My interview on IITBombayX

Recently, my interview about the experience of offering MOOCs on IITBombayX platform, appeared on the blog of IITBx. Thanks to Dr. Venita Shah for the initiative.

Here are some excerpts and the link for the same:

MOOCs have a larger impact with online access and no geographical boundaries. Dr. Sahasrabudhe’s experience with MOOCs is exclusive as his courses attract distinct audience. “Many learners take up my courses as an extra-curricular activity; however, they end up recognizing the application of knowledge in their day-to-day tasks. This in fact has been a learning experience for me in structuring the course in a way to benefit the participants in their curriculum and future,” he told.

Modularization of MOOC into a short course (4-week) is always more engaging than a semester-long (12-week) course.

Another viewpoint:

Dr. Sahasrabudhe described his continuous efforts with IITBombayX team in creation of content for better engagement of participants. “Our videos were not merely recording the face of the speaker with inserted slides. Instead, it was an interspersing of videos slides, the screen capture of the software, as well as the speaker, so that the learners do not lose out on the personal connect. Along with the content team at IITBombayX, we also exploited the modified versions of multiple choice questions, available at the edX platform, to provide something fresh to our learners.”

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“We created city-based WhatsApp groups, which was more of a casual medium of interaction for the course.”

 

 

 

Let me know your feedback.

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Identity | ओळख

Mama

Each of us has a unique identity. This is developed over years based on one’s persona, attitude, and skills. It also depends heavily on how others perceive these. You come across various examples of how people are identified. Sometimes, you agree and sometimes you may not! But, sometimes it can also surprise you, since you may not have thought of it at all. One such incident happened recently which pleasantly surprised me.

I was attending a recording session of the compositions created by my sister-in-law, Dr. Dhanashree Mulaokar. We had performers rendering them, accompanied by eminent players of tabla and harmonium. In due course of the discussion, it turns out that, the tabla player is a disciple of Pt. Bhai Gaitonde (Thane). I was thrilled to know this, since my Mama (Madhusudan Manohar), is also an ardent disciple of Panditji. Out of curiosity, I enquired, “By any chance, do you know Mr. Manohar? He is also a disciple of Panditji”. His answer gave me a perfect example, of what should be one’s identity. He said, “I surely know Manoharji. Isn’t he the one who is an expert in tuning the tabla to perfection? Do you know him too?”.

With a proud smile, I said, “He is my Mama”.


ओळख

आपल्या प्रत्येकाची एक विशिष्ट ओळख असते. प्रत्येक मनुष्य त्याच्या सवयी, गुण/अवगुण, कला कौशल्य इत्यादी मुले ओळखला जातो. ह्यामध्ये इतर माणसे तुमच्या कडे कोणत्या नजरेने बघतात हे ही महत्वाचे असते. आपल्या अवतीभवती अनेक उदाहरणे दिसतात ज्यामध्ये काही वेळा तुम्हाला एखाद्या व्यक्तीची ओळख वेगळ्या प्रकारे झालेली असते. तर कधी कधी सर्वानुमते त्या व्यक्तीची जी ओळख असते, तीच ओळख तुम्हाला ही पटते! मला नुकताच एक अनुभव आला, ज्या मध्ये, मला परिचित व्यक्तीची समाजमनात नवी ओळख मला कळली.

 

 

 

 

 

Babakaka

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I was preparing for my talk by adjusting and reviewing the slides for presentation. Over hundred students are waiting in the Auditorium of the National Institute of technology at Agartala in Tripura which is almost another end of our country. Before I could tuck the phone into the bag I saw my sister’s message,

“Baba Kaka no more”.

It was a shocking information. I called her to confirm. Unfortunately, news was correct! It was few weeks back that I heard about him suffering from cancer.

Babakaka was an ever helpful person, who had a charismatic presence. I have seen him sail through critical situations with a calm and composed manner.

One incident that was a life changer for me was when he introduced me to Prof. Phatak. This triggered my long association with IIT Bombay. I received many accolades and scaled new heights both as a person and also as a professional, however, it is this introduction that led to these. I would always be indebted to him for this priceless gesture.

Babakaka was known to be a problem solver. I have seen him manoeuver from most critical situations. It could be a travel issue or a local political issue, he always knew the way to get over it. His cool but systematic approach made the problem look negligible.

It was a bizarre coincidence, that just like he was witness to my first day at IITBombay, I was a witness to his last day at IITBombay. He nominated me to accompany him to click the photographs of his last day tea session with the Director of IITBombay.

Like many have said earlier, one can take a person from IITBombay, but cannot take out IITBombay from a person. Babakaka was a living example of this. Wherever he was, there wasn’t a single day when he didn’t remember IITBombay.

Another interesting interaction with him was through the letters we exchanged. He had a penchant for writing detailed but well planned letters. If I’m not wrong, he is the only person I have seen writing bullet points in a letter!! But, I realised this structure made the letter quite usable. You could clearly figure out the points and act upon them!

I’m falling short of words to pen down his bio sketch. Memories are flooding and I find it difficult to get them in using a phone to type this…as I sit at the Kolkata airport, waiting for the flight to Mumbai. I will miss him, just like many others! I offer my respects to him. It is a huge loss to all of us.

 

New additions to the course

Kaumudi and I had received many suggestions and comments of augmenting the animation course. Therefore we decided to add few new videos which will discuss animation principles and their application. The current course that we are offering on edX was a good chance to undertake this  augmentation process. Kaumudi initiated a new video which will talk about the principle of anticipation followed by an example where it can be applied.

48CC06C9-71C2-41A0-8CCF-30FFE9129699We are done with it and the videos are almost ready for release this Friday. The learners who have enrolled in course available on IITBombayX need not worry, since this video will also be added to the course which is offered there.

We will share the feedback of the learners who have a look at it with all of you very soon.

Keep watching this space

विलास मामा | Vilas Mama

आत्ताच ‘हिचकी’ हा सर्वांगसुंदर चित्रपट पाहिला! Tourette Syndrome नामक आजारामुळे विचित्र आवाज करणारी आणि त्या मुळे सातत्याने टीका आणि उपहास सहन करणारी नयना माथुर पाहिली, आणि तक्षणी मला आमच्या जवळ राहणारा विलास मामा आठवला. मला माहित नाही की विलास मामाला Tourette Syndrome आहे की अजून कुठला आजार, परंतु बोलता बोलता मानेला झटके दिलेले आम्ही अनेकदा पाहिलेलं आहे. आम्हाला त्याची सवय होण्यासाठी काही दिवस लागले.

हा मामा काही तरी वेगळेच हावभाव करतो, हे आमच्या लक्षात यायचे. पण त्याचे कारण एखादा Tourette सारखा आजार असू शकतो, हे कळलंच नाही. आम्ही मुलं त्याची नक्कल करायचो, चेष्टा करायचो. त्यामागे त्याला त्रास देण्याचा हेतू कधीही नव्हता, पण त्याचे विचित्र हावभाव आणि त्या मागचे खरं कारण माहित नसल्यामुळे न कळत्या वयात झालेली ती एक चूकच होती! आज पडद्यावर राणी मुखर्जीचा अभिनय बघताना विलास मामाची आठवण झाली, आणि स्वतः ची खूप लाज वाटली.

ह्या काळात मला प्रकर्षाने जाणवलेली गोष्ट म्हणजे माझ्या आजीने विलास मामाला दिलेली वागणूक! विलास मामा मराठी पुस्तकांचे घरपोच वाचनालय चालवत असे. आठवड्यातील दोन दिवस पुस्तकांनी भरलेली पिशवी घेऊन तो आमच्या घरी यायचा. आजी दरवेळेस अगदी आठवणीने त्याच्या हातावर लाडू / वडी ठेवायची. माझ्या आठवणीत तिने कधीही त्याच्या सवयींचा बाऊ केल्याचे पाहिले नाही. नंतर आम्हालाही त्याच्या विचित्र हालचालींची सवय झाली.

 

आज ‘हिचकी’ मुळे ह्या सर्व आठवणी पुनश्च जाग्या झाल्या! नयना माथुर प्रमाणेच अक्षरधन वाटणारा विलास मामा आम्हांला तसा उशिराच समजला, ह्याचे वाईट वाटते!

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Just back from the theatre where we watched ‘Hichki‘. A brilliant movie depicting the struggle of Nayna Mathur, who suffers from Tourette syndrome. The movie reminded me of Vilas Mama, who was our neighbour, and I suspect he also suffered from this syndrome. We were too young and not aware of the exact name of the ailment, however I distinctly remember his mannerism of the ‘shocks’ he had out of the blue.

We realised that this person has peculiar mannerism, however we were too young to decipher the reasons. We used to make fun of him and also imitate him. It was the age I suppose, which was unable to process incidents rationally, however,  remembering it today leaves me with immense guilt! I don’t think we should have done it!

One striking thing which I remember is the behavior of my grandmother towards Vilas Mama. Actually, none of the elders ever pointed out his mannerism, however my grandmother was extremely affectionate to him. I remember Vilas Mama visiting our home twice a week, since he ran a door-to-door library. My grandmother always had the sweets ready for hm on those stipulated days of his visit! As time passed on, we became accustomed to his mannerism, and found nothing abnormal in that. Today, Hichki reminded me of him. Similar to Nayna Mathur, Vilas Mama offered knowledge to us.

I feel sorry, that we fail to recognise the real person, going beyond the appearance and mannerisms!

 

Salute Indian Girls

Women’s Day was full of messages, wishes, posts, political opportunism, which was quite melodramatic. There were lots of debates stating the pros and cons. I had almost decided of ignoring it however, while going through the data from my course on edX, I found something worth sharing.

We all are concerned about the current state of education in our country, however we should remember that the deprived lot always has fire in their belly to catch up. I witnessed this when I compared the data sets of my course offered on IITBombayX and edX. I have offered this course on IITBombayX five times so far and over 17000 learners have enrolled.

Data shows that 35% of female learners have enrolled in these courses. When I compare this with the edX course, it shows that 22% of female learners have enrolled in the course.

This data (see the screenshots below) may not be conclusive enough however it shows a positive of our country where more girls are striving for knowledge upgrade to modern avenues such as MOOCs. This also triggered my interest to see the completion rates of male and female learners in the courses. will come back on this in a new post later. For now, all I can do is salute the Indian women for their vijigishu (विजीगिषु) approach!

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Lifelong Learner!

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Maria Athaide left us on the 3rd March 2018. A news that rekindled many memories of hers, during the span of interaction last few years. I met her first time when she was an academic consultant with the Azim Premji Foundation. I went to meet her at her office, and the moment she came to know that I had come to Bangalore for a conference to present a paper on educational animations, she immediately set up my interactive session at her office, and called her colleagues over. It was a classic example of her pursuit for knowledge! During my interactions later, I got many such examples!

She then invited me to her house and cooked most wonderful roasted eggplant slices, and choicest of chocolates as dessert! This meeting was also a trigger to a series of events, and her son Noel who was (just) a friend, became my brother-in-law (as he married my cousin: Pallavi).

During that stay with them, I realised that she was a curious learner. She not only wanted to know about new things (be it a craft, poem, teaching method, or even a new software), but also know it thoroughly! Every meeting always started with her question: What’s new?

After many years, when I shared the news of my first MOOC being launched on IITBombayX, she not only congratulated me, but also floored me when she said,

“I am going to enroll in your course. I have been thinking of learning animation for a long time now. It is a good time to start!”

She was 65+ that time, and an accomplished teacher already. She did not stop at mere verbal assurance, but surprised me one night, by asking about the installation process of the software I was using in the course. “I saw your first lecture”, she said, and added, “but I am unable to install the software”. I explained her the process, and she was up and going! I later reminded her to give feedback on my teaching, which she shared with some very pertinent comments!

Although technically, she was a ‘student’ in one of my online courses, Maria has taught me one of the most fundamental principles: Learning is a life-long process!

Rest in peace, You will always remain my inspiration to learn!