On scheduled nights, College of Engineering and Computer Science Dean S.K. Ramesh heads to his computer and lectures to a select group of students in India as part of an Indo-US Collaboration for Engineering Education (IUCEE) program he’s involved in. The program links CSUN to six Indian universities, whose students take part in his communication engineering webinar. Being across the world makes the timing an interesting constrast: While Indians students are preparing for lunch, it’s close to midnight in Northridge.
“I must admit, giving a lecture in your pajamas is a whole different experience,” Ramesh said, laughing.
The 12-hour time difference hasn’t tempered the dean’s excitement about these online webinars. During the webinars, students hear Ramesh in a real-time lecture with accompanying slides. He makes annotations on the slides to make the session more interactive, which is incredibly key for him to make this a worthwhile endeavor.
“The interactivity is really important in learning,” Ramesh said, “because it’s easy to get up on stage and convey what it is you want to say. But how do you know that the students at the other end are really learning the material? I think that is a key toward success in education.”
At the end of the session, the dean stays online into the early morning hours answering questions from those students. Despite the time difference, Ramesh said he enjoys it because he knows that these students truly appreciate the opportunity. It also brings him back to the days he spent more time face-to-face with his students.
“Intellectually, it’s very stimulating and engaging to be back in the classroom,” he noted, “even though I was virtually there and connecting with students whom in this case I literally could not see.”
For more: CSUN Dean of Engineering and Computer Science Teaches Virtually to an Audience Half-Way Around the World [Digital Stories]