Total Pageviews

Sunday, November 29, 2009


Since I have only studied Mechanical Engineering here at IIT, I will adhere to that discipline only. And as the first year is common to students from all disciplines, the changes I recommend in first year shall apply to all students irrespective of their branch.

First, The subjects: In the current system we have mathematics, physics, chemistry, english, programming and data structures(PDS), electrical engineering, mechanics, engineering drawing(ED), and basic manufacturing processes as the theory papers. Now my question is this: Where the hell does someone studying biotechnology or chemistry or mathematics need subjects like electrical or engineering drawing or basic manufacturing processes in future. All the subjects currently being taught in first year with the exception of mathematics, PDS and english are very much useless for students belonging to some or other departments. Take for example the subject of chemistry. My careful study over the years suggest that only a few students( last batch had 4) ever take the discipline of chemistry in undergrad level at IIT. Maybe a few other disciplines need to have a good base in chemistry like metallurgy and biotechnology. But why do the rest of the students which is quite sizable (almost 97% of the batch) have to suffer on account of that, mugging up molecular orbital diagram of carbon dioxide ion and some other crap which they are going to forget very soon in any case. Some people would argue that in first year IITs provide the students the option of switching branch based on their first year results which would not be possible if there were not an uniform syllabus. But I think that is really a crap reason for wasting so much time, effort and a lot of government money. My suggestion would be to scrap all of these useless subjects. And have the students study their corresponding departmental subjects right from first year. Now to solve the problem of switching of departments at the end of first year, either scrap the option altogether or let the over enthusiastic studs take extra subjects of those departments they want to switch onto. Then judge them based on those additional subjects and let them switch department. In any case everybody knows that nobody switches a department because he loves that particular department (in actuality he has no idea about anything. he just fills up the department switching form in the order in which people had done previously. in other words he keeps the tradition)
    Then these three subjects Mathematics, English and PDS should be common to all in the first year because nobody can deny that they won't require them in their higher level technical education. We can have English one semester, Mathematics and PDS both the semester. Currently we have only mathematics both the semester. Regarding PDS, knowing the importance of programming in technical education everybody will agree with me that nobody learns the way it is taught currently in one semester. Only those who know C or C++ beforehand and a few true mugger and very few geniuses actually start getting the drift of pointers. So my suggestion would be teach C in one semester and Java in next semester. And since Java is an object oriented programming language which is an improved version of a modular programming language like C, one can teach the basics of programming in the first semester in C and the advanced features of programming in Java in the next semester. That way more people will actually learn the subject and they will get the multiple benefit of learning two programming languages.

    The subject English should be sort of optional. Many people come from schools where they had english as their first language and hence are quite good in english. But others come from regional schools where they had english as second or third language and hence are not that good in the language. Therefore those who have an english background get an unfair advantage. The best way to make it fair and square is to have an english test right at the beginning of the first semester. And those who clear a cutoff should be exempted from taking the subject.

    Mathematics is a very important tool in engineering whether it is computer science or aerospace engineering. Currently everyone studies the same mathematics in the first two semester. After that all of them have the subject, but their syllabus are quite different. Some study transform calculus while some study linear algebra. However the point to note here is some of those who study transform calculus never study linear algebra in their entire course like mechanical engineering students. the vice versa is also true. Now having studied quite a bit of mechanical engineering I cannot imagine where a mechanical engineer does not need vector spaces or matrices or tensors. So we can assume that not learning linear algebra is a grave mistake. I believe same is true for other departments. For example under the current system electronics students don't study transform calculus. Now students dealing with signals life long, not studying transform calculus is a joke, right? So, what i suggest is apart from the regular two mathematics courses in the first two semester we should have two additional mathematics courses. And then in the two semester another two mathematics courses. Six mathematics courses compared to the present system of four should cover the entire engineering mathematics syllabus.

    No comments:

    Post a Comment