Induction Schedule and Club Activities
A new schedule was implemented for the UG1 students this semester, wherein, for the first 3 weeks, they had HSS and Human Values classes, among other related workshops, and no core courses. This 3-week duration was termed as the “induction” period, and the core courses only started following this period. This also eventually led to the postponement of the academic schedule for the UG1 students, where their mid semester exams were conducted separately, and there was a general mismatch in their schedule and the schedule for the rest of UG.
While the merits and demerits of the induction schedule are debatable, the general mismatch in schedule has been a deterrent to club activities in the college. While earlier these activities would be scheduled so as to not intervene with exams, achieving this has been more difficult with two different schedules in place. This has led to either the clubs conducting fewer activities, or a lower participation from students.
The extra curricular culture at IIIT has grown well in the past few years, and we hope that there can soon be a resolution to the predicament at hand, before this growth is curtailed.
Trial Run for Biometric Attendance
After the circulation of an email regarding “trial run for biometric attendance”, issues were raised by a fourth year student regarding privacy concerns over this. An open session was held to address these issues, and a proposal for a formal policy has also been suggested.
We believe that technology does not exist in isolation and has vast social implications, and we cannot blindly move forward with all the technological advancements as they come. As students of an institute with a good number of humanities courses in our curriculum, as well as a course offering “Social Science Perspective on Human-Computer Interaction”, and considering the avid science-fiction culture here (“Black Mirror” and the like), it is only expected that we keep an eye out for potentially dangerous technologies. The Ping column “Eye to the Future” is dedicated to exploring the social concerns associated with upcoming technologies as well.
We hope that we, as a research community, move forward considering the ethics and social implications of what we do.
Use of mass mailing lists
Lately, mailing lists seem to have become a much more common platform for discussions over many matters, some trivial and some very crucial. While important discussions have taken place in the past over mailing lists, such matters have usually been brought to resolution only in meetings or open sessions.
This might be considered as an indication towards a shift in preference to using mailing lists as a platform for discussions, but we believe that this shift may not be for the better. Based on recently circulated emails, a glaring concern regarding mailing etiquettes seems to have emerged. Employing hostile tones, threats, sarcastic jabs at one another, and passive-aggressive comments seem to be easier resorts when sitting behind a screen and not facing the person or audience that is being addressed. More often than not, discussions over mailing lists have been trivialised due to this.
While there have emails from the Director, as well as a mailing list moderator, we join them in requesting the entire college community, student or faculty, to not let serious matters be trivialised thus, and to go for better platforms for resolving these matters.
While the “Cynical Cindy” column of this issue has satirized these events, we do believe that this is a serious matter to be looked into.