Friday, January 25, 2019

Alliance Open Forum - MOOCs, Why NPTEL has to improve its MOOC offering ??

On 25 th January 2019 at Alliance School of Business, Alliance University Bangalore, we had an interesting Open Forum session where Dr. Sukanya Kundu  from the Operations Management stream spoke on the Perception and expectation levels of Massive Open Online Course (MOOCs) from 3PM to 4.15 PM.

25 Jan 2019 Open Forum meeting
The presentation by Dr Sukanya of 30 mins went well. The audience asked quite lively questions in between.

Dr Sukanya has done more than ten Coursera MOOCs on different subjects, while the other speaker Dr. Satish Menon had done some from the Indian government MOOC provider, National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL) from Delhi.

Dr. Satish Menon is presently doing a series of 4 MOOCs from EdX offered by Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Boston on Business Analytics, to be completed with a capstone Project.

I am sure some specialists from NPTEL would be interested in knowing why NPTEL MOOCs are a big failure and sucks !!

Each NPTEL MOOC video is about 30-60 min duration and dragging, when we know human attention span cannot be got for more than 10 mins. Coursera and EdX MOOC videos are never more than 10 mins in duration. 

I have unfortunately not taken NPTEL MOOCs, having completed some from Coursera and EdX three four years back . It is a matter of great pride that one of the first Blended MOOC exercises from India was done in Alliance University during 2013-14 session by my students from MBA Jan batch. I presented regarding this experiment at a recent Future of Learning International Conference at IIM Bangalore on January 4,5 2019.  (click here for the pdf of the paper..)  

 The audience was interested in knowing more about the differences and similarities of MOOC courses offered by NPTEL and Coursera/EdX. 

NPTEL allows free access for their MOOCs for anybody (with the poorly designed and delivered content, even though we have very capable IIT Professors  who can do a better job and some other  privileged tech institutes enjoying central government funds). NPTEL charges Rs 1000/- for the certificate. Most of the Universities already allow 20% of credits to be selected from among the NPTEL courses.  NPTEL exams are fully Multiple Choice Questions (MCQ) based on the tiring 60 min long recorded videos.

Dr Satish Menon is doing a MOOC module with MIT for which he has paid US $ 3600 (almost INR  250,000/- ) for a five course module and a capstone project. The MIT MOOC  exams are evaluated by peers doing  the courses, with expectations of what constitutes points for grading. Moreover the capstone project is a real time complicated issue. Dr Satish Menon is doing a complex capstone project of planning and executing an International Blood Bank Project.
The lively discussion which threw light on the vital differences, weak and strong points of both the Indian govt and foreign MOOC offerings, ended with the following outcomes. 
1, NPTEL is poorly designed and executed, we need more professionalism in the system, but it is very cheap. NPTEL MOOCs have not yet caught the fancy of the Indian student community. 
2. Privately run Coursera / Edx courses are taken by some of the most experienced Professors from some of the top world class academic institutes, but they are costly, if you want a certificate. 
The Open Forum session was an eye opener to what a MOOC should be and what a MOOC should not be. It was sad to note how adminstrative authorities with power but no academic sense can kill a government project. 
The Indian government needs to seriously address this quality issue of NPTEL if it is to succeed.  Fortunately IIT Bombay and IIM Bangalore have their own Edx platforms and I am sure they will come successful wih flying colours in their MOOC designing and MOOC delivery experiments ..  


Thursday, January 24, 2019

Gururaj Deshpande and Devi Shetty on modern learning concepts . What to stress on !!..

Cool and humble Dr. Gururaj Deshpande
Dr Gururaj Deshpande, of Deshpande Foundation, the 1974 IIT Chennai graduate, the tech-bilionnaire founder of A123 systems, Tejas Network, Sycamore Networks, Cascade Communication, Juniper Networks etc, the serial entrepreneur, was speaking at the IIT Bombay entrepreneurship week program, EUREKA, during the third week of January 2019. Guru hailing from Hubli in Karnataka, by the way, is one of the most celebrated tech entrepreneurs of the world, he is the only Indian to be honoured by Massachusetts Institute of Technology - MIT by establishing the Gururaj Deshpande Centre for Innovation at MIT. He was earlier the co-chair with President Obama on the Council for Innovation and Entrepreneurship in US.

Gururaj in the course of his enlightening talk made this startling demand on the educational system of the country - education should be problems and solutions based.

He proposed, why not we find a problem and then study everything needed to solve the problem. in this process, we shall see that the student understands the problem, develops solutions to the problem and finds immediate use of his knowledge in problem solving. Gururaj was indeed, reflecting how the future of education is going to be shaped in the coming decades and centuries.

The fact is higher studies is not going to be studying the generic knowledge related to the subject, but acquiring the skills and abilities to find gainful applications of that knowledge for societal good.
Dr. Devi Shetty

In the Second Future of Learning International Conference held at IIM Bangalore during 5,6 January 2019, Dr. Devi Prasad Shetty , Chairman of the Board of Governors, IIMB and also Chairman of Narayana Hrudayalaya (now Narayana Health) was mentioning in his inaugural speech, how in the immediate future, skills are going to be valued much more than the knowledge a person has.

Knowledge is accumulation of facts about a subject, event, etc while the practical application of this knowledge is skill. 

Finding real-world problems and developing skills to tackle such problems is what both these visionaries of the contemporary Indian tech and medical world forsee. The figure given here explains it well.

The learning outcome from any session can be skills, competence and knowledge acquired. Competence is the proven use of skills, knowledge and ability.

Courtesy Karmo Toikannen, 2016, Lifelearn Platform.
Skills can be practical or  cognitive, knowledge can be theoretical or factual and ability can be personal, methodological and social.

Given that these contemporary societal think leaders who are going to leave great impression on the sands of time have given us the first indicators of what the future world of learning and knowledge is going to be, is it not the right time for us to take note of their expert opinion and do something urgent to refine our educational system to reflect the immediate need of the times we are  passing through.


Monday, January 21, 2019

What is 4th Industrial Revolution (4IR) and how will it affect us ?

The birth of technology and the Industrial revolution that followed has been one of the greatest contributions and reasons why the past 300 years of human life on planet earth has been very productive.

In these 300 years, to be more specific in the last 70 years, since the dawn of the Digital Revolution or birth of Digital Computers, humans are exploiting more natural resources, they are able to lead more productive lives, they are more healthy, they are economically more productive, they are able to explore unseen frontiers of the earth and beyond to moon and neighbouring planets and so on.

The population of the earth at different stages in human evolution over the past 2000 years is given in the below table.

YearPopulationPop. increase% increase

1 AD 170,000,000

500 AD20600000036,000,00021.17647059

1000 AD34500000013900000067.47572816

1500 AD54000000019500000056.52173913

1600 AD579000000390000007.222222222

1700 AD67900000010000000017.27115717

1800 AD112500000044600000065.68483063

1900 AD176200000063700000056.62222222

1950 AD255700000079500000045.11918275

2000 AD60940000003537000000138.3261635

2050 AD (projected)9306000000321200000052.70758123

If we look at these population figures, we find it is the 50 year stretch from 1950 to 2000 AD, where the impact of technology, medical technology and developments in medical science, invention of the Digital Computer etc that led to global population growing by 238% from 2557 million to 6094 million.

The increase in population from 2000 AD to 2050 AD is projected to be just 50% of the population in 2000 AD.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sustainability aspects ..

Click here for some fun  facts of sustainability ..

Try to answer this sustainability quiz 2017 ..(click here..)

Try this National Geographic Green Lifestyle quiz (Click here for quiz

Try this National Geographic Food quiz (click here for quiz)

Try this Earth Day quiz .. (click here for quiz)

george ..

Internet Disorders..

Most of us (half the world population, about 3.6 billion people) are connected to the mother of all networks, commonly called the Internet.

It may be the over-exposure to the Internet or sitting long hours in front of the laptop or mobile phone, browsing Internet, it exposes humanity to many illnesses and mental conditions. This article tries to list and create an awareness on some of the issues and suggests some remedies. 

Let us begin with some of the psychological disorders ..

  • Phantom Ringing Syndrome
  • Nomophobia (no-mobile-phobia)
  • Cyber Sickness
  • Facebook Depression
  • Internet Addiction Disorder
  • Online Gaming Addiction
  • Cyber-chondria
  • Search Engine Effect

Some of the physiological impacts are mentioned here.

  1. Obesity
  2. Back-pain or low backache
  3. Headache
  4. Eyestrain
  5. Body weakness
  6. Lack of concentration

The above Table I is taken from Kimberly Young's article ( click here for article ..) is a simple test to understand whether one is having Internet addiction. If you answer YES to five of the questions, you are psychologically ill with Internet addiction .. 

It requires some attention from us not to be on Internet for long periods of time and suffer from these mental and physical ailments. 

Internet gives us information and lots of leisure helping us to utlise our time more responsibly. It is up to us to be wise with our Internet time. The mantra to benefit from the Internet and at the same time enjoy physical and mental health is to take frequent breaks and engage in walking and other light physical exercises, like climbing stairs, walking to the shop for shopping, use the automobile less frequently (in fact, I have sold my automobile and use public transport and walking to add to my subconscious daily exercise chores.

This online quiz (click here for the quiz) can help you to know whether you are really addicted to the Internet ..


Ref : 1. ROOIJ, ANTONIUS J. VAN  and NICOLE PRAUSEA, (2014), A critical review of “Internet addiction” criteria with suggestions for the future, Journal of Internet Addiction, Dec 2014, 3(4), 203-214.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Why Britain should remain in E.U. ?

Britain joined the European Community in 1973, confirmed by a referendum, in 1975. After 43 years, a referendum was held on 23 June 2016 to decide whether Britain should continue in EU or not. 52% voted that Britain should exit from the EU, popularly called BREXIT.  But, contrary to what the people of Britain voted on 23 June 2016, the law makers have a different take on this issue.

Last night, 15 Jan 2019,
British lawmakers voted to retain Britain in E.U. giving a big blow to Teresa May's much talked about Brexit. 

Opting out of E.U., in my opinion and of British Parliament, would be suicidal and only make life for Britain and Britons difficult. This article tells how E.U. membership would help Britain in the long run .. 

1) It gives them freedom to live, work and retire anywhere in Europe. 

2. Britain will continue to have better global influence within E.U. than outside it

3. Britain can benefit from agreements on terrorism prevention, promoting trade, better security, preventing human trafficking etc

4. British goods will still be popular in E.U. helping retain almost 3.1 million British jobs, in fact adding 0.8 million more British jobs

5. The economic benefit of E.U. membership to UK reflects in 4-5% of British GDP

6. Better consumer protection for British customers across Europe

7. Britons can travel safe and cheap across Europe. International tourists to Britain can also travel to Europe and vice versa

8. E.U. will be an economic force to reckon with, like US, China, India etc , reinforcing the adage - United we stand, divided we fall !!  👍👍

India does not stand to benefit much from Britain joining EU or not as Indian economy is more dependent on US economy's health than that of Europe. !

Britain out of its very oppressive history has been involved in numerous repressive acts in the past from its colonial rule around the world . It's infamous history in isolating geographies, antagonising populations, estranging societies and riling cultures is taking its toll on the country. It is carrying the burden with it now. It is in Britain's self-interest to align with Europe than be alone and isolated ..

Why some Britons want a BREXIT ?
1. The economic aspect to the whole issue is that Britain pays annually close to GBP 17 billion to EU budget of app 117 billion of which GBP 8 billion  comes back as receipts. Britain, Germany, France, Italy and  Spain pays almost 50% of EU budget.

2. A divorce from EU on the other hand would mean a one time payment of GBP 40 billion only, in future years the annually recurring GBP 17 billion could be used for furthering British trade and industry.

3. The other issue for Britain was that there were more EU people working in Britain than Britons themselves. Britons were losing jobs to Europeans ..

If the British Parliament had not voted against Brexit, Britain would have come out of EU on the 29 March 2019. Now that whole process is in a limbo, will Britain go for another referendum to decide whether to quit EU or not or just accept the British Parliament decision and abide by it ?

Britain has to understand that no country can exist as an island, it needs to interact and cooperate with others in the world. An inward-looking culture is only going to pull it back in the long run,


Sunday, January 13, 2019

12 Innovations that shaped modern Management..

Frederick  W.  Taylor, Father of Scientific Management
Who were the pioneers of Modern Management theory or let me say, the Father of scientific Management ? Frederick Winslow Taylor. What did he come up with ? As I explain in my class very simply, he told that it is not only a manager;s son who could become a manager, anybody who practices the scientific principles of management as put up by FW Taylor, could also become a manager. 

What makes Toyota the world leader in automobiles, that gives you great value for money  ? It is nothing but their belief in their people and the practice of employee-driven practice of problem solving that is practiced in all Toyota plants across the world.

Toyota's Kaizen, employee driven problem solving
How can one manage large projects, that run in different locations and takes months or years to complete ? It is the innovation whereby large projects were broken down into small projects or activities and micro manage these activities to finally manage the large final project. 

When General Motors under Alfred Sloan was growing in the 1920s, it faced complex problems as operations were scaled up, but the shop floor remained as messy as ever. Management was a nightmare then. Meeting targets and producing quality products were a nightmare. It was then Sloan's idea of coming with different divisions depending on the output, for example, the car model which simplified the matters and reduced the complexity on the shop-floor.
Alfred P. Sloan, General Motors, initiated divisionalisation

Science was till the beginning of the twentieth century esoteric and helped provide knowledge, but the term technology was yet to pick up. One of the greatest innovations of the twentieth centuries is the industrialization of Science, popularly; called Industrial research and development (R&D). Success of General Electric is a great example of industrial R&D ..

The proactive approach whereby similar industries got together to share their best practices, common problems etc was a management innovation. Earlier industries in similar area looked at the other competitor with suspicion and fear. Now industry wide fora are available for sharing knowledge and problems, though deep knowledge of the area still remains protected by IPR.
GE logo .. Champions of Industrial R&D
Rather than having centralised organisations, industries over the years found that it was easy to manage their operations, if they decentralised their operations, thus was born the concept of radical decentralisation (self-organisation). It made communication and decision making easier. 

While I was researching on Management Innovation I was going through the paper by Gary Hamel in HBR of Feb 2006, "The Why, What and How of Management Innovation". (click here for a copy)
Thomas Edison, GE founder ..
The paper gives a good explanation of how management innovation has shaped the theory and practice of Modern management ever since Management came to be accepted as a science from the beginning of the 20th century, ie the beginning of 1900s.

Here are the twelve Management Innovations of the past century as proposed by Hamel.
1. Scientific management (time and motion studies)  
2. Cost accounting and variance analysis  
3. The commercial research laboratory (the industrialization of science)  
4. ROI analysis and capital budgeting 
5. Brand management 
Gary Hamel
6. Large-scale project management 
7. Divisionalization  
8. Leadership development 
9. Industry consortia (multi-company collaborative structures) 
10. Radical decentralization (self-organization) 
11. Formalized strategic analysis  
12. Employee-driven problem solving 
One aspect that still baffles me is to find assembly line missing in the list of innovations. In fact, assembly line concept started mass production and gave the major impetus to the autombile industry of the world.


Saturday, January 12, 2019

Management Innovation ..

Gary Hammel's interesting HBR 2008 paper on Management Innovation will forever be a classic .. 

Here he talks of different management styles of successful organisations and tries to identify its novel operations and motivation style that makes the organisation so unique ..

The principles are

1. Commit to a big problem 
2. Search for new principles 
3. Deconstruct your management orthodoxies 
4. Exploit the power of analogies

We will have a good explanation of this ..


Contribution to Harvard Business Review ..

Harvard Business School established in 1908 has attracted me like thousands of others for many years. The case method of teaching which I use in my classes are adapted from the Harvard style of Management teaching .. (click here for brief history..)

An alumnus from my alma-mater, IIT Bombay, is the present Dean of Harvard Business school, Prof. Nitin Nohria. The curious and funny thing I have noticed is that Harvard does not work on the fixed term  or tenure for an administrative post.  Nitin Nohria who took over in 2010, is now serving more than 8 years as Dean of HBS.

Most of us have our cherished desires to get our article published in Harvard Business Review. As different from engineering papers or articles, Management articles are required to be more conceptual. Case studies describe cases which are good for understanding and unlike papers / articles which are more conceptual and exposes one to new ideas, thoughts, streams, perspectives etc..

Different media on which you can read HBR articles
While going through the necessary attributes of what gets published in HBR, I have come across the following points to be followed. 
1. Demonstration of expertise
2. Evidence of the existence of the idea by data or intense analytics
3. Originality of the idea
4. Usefulness/utility of the idea
5. Writing style - use of right precise words and avoiding decorative pieces in writing
the paper should have the authenticity of the rightful author or authors / rigorous citations to fall back on earlier management literature / disclosure of any financial grants, motivations etc in writing the article etc.

The Short pitch which needs to be sent to should have the following points clearly mentioned :-
1. central message of the write-up
2. what is important / new / useful / counter intuitive in the new idea ?
3. why managers need to be aware of your idea and how can they apply the same in their work areas
4. what is the source of authority , what references / citations can you mention
5. what are your academic / professional / personal credentials and qualifications that make you eligible to come up with these new ideas / suggestions ?
Hopefully, these are my dreams and desires which I shall be concentrating in the coming days and months to get a stream of management articles published in Harvard Business Review. After listening to Prof. Das RamohanDas of Harvard BS, who is also on HBR Publishing last week at an IIMB conference, this is the beginning of my efforts in that direction..

Reading more and more articles from HBR, gives you an idea of the main ideas and themes they support, promote and entertain, what are the writing styles for articles, what reporting styles are important etc  .. how to conduct experiments and how to report the results of the experiment, how to open the article, how to write the important sections and how to wind up an article and so on ..

The learning can help you in the long run ..


Thursday, January 10, 2019

Jack Ma, love for teaching !!

Back to a teacher ..

Was really surprised to read that Jack Ma was planning to retire from active business life and become a teacher ..

Matha, pitha, guru, then comes God and all other worldly traps, desires, possessions and pleasures .. 🙏🙏

Jack MA, the founder of the business empire that is worth $430 billion, has understood this truth of life quite early at age of 54, wants to be a school teacher !!

He is relinquishing all the worldly desires, pleasures and luxury to take up the profession very close to his heart - to be able to mould the future young citizens of planet earth.

He is very hopeful of being able to spread the knowledge of life and the world around us, to be loving and caring to our fellow beings .. 

There are too many intelligent and unintelligent players in the spiritual / religious business realm across the world waiting to entrap and exploit the poor and the gullible. Their sole aim is just to ensure their own undisturbed material well-being and acquire all the material possessions of this world to help advance their domination and control of this world  ..  How dumb and pitiful a state of mind !!

All other professions on planet earth are self-seeking and self-promoting, including the dirty religious business..  But spirituality is a different ball game altogether !! It has to be realised, not imposed ..

There are the medical professionals who can liberate your worldly travails fro man-made problems and pains and helps one lead a healthy life. But the real heroes and saviours of this world, the liberators of this world are the teachers who take the pains to liberate you with KNOWLEDGE .. 

And Jack Ma, was not too late to realise this truth of life !! In line with the rich Chinese civilization of 8000 years he inherits ..


Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Future of Learning conf IIM Bangalore

It was great to be back at IIMB for a conference. Future of Learning Conference on 4,5 Jan 2019 co-hosted with IITBx. It was indeed the best start of the new year, an academic conference loaded with great talks and discussions.
(L-R) Prof. Jos, Prof. Anant, Dr. Devi Shetty, Prof. Raghuram and Prof. Deepak Phatak

The conference focused on the ways and means by which we could connect the dots and look at Learning 4.0. Digitisation of learning content, its different modes of delivery, collaboration between different stakeholders, different MOOC platforms from around the world, the MOOC mindset etc.

Prof. Deepak Phatak, the earlier CS legend of my days, from IIT Bombay, now aged 70, was very active with his giant presence.

Prof. G. Raghuram, Director, IIMB, the host institute, gave an interesting welcome speech. There were almost 250 participants from different parts of the world.

A view of stage with Prof. Anant Agarwal, MIT and CEO EdX.
The inaugural talk was given by Dr Devi Shetty FRCS of Narayana Hrudayalaya, Bangalore, the famed cardiac surgeon, who is the Chairman of the Board of Governors IIMB and holds the record for the maximum cardiac surgeries in the world, about 15K +. He was the personal doctor of Mother Teresa, the Saint of the gutters from Kolkata.

Dr Shetty was talking of the $8.2 trillion global healthcare and wellness industry. His stress was on mastering skills, which he felt was more important than gaining knowledge in the modern world if one is to go ahead..
Young performers from a school for visually challenged

Besides Dr Devi Shetty's talk, the highlights of the Conference were the heavyweight talks given by some of the stalwarts from the academic scene. Prof. Anant Agarwal, Prof, MIT and CEO EdX and Prof. Das Narayan Das , Sr. Associate Dean from Harvard Business School, Boston, US.

Prof. Anant Agarwal of MIT and CEO, EdX spoke of EdX Micromasters offered in different streams, 4 Micromasters MOOC degrees makes you eligible for a Degree at app 10-20 % of the actual costs of a Degree at MIT campus.

Prof, Shobhana and student presenting
There were presentations by MOOC leaders from Future Learn UK, campusIl from Israel, NPTEL from IIT Chennai, Swayam from MHRD Govt of India and so on. Academic accreditation leaders from AACSB also attended the conference.

Prof. Mrs. Shobhana Padmanabhan, CS faculty from Alliance College of Engineering and Design and her student presented a paper on Virtual Teaching Assistant.

I reported in my presentation a Blended MOOC experiment done in 2014-15 in Alliance Uty for my sem 3 MBA students, when MOOCs were free. (click here for the paper..)

Prof. Das Narayandas of Harvard BS
If my understanding is right, the blended MOOC experiment carried out at Alliance University (AU) by my students was the first in this part of the country. The students from AU had blended MOOC in 2014 itself, long, long before IIMB had embarked on the MOOC journey. It is only of late IIMB has started offering MOOC or blended MOOC. Our Good wishes for all success !!

IIMB now has with public funding good MOOC Recording Lab and studio and a dedicated team of Professors and staff to work on IIMBx. They have crossed 1 million MOOC course downloads and is doing a great job !! Good wishes !!

Prof. Anant Agarwal, MIT
Prof. Das Narayan Das, faculty of Marketing and Sr. Associate Dean of Harvard Business school spoke of his experiences with the future of Learning. He presented a concept called "Personal learning Cloud", which is to appear in the March '19 issue of Harvard Business Review. Prof. Das mentioned how we all have to be life long students if we need to excel in life .

The Conference went exceedingly fine, lot of interaction over 48 hours with luminaries from the MOOC and learning spectrum around the world. Great takeaways .. Fantastic time management, Great food, camaraderie and a great cultural programme by the visually challenged children from Bangalore.

As is with everything good, all good things have to come to an end. I have to really appreciate the great direction and coordination displayed by Prof PD Jose and his IITBx team throughout this conference making it memorable for all the participants.

Under Prof. Raghuram, the Director of IIMB, (my earlier Supply Chain Professor at IITB), the campus is very energised and carrying out great activities. Good wishes to them !!



Data Visualisation Presentation..

Dr. Sukanya explaining the finer aspects of Data Visualisation in R Today 19 July 2019, Business school and Engineering school of Alli...

My popular posts over the last month ..