Friday, March 14, 2008

DCC2008 Course Abruptly Terminated:

Image: DCC2008 Course Abruptly Terminated: Foundation classroom at 9.30 am and at 12.00 pm today

I have terminated the DCC2008 course for the Foundation class today since very few students had turned up to class in the morning when we were to have the scheduled presentation of the groups on the design opportunities in the area of water in rural India. The task was important but the habit of not coming on time seemed to get in the way. Rashmi and I decided that we would come again at 11.00 am, after the morning tea break and start with a lecture on Design Opportunities and the students present in the class were informed of our intention and they were requested to message the others to come for the lecture. At 11.00 am we found about 40 percent of the class present so we decided to call it a day and retreated to my office from where I sent out the mail to all students and marked copies to my faculty colleagues as quoted below:

Dear Students

I am very disappointed with the presence of students in the DCC Class today especially since we were to have a presentation of the Design Opportunities on what designers can do in the area of water. We had a very inspiring presentation from Dinesh Sharma about the water harvesting system that he has designed along with the posters and postcards made to promote the idea in schools. We also had Sumiran talking to the students and sharing with all of you the village opportunity mapping project that the Gandhinagar students had done last semester in the Data Visualisation course with me.

However today when Rashmi Korjan and I arrived at 9.30 am we had a handful of students in the class out of a strength of 75 and we had to defer the presentation to 11.00 am. I had informed the students present that we would have a lecture immediately on Design Opportunities and the various Disciplines of Design but to our utter dismay the class strength was less than 40 percent when we came up at 11.00 am. This just will not do at NID, or in any other school. I am requesting the Chairman Education to relieve me from the onerous task of trying to teach this batch about Design Thinking if we are to continue the education programme in such a lackadaisical manner. Count me out.

I spent the morning posting the work done yesterday on the Design Concepts and Concerns blog but I fail to appreciate this casual attitude to coming to class and participating in the group tasks. Some students have been regular and committed and I am indeed sorry for them that they have to face the consequences that are not of their doing.

I did enjoy teaching this course over the years but perhaps the world is changing fast (24x7) malls and all and so is NID and I may ask the Education to find another way out for this extreme fiasco. I am sharing this mail with my colleagues at NID and a copy to Chairman Education for their consideration and advice.

With warm regards

M P Ranjan
from my office at NID
14 March 2008 at 11.35 am IST


Prof M P Ranjan
Faculty of Design
Head, Centre for Bamboo Initiatives at NID (CFBI-NID)
Chairman, GeoVisualisation Task Group (DST, Govt. of India) (2006-2008)
National Institute of Design
Ahmedabad 380 007 India

Tel: (off) 91 79 26623692 ext 1090
Tel: (res) 91 79 26610054
Fax: 91 79 26605242

web site:
web domain:
blog: (
education blog: (
education blog:


In the afternoon six students visited my office, in pairs, to tell me that they were sorry but we spent some time discussing the symptoms of the student action or inaction and I asked them to spend time in the library to look at resources of past student work on water and development. We will need to meet together sometime and explore how this course can be salvaged and taken forward and I do hope we get help from our faculty colleagues as well as our senior students. I find that the dialogue between the seniors and the freshmen has dwindled and very little exchange seems to be taking place in the corridors and the BMW or the basketball court, all spaces for informal learning at NID. This too may need to be corrected and this break may be a blessing in disguise if we are able to get the processes of sharing and interaction started again in real earnest. I will have a word with my colleagues and seek their advice about how we can move forward from here.

M P Ranjan
14 March 2008 at 8.20 pm IST
posted from my office at NID


Mandakini said...

Hi Ranjan
It's unfortunate that a course like DCC does not have its followers anymore. I remember the course we had in 2003-04 and how vibrant the discussions and presentations were with a majority of the class participating in the debate and dialogue.

The one thing that stands out to me as an ex-student (not such a long time ago) is what you have said about "informal learning spaces" and the "interaction between seniors and freshmen". It is crucial to the education system at NID and must be preserved.

Prof. M P Ranjan said...

Hey Mandakini

It not just about the DCC course but all learning at NID. The mythologies of the various courses at NID do not seem to be transferred from batch to batch as it used to happen in the recent past. Perhaps it is a function of the numbers and knowing each person on a first name basis to being one more cog in the wheel and therefore being annonymous on campus. The freshers do not seem to connect with people from other disciplines at a task level while the informal socialising would still be a part of the xechanges on campus I think that the discourse about design is dwindling and this is something that would need to be addressed. Perhaps there are more people on campus who do not know design as compared to those who have a body of work experience and a broad understanding of the subject.

I hope that this is a transitional phase with so many seniro faculty having retired and they would be difficult to replace as a source of accessible wisdom about design. Further there are no published histories about our courses which new students can connect with even if they wish to know something about the structure, content and past achievements in a particular stream. The education system at large is continuing to flourish but the informal spaces have indeed been erroded and some institution building would be needed in these spaces and her I am referring to the discipline meetings, consultative processes that lie outside the formal system of administration which I value greatly as a channel of learning at NID.

Our spaces too have changed from being open and accessible to being closed and discipline specific with few people trying to eross the artificial boundaries set by the disciplines perhaps as a result of fragmentation of disciplines and a sort of territorial imperative that comes with this kind of change where the larger role of design at the general gets somewhat lost. The students magazine and the web based initiatives such as this one will perhaps fill the gaps that we see, but the value of face to face communication in the learning process cannot be under-emphasised, particularly in a discipline that is rich with experiential and anecdotal learning such as design. Documentation and presentations, sharing in face-to-face exchanges and formal publications would all have to be used to make this happen as a multi-level learning experience which being at NID has always been for me.

Anonymous said...

Respected sir,
We as students of foundation heartly apologize for the unhealthy participation in the DCC Course. We know that DCC is a very important courseand we have realised that we have done a very wrong thing and we are extremely sorry for the misbehavior that happened yesturday. Please forgive us, sir. Such a thing will never happen in future classes and we ensure you that we will be in the foundation studio on time each time there is a presentation. In future you will never get a chance to complain. We hope that you'll forgive us... PLEASE FORGIVE US...!!!


Prof. M P Ranjan said...

Dear Foundation Students at NID

Thank you for all the notes and comments that you have been sending me over the past two days as well as this new note of appology.

I have recieved 48 mails from individual students till late night on Saturday and another 4 more by late Sunday evening, 52 in all. We have 78 students in the class and I do want a hundred percent participation in all the groups and I do hope that we will be able to mobilise all our students to participate in the learning processes at NID, both formal and informal. This is what made the Institute such a great place to learn all these years and I do not think that we should take this lightly. Some senior students at NID met me yesterday and spoke about the course and the abrupt action that had beeen taken which shows that we all still care for each other and six of you came to my office which I really appreciate.

I am requesting all the groups to gather together tomorrow and spend the day in the Library and the Computer Centre to carry out an intensive research on the topic of Water and to prepare a presentation model that can be reviewed along with the Design Opportunity sketches on Tuesday morning in the class. I am sending a mail to all students with a background note on Information Strategies for Design Thought and Action which is also beiong posted on the DCC blog for future use.

I look forward to meeting the class in full strength on Tuesday morning at 9.30 am along with all the presentations from all the groups. On Monday morning all groups will meet in the class and after working out the key-words for library research that will move to the library and start their research with a clear area of study which would be brought back to the group meeting in the evening for preparing the final model. Good luck and do put your weight behind the task. I will be in my office on case any clarifications are needed and my colleagues Rashmi, Bhavin and Vivek too would be avaiulable for consultation as needed.

Bondhu said...

Hi Ranjan,
It's seriously unfortunate that you had to face such a fiasco regarding ur course...perhaps the number says it was bound to come,but came with a bang!!! as an ex- student and working in the daunting industry for last two yrs its been DCC which actually drove in various junctures of meeting the client and solving serious issues in media as thats where i work.I really don't have the audacity to speak abt design in a very broad way becoz of my lil experience but still one thing I must say the cross culture studies in terms of senior junior interaction is really missing...I did visit this batch ones during their SFS course and gave them a pep talk thanks to Suresh he asked me to inspire them but most of them seemed to be very disinterested becoz it had become a habit of Nid senior to shower their knowledge on everything and anything for no reason....which a foundation kid might not take it in a serious they tend to take seniors for granted or there's another side of the coin..They tend to follow their footsteps too much and cant find themselves in their own way....Wat I mean to say is some seniors with not only industry experience but whose words have the weight shud be giving them inspiration to do well in the design journey...AND I'M SURE U HAVE ALREADY DONE SOMETHING LIKE THIS....
And as far as the mythology of courses been transfered I guess foundation seriously needs dedicated teachers in a large number atleast 1:5 ratio...dont know its too much to ask for but thats wat i feel.
A small personal experience as I took illustration for the present second yr I did feel they lacked in their vision..everybody has the sight but they dont have the tourch..."those have torches will pass them onto others" thats wat Aristotle said , I guess,it might be faculties as torch bearers shud be inspiring I'm sure we can get the culture of Nid back.
Again a BIG thanks to DCC the last assgmnt of plotting our future (20yrs)down the line as design professionals..I have performed 60% of wat i mapped on the paper...Kudos to may be coincidence ,luck or your blessings
but I did them....
All the best for the rest of the class....Its heartening to see the way you are documenting the process with even the fiascoes...Bravo
(Nid 2002-2006)
(Freelance Animation film designer,
Illustrator, Visualizer)

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 2.5 India License.