A Transformative Next-Generation Student Connect and Pedagogy:
A Holistic Change Driven Environment.
“Engineering-Service Assisted Integrated Learning [E-SAIL]”
Iven Jose, Benny Thomas, M.R.Sudhir
Faculty of Engineering, CHRIST( Deemed to be University)
Kanminike, Kumbalgodu, Mysore Road, Bengaluru-560074.
Karnataka State, India.
E-SAIL–Engineering Service Assisted Integrated Learning; was founded in CHRIST University’s Faculty of Engineering during the academic year 2017-18. CHRIST University, dedicated to its vision “Excellence and Service” binds its academic fraternity through the core values such as Faith in God, Moral Uprightness, Love of Fellow Beings, Social Responsibility and Pursuit of Excellence. University’s mission, of providing a nurturing ground for individual’s holistic development, drives E-SAIL. It aims at capitalizing university’s flagship program on ‘Holistic Education’ upon instilling these values and letting young minds innovate over the basic needs of the society. E-SAIL also taps the research outcome of the ongoing work in the departments into a product worth deployable for the communities in the neighborhood and reach out to all those in need . In doing so, they also get academic credits by integrating into the engineering curriculum. On the other hand, it gives an opportunity for the community service organizations to access the innovative talent pool. This is achieved through a perfect blend of synergy in finding the long-term, low-cost and enthusiastic technical assistance, by and large benefitting the society. On a broader note, E-SAIL intends to bring about a holistic transformation among these young individuals in entrusting their purpose of life and reinstalling the need to live in close proximity with nature.
Keywords-E-SAIL, Societal, Multi disciplinary, community service, diversity.
In the modern digital era where the focus is completely on developing next-generation innovators and global citizens, It is a big challenge posed in front of the world-class universities/colleges to cater quality higher education. This calls for the transformative initiatives which result from holistic planning and design of curriculum, evaluation, teaching-learning, Research, Policy framework and more. The term quality is often misunderstood in the education sector. With the rise in population and advent of several mushrooming colleges, some meet the purpose, but most of which gets the title of ' profit making ventures'. Are they sufficiently equipped to meet the challenges of the 21st century? Even if they did, most often it is to develop only the professional side of an individual. Are universities responsible just for their professional growth? Isn't it the duty of these educational institutions to teach the values/ ethics and life-saving skills in the young individuals, not just to foster in their professional carrier but also to strike a right balance between professional and personal life? In the midst of these ideologies, students are often confused with regards to their choices and choices imposed by the peers and parental pressure. E-SAIL focus on disruptive measures to foster into some of these issues projected above in understanding their current stature and providing an innovative model to self-explore and sustain their thirst for a satisfying professional career. The realistic picture of being a successful engineer is always a big challenge posed in front of each individual. Statistics show the need for imparting real-life, hands-on projects , much more than just being theoretical. It is not enough to learn the skills set of knowledge of Engineering, Maths, Science, Problem-solving and System design alone, but should also be exposed to the joy of working with multidisciplinary teams and should communicate effectively. An experimental research conducted at CHRIST gave significant impetus on the effect of Holistic education to the social competence and related skills . It was really a moment of pride for the team E-SAIL to be recognized with its first project funded by ‘United Board’ in experimenting the innovative pedagogy amongst the young talented individuals. It is our desire to ensure the program endures to take the challenge of the long-term, for credit project, in providing this innovative pedagogy in the desired time frame. CHRIST University has the legacy of sensitising students on the societal front through the Centre for Social Action (CSA). E-SAIL reflects on one such model, which integrates the concept of community service through service learning. Once the concepts are thoroughly discerned, the Joy of designing Engineering project gets effectively implemented through the multi-disciplinary approach in Service Assisted Integrated Learning (SAIL).
1.1 E-SAIL Attributes
A unifying approach to innovate
Provides inter and multidisciplinary exposure
End to End design: A Journey from Design to prototype and finally a product
A testimonial to the engineering discipline
The joy of developing a product beneficial to the underprivileged community.
These executions would inherit the joy of contentment in giving back to the society, which is the need of the hour. We believe this ‘Unity in diversity’ would bring about a profound change, and, if integrated into the context of curriculum would lead to further innovations, most desired for the ‘Next Generation Pedagogy.’
2. Overview of E-SAIL
E-SAIL was evolved as a long-standing outcome of the holistic education proposed by the present Vice-Chancellor and visionary in his book  through his vision of bringing about synergy amongst the youth by holding them through the strings that can bind them tightly. The ethics, life-saving skills, may it be through their professional, personal, interpersonal or societal skills, were kept as the key graduate-attributes of any graduating student from CHRIST University. The consensus was that students to be ready for future, would need:
Professional ethics and skills, being loyal to oneself and the profession, ability to perform in a team, manage finance, establish good communication and delivery on time.
Convert research outcomes (published/patented work) into the product, Sensitize on socio-economic issues affecting engineering projects, raising concerns for environmental issues and addressing the needs of the nation.
To instil the dignity of labor and overcome the ego of strata in working with communities which are widely looked down upon.
Often these are pressing issues, which are seldom overlooked, in conventional professional institutions. A new curriculum of integrating this awareness is vital for the present generation, to generate a sense of belongingness and hold accountable for being responsible citizens. This would also instill in them the need for nation-building and work towards uplifting the underprivileged communities in restoring their rights and privileges for a better living. Simultaneously the community service organizations should get benefited out of these innovative approaches being directly made beneficial, as they require [2-4].
E-SAIL was conceived in creating a perfect blend, providing a direct product based outcome, resulting from the ongoing research and bringing about a long-term association between the university and community service partners, which should eventually benefit each other. We hope to bring a lot of value addition in mutually exploring and tapping the potential to deliver the best for common men.
E-SAIL functions on the basis of projects envisaged, either through the outcomes of the ongoing research or through identifying and analyzing the needs of the beneficiaries around us. The university professionals, industry professionals, community partners, and bureaucrats closely monitor this progress. Table 1. below showcases some of the E-SAIL areas, teams, and projects selected for the current academic year. The projects are broadly classified under four different areas as Water management, Agriculture, Healthcare and Disaster management.
E-SAIL is deployed as different courses in the curriculum. Presently they are integrated into four years of Engineering curriculum as two credit, three credit and twelve credit courses which range from a set of core subjects, elective subjects, internships, and capstone projects. Each team is of size 7-10 students. These are students who range from the first year to final year and across multi-disciplines of the university, present pilot run engages students across different disciplines of engineering. However moving forward, it intends to have students cutting across the university from Management, sociology, social work, humanities, Law, Psychology, professional studies, and sciences. While the final year students graduate, new students are added to the team each year. Selection of E-SAIL students involved, inviting application from across the departments and thereby conducting a written test and personal interview. Since the numbers are restricted to a batch size of 7-10 students in a project, often the scrutiny goes tough, and good no of them get waitlisted. Upon induction, the team undergoes an orientation program, where the teams are formally introduced to the systems and assigned a formal mentor along with a student buddy mentor. Generally, a senior student is entrusted from the respective groups. While they get accustomed to the project group, they also learn to shift and take different roles from trainee to design engineer, to project or team leader, etc.
The E-SAIL program at CHRIST University currently has four teams and a total enrollment of 25 students per year. In a typical semester, about seven disciplines are represented. E-SAIL witnessed its first international connect in its first year of inception where a team from MIAMI University represented the international conference on “A transformative next-generation pedagogy” conducted at CHRIST University during March 2018. This conference witnessed 15 speakers and a panel discussion for over two days creating general awareness amongst the students and other regional universities and colleges in the nation and overseas. As an outcome E-SAIL has established its first inter-continental cohort and for the first time during the academic year 2018-19, E-SAIL will host a group of 15 students and one mentor from Miami University on a joint collaborative project to be deployed at a small village, Byramangala, at Ramanagaram taluk, near CHRIST University Faculty of Engineering. We are in the process of inviting several regional, national and international universities to partner with the project E-SAIL giving it a multi-dimensional facet.
While we proposed E-SAIL to the students of CHRIST University, we thought about the theme of “Unity in Diversity “
3.1 Unity in Diversity:
CHRIST University presently houses 21 thousand students, which cuts across all the states of India, union territories and close to 68 countries. A country which is highly diverse in language, culture, caste, and creed, yet respects each others space in bringing about a perfect synergy. A conglomeration of several disciplines and departments has brought about a unifying approach amongst the students, which has actually helped them widen their horizon and think beyond boundaries. While several states have their own societal issues and problems, These challenges are encouraged to be cited through the E-SAIL forum and brings a synergetic approach in positively impacting several communities.
Table 1.Projects: Water Management, Health Care, Agriculture and Disaster Management
4. Engineering Education-A Roadmap
A program like E-SAIL would address quite a lot of challenges as faced by the common man. The spark of learning by doing would bring about a great transformation in believing one's capabilities. It would On the other hand, it will also attract researchers identify problems, which has social relevance and travel an extra mile going beyond mere publications in the journal. This should promote a product-based culture in the country and should thrive for more patents from the academic community. The need to explore and provide these niche, among the graduates in on a constant rise. Several accrediting authorities have started integrating these requirements through their assessment criteria. University Grant Commission/All India Council for Technical Education has recently enforced the requirement of rural internship/projects for the holistic development of the villages. The Engineer of 2020[6,9] has deliberated on creativity, entrepreneurship, agility, resilience and flexibility. While the needs assessment for such program is surfacing in the country, we are happy to take this lead in pioneering this well defined E-SAIL structure, integrating the growing set of skills –analytical, problem-solving, design, professional skills into the curriculum.
We strongly believe that programs like E-SAIL can bring about a profound change in performance-based differentiating factors for the formation of NextGen responsible individuals. As quoted by a student who underwent a course in community service at Purdue , “No longer is engineering just a bunch of equations, now I see it as a means to help mankind” should be the ultimo, for being part of this transformation and capitalizing these case studies in the classroom, for bringing about a transformative next-generation pedagogy.
E-SAIL program has been supported by grants from the United Board for Christian higher education in Asia, headquartered at New York, CSR donations, through a recent MoU signed between Safran engineering services (France based company), IEEE(World’s largest technical professional organization for the advancement of technology) and CHRIST University, on E-Mobility. CHRIST University management for the wholehearted support, all the project team members, Faculty and student cohort from various disciplines, community service partners and various industry representatives.
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