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DIY Enthusiasts - Post your Fun experiences with the Indian education system.

greenhorn

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Wanted to share some pearls of humor, which also point to the sad state of the indian education system.

I actually took electronics engineering in college, and was rather disappointed by what it turned out to be. I flunked through most of my theory exams, but aced all my practials ( my profs remarked that i was the first person with that combination - most people ace theory but struggle with labs)

Once upon a time in second year during onam celbrations - I was chilling with the electronics lab assistant while my friends were involved in "cultural" activities, when two appropriately (saree clad) ladies walked up to him to consult. Apparently they were trying out a simple inverting transistor amplifier, and could not achieve anywhere near the theoretical gain of 50. The Lab assistant referred them to be - he wanted to see me take a stab at it. Turns out they were running the circuit off a 12V Dc supply, feeding it a 2v sine wave, and getting disappointed because they were getting a 12V Square wave instead of a 100V sine wave. We both had a laugh and I proceeded to explain to them the concept of saturation and clipping. They thanked me, and were about to be on their way when I couldnt resist asking them for their batch. Turned out they were new lecturers, and one of them went on to take a paper for me in 3rd year!

3RD year lab viva - almost got flunked because of an overconfident external examiner. She had put a TO3 device with no marking for component identification. I said it was a TO3 Device, and she pointed out to me that it was a power transistor. I countered her saying there are no markings on the device, and there could be no way to know for sure. She opened our text book and pointed me to a picture of a power transistor which showed the drawing of a TO3 device. I asked her if she was aware that the LM317 IC was available in that package, and it was most certainly not a transistor. She started to get agitated and started to vent at me claiming that Not only did I not study or prepare, I was making up things to justify myself. Thankfully our internal who knew me better intervened and got me sorted out.

4th Year - This one is totally my fault. By 4th year i was totally disillusioned, and with a job offer in hand, was beginning to get ahead of myself. Now I never do the lab exams with the textbook circuit or answer. Unfortunately, during my microcontroller exam, I totally forgot the syntax for the Divide command. Without it, I could not calculate the area of a triangle. I was looking at flunking a lab for the first time in my life when it dawned on me that I could do a right shift instead of dividing by 2. I proceeded to write the answer that way with a detailed note explaining that the right shift was an optimization - as a shift operation takes much lesser clock cycles than a divide, and the Prof bought it (technically it's a very valid answer)

Do share your experiences :)
 
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anuragn

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Aug 24, 2008
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Hilarious incidents and at the same time, surely reflects the mindset of our society. I think this has more to do with a general mindset that we the "educated" people are only supposed to do white collar jobs (theory vs practical in this case) and a false belief that it is insulting to do anything with your own hands rather than getting it done by somebody of "lower stature". If we look around us, we will see people calling electricians to even change a bulb in their home. Basically, the class divide is deeply embedded in our minds and we (i.e. the society at large) tend to act accordingly.
When I was doing my B.Tech, almost every batch mate used to somehow manage the practicals as if it was just an un-necessary evil.
 

frend2001

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Jul 12, 2010
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Indore, India
This is really hilarious but sadly also points out one big drawback with our education system.

Our teachers and lecturers stops updating themselves once they get jobs. For them teaching is less a passion more a livelihood. So they really don't bother. Also there's one big shortcoming in ways the students aren't encouraged to experiment and try to learn by their mistakes.
Everyone plays it safe, students, parents and finally the teachers.

My cousin is a professor at an IIT, in fact he's HOD in environmental studies. He says the students aren't much bothered about learning they just want their degree ASAP and start printing money. So that's the way it is even in IITs
 

mpw

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sorry - deleted - my post wasnt relevant - when i read the topic subject again..
 
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sandeepss

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May 12, 2012
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Trivandrum
My experience has been quite different from those mentioned here. Right from my school days in Mangalore and technical education later on in Trivandrum and Chennai, I had some very good teachers who shaped the way I think, read and appreciate the world. At any stage I didn't feel that the teachers were under qualified and not fit for their job. The school I had been to in Suratkal was run by a co-operative society and the teachers(majority) were from humble backgrounds. With the little salary they were paid, which I later realized should be very less, they used to buy books for us so that we could read in our free time. I'm still in touch with them, and they are delighted as always to receive our messages and calls, which proves how good they were in creating an everlasting bond :)

BTW, I'm no DIY enthusiast (unless you include washing clothes and cleaning house as DIY, without enthusiasm :D)
 

superczar

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Feb 5, 2008
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3RD year lab viva - almost got flunked because of an overconfident external examiner. She had put a TO3 device with no marking for component identification. I said it was a TO3 Device, and she pointed out to me that it was a power transistor. I countered her saying there are no markings on the device, and there could be no way to know for sure. She opened our text book and pointed me to a picture of a power transistor which showed the drawing of a TO3 device. I asked her if she was aware that the LM317 IC was available in that package, and it was most certainly not a transistor. She started to get agitated and started to vent at me claiming that Not only did I not study or prepare, I was making up things to justify myself. Thankfully our internal who knew me better intervened and got me sorted out.

Do share your experiences :)
Haha - this one is a Gem! I don't have anything as funny as yours but still can recollect a few.


In class 10, I (genuinely ) asked my physics teacher that if V=IR then why do my house lights get dimmer when the AC compressor comes on - instead of getting brighter (more current = more voltage you see) :p

I was duly kicked out of the class for unknown reasons!

In engg 1st year, I nearly flunked my basic electronics course - The first lab (or sessional as they are called ) required us to create a basic LR circuit and log some measurements
When we wrapped up the experiment in ten minutes, the lab assistant felt rather upset and asked to show the rough book and the fair book i.e. the preparatory diagram/ notes/ results as taken on the so called rough noteboook!
In the absence of the above, the day's work was deemed null & void + suspension for the next 2 sessions ( although I am quite sure I too would have got rather cocky when demanded to produce said artefacts :p )
Since 80% attendance on sessionals was mandatory, I had to beg & plead with the professor to reduce the punishment!!

While I don't deny that several professors are good, even excellent - but the rote learning/follow the letter protocol was too strong in the 90s/00s..
I think things have been changing for the better now as I keep seeing videos of DIY drones and powered carts on my college facebook feed now which would make me believe that such tendencies are being encouraged rather than being suppressed
 

square_wave

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During my primary school days I asked my math teacher why I should learn the multiplication table when a calculator was available. I had to do a "Show my fuming dad to furious HM" exercise the next day.
 

bornfi

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Sep 9, 2015
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In my case, it was that time's very popular question - 'what will happen if a refrigerator is left with door opened in a room, will it cool/warm the room?'. To this when my turn came to answer, I said - it depends whether the power plug is plugged to wall or not :) (of course I did not know the answer that time. As you all might have guessed, was sent out of class while entire class burst into laughter (I think this irked the teacher more).

btw, right answer is that it will make the room warm and of course power must be plugged in.
 

arao

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Jan 6, 2019
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@prem and @tcpip (any other IIT Bombay alumni here?) would be quite familiar with the late Prof MS Kamath, who was well known for the tough grading in his courses, but was a very nice human being too.

This happened in the machines lab. There was an experiment that involved torturing a motor with various loads and then plot graphs for the current, RPM, etc. We were a group of five doing the experiment, and I took on the task of measuring the RPM using a tachometer. Very soon our Prof walks in and asks what I am doing. “Measuring the speed using a tachometer”, I said. That’s not what I meant, what is this experiment all about – he asked. Obviously I had no clue what the experiment was all about and so he must have made a mental note to grill me at the viva next week.

At that viva I sailed through easily, which I thought had disappointed him immensely. With a smile on my face I then went on to that week’s experiment. Once again he comes along and asks me the same question, and I had the same answer – “Measuring speed using a tachometer”, again with no clue as to what the experiment was all about.

After some time he calls everyone in the lab to attention and starts:

Even though in IITB we have only one EE department, unlike some IITs where they have separate departments for electronics,telecoms, etc, we do allow for many specialisations – like power, telecoms, microelectronics, computer hardware and software, etc etc. But I didn’t know that IITB now offers a BTech in “Measuring Speed Using a Tachometer”.

Professor Kamath -1, Hapless Student - 0.

I learnt my lesson then – that such over-specialization is no good.

And though my life path meandered through business school, the CA Institute, corporate finance, venture capital investing, etc, and adventure activities in the Himalayas and the South China Sea, none of these even remotely had any use for my considerable expertise in measuring RPM using tachometers …
 

greenhorn

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I had a friend who was given a particularly tough workshop experiment for finals - It's considered virtually impossible for anyone but an expert. The Workshop assistant ended up providing him a fair amount of help to make sure he was able to make something presentable.

The external examiner sat him down and started grilling him very pointed questions. Thought he knew the correct answers, he had an attack of conscience and admitted to the external that all credit went to the lab assistant, and very little to him.
Then the external smiled. His turn to admit that he was a passout of our college, and he had gotten that very same experiment for his finals, and even for him the lab assistant had helped him. He just wanted to know if my friend would do the right thing. He passed with pretty nice marks!

When i was in college, I used to carry a box of spare components with me. During my lab viva, the internal borrowed some components from me.
When the group project time came, there was a free rider in our group, and our internal knew it.
He took out a 3.5mm headphone socket, showed it to him, and asked - "Is this a resistor, capacitor, or a volume control."
My friend (as he later explained) reasoned - Its definetly not a resistor or a capacitor - "Sir, its a volume control"
The internal put a pitiful look at our face, looked at us " make sure he's not going to embarass me in front of the external"
We grinned and took him back, and finally he was receptive to a crash course in component identification


First day of microcontroller programming. We suddenly realized there was something very wrong with what we were being taught. As per our university syllabus, we were supposed to be learning (I think) 8051 Instruction set, and the lecturer was teaching us the 8085 instructuring set. We confronted her, and she said that this was what she was taught in college, and this is what she would teach, and we would need to learn and write for our exams. We went and complained to the HOD, who washed her hands off saying that this particular lecturer was appointed by a minister directly, and there was not much we could do.

I do not know what is sadder- Us learning 8051 and 8085 instruction sets so that we could pass her and the university exams, or the fact that everyone else managed to pass the university exam with programs written in the wrong instruction set!
 
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