Sunday, September 27, 2009

Social Networking and IIIT

One of the important features of Web 2.0 is social networking. So you have Orkut, linkedin Blogger etc.

I felt that Social networking is for individuals. Many use it with great effect. In NDTV Vikram Chnadra and Barkha Dutt use it in a very interesting manner.

Today, as I was generally surfing, I came across a many sites which use Twitter and Facebook. One such site was University of Michigan. U-M is one of the best university websites.

So I felt let IIIT tweet on twitter. IIIT website now has a gadget which gives summary of IIIT Tweets.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

M.Tech. Project

Masters in engineering used to be a 3 semester course. Later it was changed to a 4 semester course.

In many institutes the last two semesters are used for a project. In our case we followed a system of 3 semesters course-work and one semester of project. In the 3rd semester there is Seminar component.

Depending on the career preference of a student, a student could do a research oriented project or a industry oriented project. Last year some of our students went to company projects while others did projects in the Institute.

When we started introspecting on this issue, we found that the quality of projects done in the company was below the standard we were expecting. Even some projects done in the Institute had quality problems.

Hence, this year we are planning to experiment with a new model. The seminar and the project will have some continuity. The seminar will be used for literature review, methodology review leading to a project proposal by end of the third semester. The fourth semester will be exclusively used for working on the problems contained in the project proposal.

The students can work on various project types: a. development of a business software, b. development of a technology, c. academic project etc. At the end of the project the deliverables will be a thesis and working paper or thesis and a software.

The project phase will have milestones mentioning the delivery expected at that point. We hope that this process will result in high quality thesis worth show-casing.

In essence, we will integrate the seminar and the project components and se

Monday, September 14, 2009

IIIT Gets Electrified (Literally)

We have been on the campus for more than a week. We managed to keep a fact very secret: IIIT did not have electricity connection. We were getting electricity from the Contractor's Generator. He had two generators. We were getting electricity round the clock with the help of these two generators. 

It is a very curious thing in India that very basic things are very hard to get. Getting electricity connection, gas connection, phone connection are some of the very challenging aspects for an Indian citizen.

We could not get electricity connection because CESU and BDA were disputing over right to use of a Electricity Pole. Even though we were ready in every aspect, this dispute led to the delay. We had to persuade many government agencies. Finally on 14th Sept, IIIT got electricity.

Since we are in a rural place, the quality and reliability of the electricity is doubtful. Hence, we have already ordered for a DG set to fully support us in case the electricity fails.

Now, IIIT needs to get electrified figuratively. The energy has to be derived from the faculty and the students. Hence, my blog on electrification of IIIT will continue...

Monday, September 7, 2009

Two days after the D Day

On 5th Sept I got a call from our dean while on my way to the campus. He said that the campus bears a pathetic look and we are about to welcome our new students. When I reached the campus, I rushed to the 3rd floor where the student will be accommodated. The workers were fixing the dadoes, grinding the marble floor, the taps and fittings were missing from the toilets.

The parents were donning a very worried look. When I started talking to them, they expressed their concern over the state of the hostel. I tried to passify them with assurances. I and Ajit got into project management mode and told the project people about our priorities.

By evening, the partitions were ready, the taps were fitted, the toilets were ready, one unit of the dormitory with 11 cots was ready. The worried look of the parents was slowing giving way to assuring look. I came back early as I was part of panel discussion on IT leadership.

On 6th, I reached the campus early. I went to the Hostel first. I met the girls. I asked if they had any problems. They said no problems. I felt relieved. The students and the parents who came were not having a concerned look of the previous day. One of the guardians who came and left the previous day and visited again on 6th was looking delighted and expressed his satisfaction at the pace at we have completed the hostel.

On 7th, we had the orientation programme. I along with the faculty addressed the Students and their parents in the really large hall in the 2nd floor. We addressed the parents separately. We briefed the student on academics, labs, hostel life, library etc. The students looked curious and keen. The parents looked satisfied.

I feel that gambling on asking the students to arrive on 5th September was a good idea. The energy, enthusiasm of our staff and workers was amazing when they saw the students on the campus. Their concern for the student's well being was something to witness.

FYI, 5th September was Teacher's Day.

Friday, September 4, 2009

The D Day is tomorrow

We had announced that the date for arrival of the students in the campus is 5th Sept. That day is tomorrow. The student strength will now jump six fold.

We have asked the faculty to report in the Gothapatna Campus on 25th. We started relocating from OCAC to Gothapatna since Aug 31. We had already informed OCAC about our relocation plans.

The D Day is imminent now. Are we ready to welcome our students tomorrow. The answer is a very big yes and a very small no.

While many of the things we planned are in place, there are a few loose ends. Even though we had placed orders well in time, vendors have generally failed us on the delivery deadlines. The contractor has done his best. But a few few activities are still pending.

All the activities are 95% complete and only 5% is remaining. But I wish 95% of the activities were complete and only 5% activities were remaining.

But I hope that in a few days we will complete 100% of our activities.

I am excited about the new chapter about to begin in IIIT.