the reasons. I was informed by the Sports secretary of DBA that the Chief Warden agreed to have individual tenders for all the halls but on later enquiries, the Chief Warden told us that he would not like to disrupt the existing purchase rule. I don’t have the exact knowledge of the purchase process and would like to be educated about the same. Moreover, no reasons have been supplied from the chief warden’s office for withholding our request.

Miscellaneous:

1. Although most boarders of S D Hall have both table tennis balls and bats, why even to this day the hall does not house a TT table? It is worth noting that MSS Hall got a new TT table while we still have to satisfy with an old TT table. Moreover, SD Hall has adequate space upstairs, above the mess area to have a table. Further, TT only needs a table and consumes less space compared to badminton and volleyball.

G. Secretary, SD Hall: As we all know SD Hall is a new hall so it lacks infrastructure as compared to other halls. Recently we have purchased gym equipment worth INR 1.5 lakhs which would be all set up and ready to use in a week. Basically, we had a plan to purchase few gym equipment in the previous semester itself and add on more in this semester but things turned out otherwise primarily because of this being a newly constructed hall. Several things are yet to be purchased so we have prioritized them and are moving stepwise. First, we are trying to arrange rooms for different equipment where they can be placed. As per our current plans, we will try to save some amount from the Hall Day budget and try to get one TT table which will be placed in the recreational room.

2. Why is the elevator of the main building dysfunctional, despite the venue being the nucleus of our academic campus?

C.R. Patra, Dean, (Planning and Development): The elevator of the main building has been dysfunctional for quite a time. We tried to get it repaired but it turned out that the companies we asked to repair it were not competent enough to repair it and hence failed. There are other buildings too which require elevator so the task to purchase 10 elevators is under process. We expect to be done with the processing and purchase in a period of two months from now.

3. How has been our HAIF money exactly utilized? Why is not there any concrete evidence to show for its utilization?

MM: For more information regarding HAIF, please refer to the following links

A Deplorable State of Affairs

The Road Ahead: A Follow-Up on HAIF

A Latent Upgrowth: HAIF

Responses from Team MM:

1. Why doesn’t the website host the contact numbers of the institute doctors?

MM:  The MM website does indeed host the numbers of the institute doctors, including the HOD, Health Centre. To check the same please browse through the ‘Info’ tab and go to the ‘Health & Emergency’ section.

2. Can a non-MM member contribute articles as well?

MM: Yes, a non-MM member can contribute with articles as well. There is a section titled ‘Citizen Journalist’ in the ‘Views’ tab where the articles from the non-MM fraternity are published. The articles may be published anonymously or can be published with your name if you want so. You can mail your articles to us at ‘morning.monday@gmail.com’ However, rights for the content of the article will be with Team MM and it may be moderated or edited, if there arises a need for so. Apart from that if you want Team MM to work on any issue you consider deserves the NITR junta’s attention please reach us through this section or the above mentioned email address, or the contact details mentioned under Know Your Team section of the Info Tab. 

3. In alumni interviews, the e-mail ID of the person should be mentioned so that students can establish contact with them. Can this be incorporated in future interviews?

MM: We thank you for your suggestion, and will certainly see that we incorporate the contact details of the alumni, with his/her permission in the future interviews that we publish. 

4. What happened to the 'alumni of the week' editions?

MM: The initiative was taken in association with the SARC Team, and is being continued. We hope to be able to publish more articles under this section in the days to come. 

Note: Additional Questions directed for the Director and the Chief Warden will be taken up in the upcoming issues.

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