A Liberal Education based Curriculum Framework for Indian Engineering Universities

Posted on October 7, 2011

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Author:  Sanjay Goel, http://in.linkedin.com/in/sgoel

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A.    Changing paradigms of engineering education

 “The principle goal of education is to create men who are capable of doing new things, not simply of repeating what other generations have done – men who are creative, inventive and discoverers.” – Jean Piaget

 Worlds of ‘engineering profession’ as well as ‘higher education’ have been gradually undergoing some very significant transformations. Prof. Crawley from MIT and his coauthors of “Rethinking engineering education: the CDIO approach” have given a very convincing definition of engineer – “A professional engineer is the one who has attained and continuously enhances technical, communications, and human relations knowledge, skills, and attitudes, and who contributes effectively to society by theorizing, conceiving, developing, and producing reliable structures and machines of practical and economic value.” They also   argue that engineering education must engage students to develop and nurture their ability to Conceive-Design-Implement-Operate complex value-added engineering products, processes, and systems in a modern team-based environment.

Prof. Borodogna, former IEEE president has coined the term “holistic engineering” and called for a more cross-disciplinary, whole systems approach to engineering education. Catherine Koshland, Vice Provost for Academic Planning at UC Berkeley has posited that technological interventions cannot succeed, if they are applied without cultural and social understanding. In 2008, Figueiredo proposed that engineering profession as well as its epistemology consist of following four dimensions:

  1. Engineering as application of natural and exact sciences, with logic and rigour, through analysis and experimentation. The major aspiration in this dimension is the discovery of first principles.
  2. The dimension of engineering as human sciences sees engineers not only as technologists, but also as social experts, managers, and businesspeople who recognize the social complexity of the world and markets they act upon and of the teams they belong to. The creation of social and economic value and the belief in the satisfaction of end users emerge as central values in this dimension.
  3. The design dimension sees engineering as design. It values systems thinking much more than analytical thinking. Its practice is founded on holistic, contextual, and integrated visions of the world rather than on partial visions. It includes four categories of – functional analysis, problem solving, problem setting, and evolutionary learning. Typical values of the design dimension include compromising, resorting when necessary to non-scientific thinking, and deciding on the face of incomplete knowledge with the help of intuition and experience.
  4. The dimension of engineering as a craft refers to the art of getting things done. It values the ability to change the world and overcome resistance and ambiguity.

In modern world, problem “understanding and defining” has become at least as much important as problem “solving.” The new era of mass customization demands social interaction of large numbers of engineers with public. The 21st century complex and interdisciplinary systems harness the power of “engineering thought” to issues related to technology, law, public policy, sustainability, government, industry, and the arts.  High complexity of contemporary challenges has significantly enhanced the need of systems perspective. Because of the several reasons like increased focus on usability and the need to avoid unintended consequences, the contextual competence has become as much important as conceptual or technical competence.  Consequently, the importance of breadth of thinking and interdisciplinary approaches has increased manifold.

Prof. Carol Christ, President of Smith College has identified seven challenges for engineering educationmovement away from subject matter to intellectual capacities as an organising concept, inter-disciplinarity, internationalization, increasing emphasis on training for citizenship, environmental education, increased focus on undergraduate research, and increased focus on project-based learning. David Goldberg, a distinguished professor at UIUC has posited that the popular tendency to view maths, science, and engineering science as “the basics” is inconsistent with the needs of modern engineering practice and innovative ability. He has suggested that engineering education needs to change its thoughts, language, and practices to make seven thinking skills as the “new basics” of engineering education. These thinking skills are – asking questions, labelling technology and design challenges, modelling problems qualitatively, decomposing design problems, gathering data, visualizing solutions and generating ideas, and communicating solutions in written and oral forms.

In India, the traditional programs for engineering students generally aim to impart a predefined and fixed amount of established knowledge, concepts, and skills and lack the emphasis on exploration and diversified pedagogical activities. On the other hand, the current thinking in education is towards making the educational process more learner-centric, exploratory and activity based. Worldwide the universities are trying to become more flexible and learner centric in terms of their educational objectives, content, and processes.

A report (2005)  “Educating the Engineer for 2020” by National Academy of Engineers (NAE), USA, gives following recommendations that provide some very useful insights for curriculum design:

  1. The engineering education must adopt a broader view of the value of an engineering education to include providing a “liberal” education to those students who wish to use it as a springboard for other career pursuits.
  2. Introduce interdisciplinary learning in the undergraduate environment.
  3. The essence of engineering—the iterative process of designing, predicting performance, building, and testing—should be taught throughout the curriculum starting from the first year itself.

The “Liberal” education model insists on broad based undergraduate education. A liberating curriculum is expected to enhance social, moral, political, intellectual, and spiritual faculties of students. Interdisciplinary courses are required to make explicit connections in the technical world and society. In US normally only 30-40% credits are required to be earned in a specific discipline to complete the requirements of major in that discipline. The remaining credits are earned through broad based courses. At many top universities, e.g. Stanford University, the students are encouraged to explore diverse areas and not required to prematurely declare their major before their 3rd year.  In India too, recently Ambedkar University, Delhi, has put a minimum requirement of 33.3% credits for courses outside the discipline in their undergraduate programs.

 Unfortunately, in single discipline institutes like engineering institutes, there are limited opportunities for creating such flexibility even in the content of education. However, the traditional approach often fails to leverage the advantages of multi-disciplinary faculty because of several inhibiting factors like (i) homogeneous educational objectives of program, (ii) over-prescribed compulsory courses in curriculum, (iii) missing or severely limited exposure to divergent disciplines, and (iv) unvarying pedagogical as well as evaluation methods.

B.     Interdisciplinarity

“Everything is connected to everything else.” – Leonardo da Vinci

Often the word interdisciplinary is interpreted in a very narrow sense of combining the knowledge of two but very similar knowledge domains. However, the curriculum must maximize the possibilities of novel forms of ‘interdisciplinary’ activities between divergent knowledge domains as well.  In 1970’s, Biglan divided the human knowledge domains along three bipolar axes – hard/soft, pure/applied, and life/non-life. Thus he created following eight categories of academic disciplines.

Biglan’s classification of discipline 

 

Hard

Soft

  Life Non-life Life Non-life
Pure Biology, Biochemistry, Genetics, Physiology, etc.  Mathematics, Physics, Chemistry, Geology, Astronomy, Oceanography, etc. Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology, Political Science, Area Study, etc. Linguistics, Literature, Communications, Creative Writing, Economics, Philosophy, Archaeology, History, Geography, etc.
Applied Agriculture, Psychiatry, Medicine, Pharmacy, Dentistry, Horticulture, etc., Civil Engineering, Telecommunication Engineering, Mechanical Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Computer Science, etc. Recreation, Arts, Education, Nursing, Conservation, Counseling, HR Management, etc. Finance, Accounting, Banking, Marketing, Journalism, Library And Archival Science, Law, Architecture, Interior Design, Crafts, Arts, Dance, Music, etc.

The hard-pure disciplines are concerned with universals and simplification, whereas soft-pure disciplines are concerned with particular cases. The thinking approaches significantly differ for these categories.  The hard-pure disciplines have an atomistic approach and rely more on linear logic, facts, and concepts whereas soft-pure disciplines have a holistic approach, and rely more on the breadth of intellectual ideas, creativity and expression. The hard-applied disciplines focus on problem solving and application of knowledge to create products and techniques, whereas, soft-applied disciplines focus on personal growth, reflective practice, and lifelong learning to create protocols and procedures. The hard-pure disciplines are concerned with mastery of physical environment, whereas soft-applied are concerned with enhancement of professional practice.

As per this classification, engineering disciplines belong to the octant of non-life, hard, and applied disciplines. Engineers of today must develop their ability of integrating their disciplinary knowledge of engineering with the disciplinary knowledge of any other discipline. The task of integration between those disciplines that are quite divergent from each other as per this classification is far more challenging and much more creative, as compared to the inter-disciplinary integration between closer disciplines.  I have earlier proposed following levels of interdisciplinary activities with respect to computer science:

Discipline integration sub-levels based on Biglan’s classification of disciplines

  1. First orbit integration: The integrating disciplines share the same category along all the three bi-level axes, as identified in Biglan’s classification. With reference to computer science, first orbit integration implies that all other involved disciplines also belong to non-life, hard, and applied category, e.g., civil engineering, telecommunication engineering, mechanical engineering, chemical engineering, electrical engineering, etc.
  2. Second orbit integration:  The integrating disciplines share the same category along any two of the three bi-level axes. At this level of integration, at least one of the concerned disciplines must belong to the other different category along any one of the three axes. With reference to computer science, second orbit integration implies that at least one of the other involved discipline belongs to (i) life, hard, and applied category, e.g., agriculture, psychiatry, medicine, pharmacy, dentistry, horticulture, etc., or (ii) non-life, soft, and applied category, e.g., finance, accounting, banking, marketing, journalism, library and archival science, law, architecture, interior design, crafts, arts, dance, music, etc., or (iii) non-life, hard, and pure category, e.g., mathematics, physics, chemistry, geology, astronomy, oceanography, etc.
  3. Third orbit integration: The integrating disciplines share the same   category along only one of the three bi-level axes. At this level of integration, the concerned disciplines must belong to the other categories along any two of the three axes.  With reference to computer science, third orbit integration implies that at least one of  the other involved discipline belongs to (i) life, hard, and pure, e.g.,   biology, biochemistry, genetics, physiology, etc., (ii) life, soft, and applied category, e.g., recreation, arts, education, nursing, conservation, counseling, HR management, etc., or (iii) non-life, soft, and pure category, e.g., linguistics, literature, communications, creative writing, economics, philosophy, archaeology, history, geography,  etc.
  4. Fourth orbit integration: The integrating disciplines do not share the same category along any of the three bi-level axes. At this level of integration, the concerned disciplines must belong to the other categories along all the three axes. With reference to computer science, fourth orbit integration implies that at least one of the other involved disciplines belongs to life, soft, and pure category, e.g.,  psychology, sociology, anthropology, political science, area study, etc.

Path-breaking innovations like ‘Facebook’ and ‘Twitter’ are examples of interdisciplinary integration at fourth orbit. Hence, in order to prepare the students for future innovations, the curriculum must aim to expose the students to at least one area in all eight categories of disciplines as per Biglan’s classification.

C.    People differ in their Learning Styles

“Everybody’s a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it’s stupid.”- Albert Einstein

Pedagogical engagements and evaluation methods effectiveness for a student also depends a lot on his/her learning style. In 1970’s, Kolb classified the learning styles of different students into following four categories:

Kolb’s learning styles 

  1. Divergent:  involves reflection on concrete experience, requires abilities of concrete experience as well as reflective observation.  This style is associated with valuing skills: relationship, helping others, and sense making. Such people have broad interests and tend to be imaginative and specialize in arts, literature, psychology, etc.  Effective communication and relation building requires this style.
  2. Convergent: involves active experimentation to test/apply abstractions, requires abilities of abstract conceptualization as well as active experimentation. This style is associated with decision skills like quantitative analysis, use of technology, and goal setting. Such people like to deal with technical rather than people related aspects, and tend to specialize in technology and medicine. Bench engineering and production requires this style.
  3. Accommodative:  involves active experimentation on concrete experiences, requires abilities of concrete experience as well as active experimentation. This style encompasses a set of competencies that can best be termed acting skills: leadership, initiative, and action. Such people tend to specialize in education, social service, sales, communication, nursing, etc. Decision making in uncertain situations requires this style.
  4. Assimilative: involves reflection on abstractions; requires abilities of abstract conceptualization as well as reflective observation.  This style is related to thinking skills: information gathering, information analysis, and theory building. Such people tend to specialize in mathematics and physical sciences. Planning and research activities require this style.

The traditional forms of pedagogical engagement are disadvantageous for students with divergent and accommodative learning styles. A learner-centric flexible learning environment enhances the opportunities for all students (not just few) to excel in their own well diversified ways suitable to their personal goals, learning styles, as well as intrinsic talent and interests.

D.    Flexibility in Education: An Opportunity for Engineering Universities

It is not the strongest of the species that survives, nor the most intelligent that survives. It is the one that is the most adaptable to change.”  –  Charles Darwin

Flexibility must not be misinterpreted as leniency. It is possible to offer highly flexible educational program that are also highly rigorous. Flexibility increases the macro level as well as micro level choices for the learners. It is a multidimensional concept that offers the possibilities of enhancing the diversity in the learning environment and choices of students with respect to the following dimensions:

  1. Evolving Choice of educational objectives as per a student’s evolving career goals
    1. Choice of Track options:

i.      Sufficient specialization in major with diversified general education,

ii.      Sufficient specialization in major, a second specialization in minor, and sufficient general education

iii.      Deep specialization in major with sufficient general education

iv.      Sufficient specialization in two majors, and limited general education

  1. Continuous choice of educational content as per a student’s educational objectives
    1. Choice of breadth and depth courses
    2. Choice of sequence of courses
    3. Choice of pace of progress
  2. Diversity of educational processes to suit all learning styles and also emphasis  on the essence of engineering- the iterative process of designing, predicting performance, building, and testing
    1. Diversity of pedagogical engagements
    2. Diversity of evaluation methods
    3. Disaster recovery through second opportunity

In India, the flexibility discourse mostly remains focused on the second aspect, i.e., educational content only. Whereas infusion of flexibility in the first and third of these aspects is equally necessary for making learner centric flexible learning environments.

Fortunately, with the introduction of MBA and various BSc, MSc, and BA programs, many engineering universities are gradually gaining the character of multidisciplinary universities with a specific focus on engineering disciplines.   Hence, we can possibly look forward to the addition of few more disciplines in near future. This trend offers the opportunity to enrich and diversify the content of our programs. However, infusing flexibility in educational objectives and processes also need adequate attention.

E.     A Proposed Framework

1.      Academic Rigour and Credits

“There is no substitute for hard work.” –  Thomas Alva Edison

Certain minimum hours are necessary (but not to be confused as sufficient) condition for deep learning. As per, European Credit System, a student should be engaged for 1500-1800 hrs. for academic work in an academic year. It includes the time spend in lectures, tutorial, seminars, laboratories, project work, assignments, literature survey, field work, and self study, etc. This translates to approx. 50 – 60 hrs. of weekly engagement in a semester system.  At good universities, 1 credit normally implies a minimum of 40 hours of total work in a semester. Consequently, it is not possible to justify more than 20-23 credits in a semester. Unfortunately many engineering universities in India offer an excessive credit load of more than 200 credits on their students. However, for most students, excessive credit load in a semester fails to stimulate and encourage deep learning in any subjects. Hence, we need to limit the overall credit requirement to not more than 160-175 credits for regular BTech program. 

The proposed reduction of credits to 160-175 credits must not be misinterpreted as reducing the academic rigour in our program. On the other hand we need to further increase the rigour in all our courses and ensure that on an average, our BTech students get a minimum of 40 hours per credit of overall engagement in a semester. The success of the proposed flexible system will primarily depend upon this precondition.

2.      Emphasis on project work and diversified evaluation methods

“The only source of knowledge is experience.” – Albert Einstein

“Learning results from what the student does and thinks and only from what the student does and thinks. The teacher can advance learning only by influencing what the student does to learn.” – Herbert Simon.

Fixed duration written exams are no more considered as the best evaluation methods.  Fixed duration written exams make only limited contribution for the overall development of students. Project work, laboratory work, seminar, term paper, and other form of extremely learner centric pedagogical engagements make maximum contribution to nurture students’ ability to apply the knowledge in real world, creativity, and innovation. Hence, there is a worldwide trend of introducing and emphasizing such forms of pedagogical engagements and evaluation. Hence, in our evaluation system, we should promote following distribution of engagement and evaluation in the overall educational experience of our students:

I.            45-55% share for extremely learner centric pedagogical engagements through like laboratory work, and open ended courses like project work, seminar, term paper, field work, data collection, surveys, etc.. This share can start at 20-25% in the first semester and gradually grow to 65-75% in the final semester to achieve an overall average of 45-55% share. The over breakup of this share may be as follows:

  1. Around 10% credits for open ended courses like final project, minor project, POP, seminar, term paper, etc.
  2. Around 15% share for laboratory component that can be offered through laboratory courses as well as integrated courses comprising of theory and laboratory both
  3. 25% share for embedded open ended engagements in core and elective courses.  

II.    5-15% for attendance, tutorials, and home assignments, etc.

III.            40% for fixed duration written exams.

Such flexibility will also encourage some faculty members to engage in domain specific educational research and invent more effective educational methods.

 3.      Integrated and modular courses

Many universities follow seperate theory and lab courses.  In my view 1 credit for lab course and 4 credits for the  relevant  theory course  is highly skewed in favour of theory.  Also it is bringing an artificial separation between the theory and lab.

We should offer  integrated courses in which the theory and lab contact hours are defined in the time table but a single grade is awarded based on the comprehensive performance in all components including labs.  It means that we may offer single courses in L-T-P mode rather than two courses in L-T-0 and 0-0-P mode.   The departments should have the flexibility to assign suitable marks share for lab component  Certainly some courses may have only the theory or the lab component.

We should also allow modularization of some elective courses where different modules may be taught be different faculty members.

4.      Diversified and flexible educational objectives – Multiple track options   

As per the liberal education model and contemporary thinking in curriculum design, the students have a freedom to change their decisions regarding their major discipline during the course of their education. Some new universities in India like Ambedkar University, Delhi have started offering the option to defer the decision regarding the major choice. Apeejay Stya University, Gurgaon has also announced a similar approach.

In our system, perhaps we could consider introducing the notion of major, minor, and dual BTech and offer multiple options in the BTech program. The average work load per semester will differ for all the following four options

  1. BTech (170 credits, minimum 4 years)

This is the mainstream regular track that offers sufficient specialization in majordiscipline that is fixed in first semester at the time of admission process. It offers the students to acquire a well diversified general education. This option will have the lowest work load among all the four options. A student must earn 170 credits with a minimum CGPA of 4.5 to complete this program. Out of these 170 credits at least 70 credits must be earned in the major discipline through disciplinary core, electives, and open ended courses including final year project, POP, minor projects etc.

  1. BTech with additional minor (185 credits, minimum 4 years)

This can be very popular track to prepare engineers with dual specialization. Like the first track option, it will impart sufficient specialization in the major discipline. However, instead of offering well diversified general education or deep specialization in major, it will offer a minor specialization in any other discipline with sufficient general education. It will also be very useful with those students who wish to use engineering education as a springboard for diversified career pursuits.

Most real life problems of today require good understanding of more than one discipline. This track will help the students to work at the interface of two disciplines. Introduction of this flexibility will facilitate enhancement of multi and interdisciplinary activities in our campuses. For example, it may be possible for students admitted in Civil Engg. to earn their Major in Civil Engg. and Minor in Maths, Physics, IT, or even Humanities. Similarly, a CSE student could earn the minor in Maths, Physics, Civil Engg., or Humanities.

To complete this track, a student will have to take little extra work load. The student must earn additional 15 credits over and above the total credit requirement of first track. Interested departments and centers may specify a list of compulsory courses for offering minor in their disciplines. Overall a student must earn a minimum of 21 credits in minor discipline (minor core + minor electives) through extra-disciplinary university electives. In addition, the student must also complete a minimum of 3 credits of open ended courses like minor project, POP, seminar, term paper, etc in the minor discipline. The final year project of such students should preferably be in the inter-disciplinary area of their major and minor disciplines. The student must earn a minimum CGPA of 7.5 in minor discipline.

  1. BTech (Hons.) (185 credits, minimum 4 years)

This provides the excellence track in the BTech program to prepare highly motivated engineers with deep specialization in major discipline. Instead of offering well diversified general education or second specialization in minor, it will offer a deep specialization in the major itself with sufficient general education. 

For earning a BTech (Hons.) in a specific discipline, a student will have to take little extra work load. The student must earn additional 15 credits over and above the total credit requirement of first track. The requirement for disciplinary core and minimum disciplinary electives for this option will be higher.  Out of a total of 185 credits, at least 93 credits must be earned in the major discipline through disciplinary core, electives, and open ended courses including final year project, POP, minor projects etc. The student must also earn a minimum CGPA of 7.5 in the major discipline.

  1. Dual BTech in two disciplines of engineering (235 credits, minimum 5 years)

This is the extended form of 2nd option. In this scheme, instead of earning minor in second engineering discipline, a highly motivated student may be allowed to simultaneously pursue dual BTech in two different discipline of engineering, e,g, BTech (CSE) and BTech (BioTech). It will offer sufficient specialization in two different disciplines of engineering with sufficient general education.  A student will be required to complete 235 credits for this option. Therefore, the average work load per semester for dual BTech students will be highest as compared to all other options.

All students are initially admitted to first option. A student may decide to take 2nd, 3rd, or 4th option by the end of 3rd semester. Seriously under-achieving students will not be permitted to take either of 2nd, 3rd, or 4th options. Student may choose to withdraw from these any time during his/her program and complete it with 1st option. Seriously under-achieving students may also be forced to do so.  

5.  Interdisciplinary curriculum through lean core and diversified electives

 The tendency to overprescribe the content of education in curriculum framework needs to be avoided by maintaining a lean and broad-based core and diversifying the knowledge categories (as per Biglan’s classification) of courses.

                            Proposed Framework for Credit Distribution

Main Features BTech BTech (with additional minor specialization) BTech (Hons.) Dual BTech
1. General Education Well diversified Sufficient Sufficient Sufficient
2. Major specialization  Sufficient   Sufficient    Deep        Sufficient  in two disciplines of engineering
3. Second specialization

Minor specialization in any discipline  

4.  Minimum required CGPA in Discipline specific courses.

4.5

4.5 in major discipline,

7.5 in minor  discipline

7.5

4.5 in each discipline

5. Minimum  credits and duration

170,

4 years

185,

4 years

185,

4 years

235,

5 years

6. Summary of Credit distribution Schema;   1 Credit –> 3+ hrs. of  student  work  per week  including class time. 
6.a. Structured credits(disciplinewise distribution is specified)

140

155

157

210

6.b. Open (Floating) Credits (disciplinewise distribution is decided by student) 

30

30

28

 25

6.1. Multidisciplinary University Core +  Electives  (7.1,7.2)

66-81

81-99

(incl. minor discipline)

60-81

66-81

6.2. Discipline specific Core + Electives  (7.3, 7.4)               

60-78

60-78

78-93

120-138

(2 disciplines)

6.3. Open-ended courses (projects etc.) (7.5,7.6)

14-27

14-27

19-27

24-47

7. Details of Credit distribution Schema
7.1. Multidisciplinary University Core 33 credits, i.e.,15  in Maths + Science, 12 in ICT + Core Engg. (Civil, Electrical, and Mechanical),  6 in HSS (incl. Arts/Media/Design),   Different disciplines may specify different courses.  
7.2. Extra-disciplinary University Electives  33-48 credits  

48-66 credits

(incl. minor core & electives)

27-48 credits   33-48 credits
Distribution:  minimum 12 in Maths+Science, 9 in other Engineering, and 6 in HSS (incl. Art/ Media/Design). For remaining credits, disciplinewise distribution is decided by student. 
7.3.  Discipline specific Core   (including one environment focused discipline specific course in each major discipline) 36 credits  including  9-15 credits for Flexi-core   42 creditsincluding 15-21 credits for Flexi-core   72 credits, i.e., 36 in each discipline. Shared core credits to be converted to other categories
  AND 9 credits for minor core in 2nd discipline through extra-disciplinary university electives.
7.4. Discipline specific Electives

24-42 credits

 

36-51 credits

48-66 credits, i.e.,24-42 in each discipline.

 

AND  12 credits in  minor discipline through extra-disciplinary university electives
7.5. Extra-disciplinary Open-ended university courses (projects, etc.) 4-7 credits, i.e.,2-5  in Maths, Science, HSS (incl. Arts/Media/Design)2-5 in other engineering.
7.6. Discipline specific open-ended courses 

10-20 credits

15-20 credits

20-40 credits, i.e., 10-20  in each discipline. including the summer work between 8th -9th semester

 

AND 3 credits in minor discipline including relevant Extra-disciplinary Open-ended university courses

Further, in order to prepare interdisciplinary thinking in students, the faculty and departments will necessarily have to think beyond their disciplines. Often faculty members have wider interest but don’t get the opportunity to leverage such interests to offer courses outside their core disciplines. Hence, all departments should be encouraged to float some extra-disciplinary university electives beyond the conventional boundaries of their disciplines. For example, some  faculty members from various departments may like to offer university elective  course  on Sustainable Development, Human Values and Professional Ethics, Philosophy, Creativity and Innovation, Critical Thinking, Systems Thinking, Complex Engineering Systems, Epistemology, Measurement Techniques,  Design Thinking, etc.

Further, the departments (including the parent departments) may also offer some highly interdisciplinary courses that may also be considered as extra-disciplinary university electives for their own students, e.g., CSE/IT department may offer courses like Computational Finance, Sociological Computing, Digital Art, Experience Design, Computational Music, etc. Similarly, Mathematics department may offer courses like   Philosophy of Mathematics, Mathematics in Art and Architecture, Mathematical Psychology, etc.  Physics department may offer courses like Philosophy of Science, Metaphysics, Bio-physics, Physics and Instrumentation, etc. Civil Engg department may like to offer courses like History of Civil Engg., Archaeological Conservation, Global entrepreneurship in civil engineering, Managing engineering and construction processes, etc.

6.      Disaster recovery through second opportunity

Some students realize the value of hard work in some foundation courses in later semesters. However, at that time they don’t the opportunity to improve their old grades. We should permit the students to repeat up to 2 core courses. This will facilitate the students to work harder and earn a better grade in a course if they had originally earned a poor passing grade like D. Final year students with low CGPA will especially find such flexibility very useful and will be able to partially undo their past mistake at least in 1-2 very important and significant earlier courses. Similarly, we may also allow the students to take additional electives to replace up to 2 elective courses. For such repeat registrations, the new grade will replace the old grade of the concerned student.

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