Tiju Thomas

Department of Metallurgical and Materials Engineering
Indian Institute of Technology Madras
Sardar Patel Road, Chennai 600036, Tamil Nadu, India


ph. no: +91 8056456442
email id: tt332@cornell.edu or tijuthomas@iitm.ac.in

Our Research Group

Applied Nanostructures Engineering and Nanochemistry (ANEN) Research Group

ID6020 Panel Discussion notes (28 Sep., 2017)

Science education research

I am increasingly asking myself questions about pedagogy in science. My questions are motivated by my lived-out experience as a scientist working in India. It is my understanding that India yearns to be in the global science and technology map. I think it also reasonable to say that India hopes to play an increasingly important role in global science and engineering education. These observations about the country, coupled with my own desire to participate in the education process is the motivation for the questions I ask.

Broadly speaking, the two big questions related to pedagogy and education policy that I am wrestling with are:
(i) How can Indian educators and policy makers ensure that India becomes a place for fruitful international academic exchange?
(ii) Given the extremely diverse backgrounds of students coming into materials science and engineering programs, how do we teach the subject at undergraduate and graduate levels?

For the first of the above two questions, I am currently collecting data using a questionnaire I have prepared. This questionnaire is intended for international students, who have had experience with the Indian education system (either as exchange students or as full-timers).

For the sake of simplifying the analysis, I will be focusing on science and engineering students (graduate and undergraduate). If you think you would have ~ 0.5-1 hour for answering my questions (~dozen of them), please write to me. I will send you my questionnaire. If you are an established scientist/researcher, you are still welcome to write to me; I have a different questionnaire for you.

I appreciate you spending the time to respond to my questions. Let me thank you in advance for furthering the cause of free academic excahnge.

For engaging in the second question, I would like to get some responses from students who have at least one college degree with materials science/engineering as a major or minor subject. Teachers of materials science, who would like to share their experience, and provide insights about effective pedagogy are also most welcome.

In short, I am looking forward to talking to you if you are studying/teaching materials science/engineering. I wish to hear about what you think ideal materials science education should look like. Hard data from classrooms would be very helpful. The precise nature of data collection is still something, I am still working on.

I sincerely hope that exercises of this nature will help us develop a healthy pedagogy, which in turn will improve the overall quality and experience of materials science/engineering students.

Thank you. And all the best with your own studies, and scholarship!

(I) If you wish to participate in the above mentioned research projects, you can do so by answering the relevant questionnaires. If you are willing to do so, please write to me at : tt332@cornell.edu
(II) It will take you 30-60 minutes to fill in each of the questionnaires.