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The initial steps of Engineering Exploration at MGM University

Prof. Sumit Kaldate
(sumitkaldate@jnec.ac.in)
Date: 1st July 2020

The discussions were abuzz with the talks of the Engineering Exploration Laboratory to be set up at MGM’s JNEC Aurangabad. To make sure that the teachers are clear about the objectives and goals of the programme, the institute’s management and Principal Dr. H. H. Shinde took proactive steps

Initial steps

The teachers were sent for a training programme at, KLE University, Hubbali which is one of the Universities with a prior experience of the Engineering Exploration programme. We, the faculty members were worried about the practicality of the programme, as the question was to motivate the first year Engineering students for interdisciplinary projects. This doubt existed because conventionally projects were only done at third year or fourth year levels till now. Therefore, if there was one word which existed in the minds of the faculty members, that was IMPOSSIBLE.

An interdisciplinary project required at least the basic aspects of all the engineering mother streams (Design, Electronics & programming), and it was expected that the students of the first year, who just started their journey in Engineering, should participate and complete an interdisciplinary project.

Transition

The transition came in when we heard the acronym “PBL”, which stands for Problem Based Learning. The practicality of Engineering Exploration was demonstrated by:

1. Hand – on training

2. Exhibition of projects of the first – year students of the Engineering curriculum.

To put it in simpler words, Engineering Exploration implies the application of existing knowledge to create something new. This is an integral part of PBL. Here, the role of the student is that of an “explorer” and that of the mentor is of the “facilitator” or “navigator”.

And then, we had our transition from IMPOSSIBLE TO I’M POSSIBLE

The voyage

A team of 10 members was formed, and we named our lab as M. Vishweshwaraiyya Engineering Exploration Laboratory. We started our voyage of EE with utmost zest at our institute. Ours was an interdisciplinary team; we shared the responsibilities among us for the effective sessions of EE. So we participated in the course design of EE, topic preparation, presentations, activity design, formulation of need statements for the projects, infrastructure requirements and procurements of material, etc. The most entertaining factors were the brainstorming sessions which were devoted in order to achieve the highest degree of simplicity in terms of engineering pedagogy, without losing the depth of the programme.

It was the first time for students to be entertained by three faculties at the same time in a session, so our interdisciplinary team shared their knowledge respective to their stream of engineering in accordance with the topics taught during the Engineering Exploration session.

We were much encouraged as the students responded with positive vibes.

The D-day

We organized an exhibition of the projects and named it ANKUR 1.0. We were all eager for the daylight to appear as well as skittish for the outcomes of the exhibition. Because of the great response by our first batch of Engineering Exploration (EE) & our EE Team, ANKUR 1.0 was a satisfying moment as the visitors & judges praised the efforts of our students. Some of the students got an internship in the industry because of their project.

The icing on the cake was the selection of “Semi-automatic Garlic & Groundnut peeling machine” project in the Marathwada Innovation Challenge 2019 among the 200+ applications from all over the Maharashtra. This Challenge was organized by Marathwada Accelerator for Growth & Incubation Council (MAGIC) Aurangabad in association with Chamber of Marathwada Industries & Agriculture (CMIA) Aurangabad.

Being the mentor to this project, I had a feeling of joy & pride for the students, Surendra Vishwakarma, Ashvin Kasture & Bhojraj Bharambe for their achievement.