Wednesday, April 05, 2006

French Course experience

Recently we had this French course conducted at IIIT Hyderabad. The profs were from CIEFL. I have been posting a lot about the course in earlier posts. I thought I would share some conclusions I derive from the course.
In the beginning when I sent a mail asking for names I got around 120 replies. Yes I knew many of them just wanted to keep it as backup, so I estimated the number of serious students to be around 60. Unfortunately the course cudn't start at time and it could not have been made a regular course. It started at time when one mid semester exams were already over. (The course finally started on 28th Jan). So the course was clearly made a Non-Academic course taken by student only for interest as there won't be any mention of same in the gradesheet.

Dean based to his experience asked me to have a commitment fees from student so that they take it only if they are interested. We decided over an agreement which helped in getting approx 40% payment from students and rest by the institute (this was b'coz the course was not part of curriculum, thanks to Dean we were not required to pay all the money ourselves)

The course finally started with around 30 students paying fees on time and others asking to enter when the faculty finally started taking the classes. Since languages courses can´t have more than 30-35 student in one batch. I had to stop allowing ppl from registering for the course. What happened during the course left me amazed. Slowly students started bunking the classes. The number of student coming regularly was getting lower in every class. By the end of Feb the strength would have easily come down to 15-20, after Feb the attendence decrease was even more shocking. In the last few classes we had attendence like 5-4-3 and so on.

I was seriously shocked to see such a decline in interest of students over time. I can't help but conclude that attendence rule and grades are must to have the students come to class. Even things like Language courses which is totally started on basis of interested student and not a compulsion cannot maintain the strength over time then compulsory courses will surely have lots of problems in doing the same. Committment fees didn't seem to work out well either. May be its just my way of thinking....

(More about French Learning in later posts)


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. Let me clarify.

    1) Both the profs are very highly qualified for any novice to put any questions on them, yes they way of teaching was different and given sufficient time we did find the second professor good too.

    2) Language course go slow only, ppl learn language for months/years. Alliance fran├žais doesn't take a course for less than 1 year, FYKI. And As Marathe Madam told me in first 3 months they teach only the very basic of French.

    3) it was 10/- extra per book. Lets not get too much into money matter, but the books are very rarely sold in market and this wholesale thing shudn't be able to reduce the cost much.
    Yes the professor wud have made lots of money ~ 200/- bucks for himself ? Did anyone force to buy books or stop from photocopying?

    According to my enquiries for language course, I am sure this is very very modest charge for a course. Thankfully our institute paid more than half of it and also that we were large in numbers.

    Note: Prof doesn't get paid less if students don't attend classes. He is paid for number of classes.

  3. The comment removal seems to be buggy. I was deleting my double comment and Akansh's comment got deleted...

    Here is akanash comment (from email backup)

    That's not the complete part of the story. You might want to add some points such as these:

    1) Professor started sending his substitute on one of the weekends who definitely wasn't as good as the professor himself. I believe that it wasn't fair on his part.
    2) Professor went really really slow. Vaise hi we didn't have much sessions each month and then at times those sessions were cancelled due to inevitable things like openhouse, felicity etc. There should have been extra classes to cover that up.
    3) The book wasn't worth Rs.200/ . But he did take that much money. Getting a book for so many students in extra cost shows that the prof wanted to make some personal bucks for him.

    I don't blame you for any of the things mentioned above. You took an excellent initiative to get the classes started. But what I mean to say is that those classes didn't turn out to be worth spending money each month. And so, people stopped coming. It's always difficult to collect money in such situations and I'd say that professor getting paid less is the best solution for the reasons mentioned above.

  4. i took the german course but dropped out midway along with Sashi :) . I didnt give either the midsem or the endsem.

    we had different reasons though ..the prof was a german lover and an indian hater. at the end of each class he would dedicate 15 minutes at the least to tell us why the german's were great and why india was bad..that really ticked me off ..and since it was a non credit course..i took the option of not attending it at all