Pros and Cons of Minus Grades
One widely discussed aspect of the move towards restoring academics as they were in pre-pandemic times has been the reintroduction of ‘minus grades’. The discussion has had many points expressed about the pros and cons of this change, with some questioning why minus grades were initially removed in the first place.
The initial removal of minus grades was one of the many measures taken by the institute to reduce students’ stress amid the pandemic. The intent was to relax the overall cutoffs by ‘upgrading’ a minus-grade deserving score to the higher ‘even grade’. However, the actual implementation of the idea has been called into question by some students, citing the lack of transparency.
Logically, the main reason for the reintroduction of minus grades seems to simply be that it is a more precise way of rating a student’s performance in a course. Moreover, the relative effect of a singular bad grade on one’s CGPA is minimized, as there will now be some students with a higher grade who score just one grade point higher, instead of everyone with a higher grade having at least a two grade-point lead.
The Dean’s List, an otherwise persistent component of academics at IIITH, was put on hold due to the way the pandemic affected academics. However, as per a very recent update, it is being brought back for the 2020 academic year. To keep the procedure student-friendly, the Dean’s List and Merit List will now include close to 30 percent of the batch strength instead of the usual 20 percent.
In a bid to restore normalcy on campus, some professors have started conducting lectures in physical classrooms, while also sharing the content being taught via the usual Microsoft Teams platform. Pranali Jagdale, a UG2 student who has attended a few lectures in person, remarks that ‘it had a strange behind-the-scenes kind of feel’. She also adds that having a professor teach in person after experiencing online-only learning for two years was amazing, allowing her to concentrate more than she could in the online mode. The fact that there was only one other student apart from her in the classroom certainly helped. In all, conducting mixed classes in this kind of extremely limited capacity seems to be a very small, yet crucial step in the gradual reopening of the campus.
Course with IIT K?
Owing to the additional flexibility in scheduling and logistics due to the online mode, IIITH has recently begun offering an ever-increasing number of courses conducted by external faculty. In Spring 2021, the Probability and Statistics course for UG2K20 was conducted by prof. BG Manjunath from the University of Hyderabad. The institute now seems to be scaling up the initiative, with Prof. Amey Karkare from IIT Kanpur conducting the ‘Principles of Programming Languages’ bouquet course. The ‘Topics in Software Engineering’ course being offered this semester is also being conducted in part by Prof. Jalote from IIIT Delhi. However, with the transition back to the offline mode well underway, it will certainly be interesting to see how these collaborative ventures are handled in the future.
Editors: Srijan Chakraborty, Zubair Abid