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CESG Fishbowl Seminar: Fractal Academics

April 14, 2014 @ 4:00 pm - 5:00 pm

Room 333 Wisenbaker (fishbowl)

This talk will explore a new style of structuring curriculum. We grapple with many questions in educating our students: lack of motivations among students, low attendance and uneven student interest. Other challenges include: the gulf between theory and practice, breadth vs. depth, and the relevance of non-core subjects. How to tailor the curriculum based on individual potential? How to make the curriculum interdisciplinary? How to increase industry interactions? How to incorporate research in under graduate curriculum? The list of questions is by no means exhaustive, and each question, perhaps, begets a thesis.
In order to provide some resolution to these difficult questions, we first started with fractional credit courses. A typical 3-credit course has 42 contact hours; we developed courses with 0.5, 1.0, 1.5, 2.0, 2.5, and 3 credits having 7, 14, 21, and 28, 35 and 42 contact hours. The motivation was to atomize the teaching program and also involve industry partners in some aspects of academics. The student enthusiasm, their commitment, and their output was very high in these courses. Based on the overall success of fractional credit courses, we developed a complete 4-year curriculum, referred to as Fractal Academics. The core of fractal academics is that breadth courses are of 1 credit, while depth courses are typically of 1.5 to 2.5 credits. In essence, we are atomizing the academic program, providing a more holistic education, and in the long run will give students the choice to design their curriculum.

Bio: Uday B. Desai is currently the director of IIT Hyderabad. He received a B. Tech. degree from Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, in 1974, a M.S. degree from the State University of New York, Buffalo, in 1976, and a Ph.D. degree from The Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, U.S.A., in 1979, all in Electrical Engineering. He held faculty positions at Washington State University and IIT Bombay, and was a visiting professor at Arizona State University, Purdue, Stanford and EPFL, Lausanne.
His research interest is in Cyber physical systems, IoT, and signal processing. He is the Editor of the book “Modeling and Applications of Stochastic Processes”. He is also a co-author of five other edited books.
Dr. Desai is a senior member of IEEE, a Fellow of INSA (Indian National Science Academy), Fellow of Indian National Academy of Engineering (INAE), and a Fellow of The Institution of Electronic & Telecommunication Engineers (IETE). He is the recipient of J C Bose Fellowship. He is also the recipient of the Excellence in Teaching Award from IIT-Bombay for 2007. He is on the board of Tata Communications Limited and also on the Strategic Advisory Board of Microsoft Research Lab, India. He is on the board and Governing Council of many leading academic institutions in India. He is one of the founding members of COMSNETS and also Society for Cancer Research and Communication.
Host: Dr. Kumar


April 14, 2014
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm