New electives may include mobile technology, smart phone apps, cloud computing

Students entering the portals of an engineering college under Anna University this September will be the first to study certain advanced subjects of technology that the university plans to introduce as part of its revised curriculum for 2012- 2016. The Board of Studies consisting of 10 experts from every department submitted a draft comprising the recommended changes nearly a fortnight ago. The draft will be approved by a standing committee in the next few days, and final syllabus is expected to come out in August first week.

However, the changes are most likely to be part of the sixth semester, as the curriculum in the initial semesters will mostly remain the same to ensure the thrust will be on basic subjects, said officials.

Electives such as mobile technologies, study of smart phone applications and gadgets and Cloud sharing and computing might also be part of the new curriculum. According to senior professors, production engineering and mechanical branches might undergo the most changes, as subjects of automated manufacturing and design technologies for the core braches of engineering are top on the list. While electives in medical electronics and nanotechnology are also being considered, certain subjects being offered as electives now are likely to be made mandatory.

“These are necessary keeping futuristic technology in mind. There are interdisciplinary subjects planned. For instance, it has become important for civil engineers to study sensors and networks to create better structures.

The Anna University curriculum is spread over four years with eight semesters. The initial two semesters are spent on basic subjects of Physics, Chemistry, mathematics, fundamentals of computing, programming, and the fundamentals of core engineering. Students study six theory subjects and three practical subjects a semester, except in the eight semester. In all, there are 45 theory subjects, besides the project.

Students can choose six elective subjects from a range of 20 offered to them.

The University had initially appointed a nine-member committee including 2 senior persons from the industry and 3 senior professors from IIT- Madras to design the new curriculum.

“The curriculum that consists of what the students need to study every semester has already been designed. We have also asked for the omission of certain subjects with theories that have become obsolete now,” said a professor.

Interestingly, a section of professors have also asked the panel to initiate the ‘open book’ system of examinations, already prevalent in reputed institutes such as the IITs, particularly for subjects that involve problem solving as part of the new curriculum. “ It is high time we introduced the system because students are increasingly depending on solved illustrations and regular set of problems. This will be a better way of testing how well they apply the concepts,” said a senior professor.