A Mass Exodus


1st January 2016. The first day of the semester begins with fresh energy and the classes are brimming with energy. Students are full. There is excitement among the students for the new courses. There are promises (like the ones made previous semester but which never get fulfilled) of being sincere and regular this time. Fast forward 3 months to the last date of withdrawal. By this time the classes are half empty. The enthusiasm to learn has turned into a battle to save grades for many. The withdrawal period witnesses some quite interesting stories to talk about.

While a lot of people withdrawing from a course is not new, perhaps what is catching the news is 56 students out of 107 (more than half the strength) from compu department having applied for withdrawal from the course COL226 – Programming Languages, something that hasn’t before. The course coordinator, Prof. S. Arun Kumar had called for a meeting to discuss possible changes in the grading policy and asked if the students needed any further help.

During the discussion, students cited quite interesting reasons for withdrawal to the prof. – “We liked the course extremely well and hence want to continue it in the coming semester to get a better understanding.” Another one goes as “We are not satisfied by our performance and understanding presently.” Some were a tad different in saying that the “course was too mathematical”.

However what was interesting to note is that most of the applications submitted for withdrawal said “Unable to cope up with the course. Kindly accept my application to withdraw”. One of the main concerns of the students was that assignments despite being large in number had a very less weightage in the overall grading. Soon after Prof. M R Ravi was called into the matter. He expressed his concern “Since cores are scheduled according to needs and are sequenced in manner necessary to be followed you cannot (should not) be allowed to withdraw in a bulk fashion.” He was also concerned about this becoming a trend in the future. Several suggestions were made  

Several suggestions like having extra classes for missed ones or extension in deadlines of assignments were proposed which didn’t seem to resonate well with some students as they said, “Already lots of assignments and 7 deadlines this month; have stopped sleeping”, “Have slept in GCL for couple of nights now”, “Will not be able to handle this burden along with majors approaching”.

To get more clarification on the issue, we approached Prof. Saroj Kaushik, HOD, CSE. According to her, the matter was resolved in the discussion while addressing the concerns of the students. An important information that she shared was that only in special cases like the student with low CGPA having taken extra credits or in case of medical emergency can the core course be withdrawn, not otherwise. She said, “Students and the professor were not aware of this and hence an exception was made in this case. Only students who had less than 20% marks in minors, their withdrawal has been approved (around 26 students out of the 56 that applied).” On addressing the concerns of the students she said, “The pressure builds up when students postpone their assignments to the last minute. It is important to be regular to ease the burden. Special class was taken and students are satisfied with it.”

It seems that the much hyped matter has been resolved.

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