• Subalalitha Navaneethakrishnan

On Handling NLP for MTech Robotics students at SRM

It has been a while catching up with my tech blog. Today I was evaluating the cycle test -2 papers for MTech robotics students. It was a sheer joy seeing their performance so thought I shud write this today capturing that joy afresh :) MTech Robotics is offered by Mechanical dept of our Institute and this subject was given as an extra work load last semester. I was bit hesitant as It was already over burdening with Computational Statistics last semester and I was handling it for the first time. On the other hand, teaching NLP is always a fun and saying no is always my problem & saying no to NLP is definitely not possible! It was me who set that MTech syllabus so apart from spending extra hours per week , it was not that tough at all :) Anyways I could compensate those extra hours workload by taking only one subject i.e AI plus two labs this semester:).

Teaching a CSE subject to a Non-CSE stream is a fantastic experience also a challenging one. Luckily the students were so sincere . It was an elective Theory subject and did not have lab initially but I decided to teach them to code NLP using Python in 1 out of 3 hours allocated/week as that is how I handle NLP even for B.Tech students. Learning these electives subjects with no practical exposure would make students feel dry. Luckily they gave a lab hour/week later for some reason. Whatever it is, that was very helpful for both me and students to have a better insight.

As I was teaching Non-CSE students for the first time and I was handling it through online, I was under the impression that everybody understood as they never showed up . One day I was asking students to share their screen to check their Python codes. One student had this as the print statement. "NLP is very Tough". This was very shocking to me and one of the students told the actual scenario after the class in person and that's when it hit me that they were finding it very difficult. I was almost about to finish one unit and had given few lab practices too. Then I had to make them talk open and re taught the entire unit again by changing my teaching dimension .Also I had to do the same for lab sessions. They were new to programming and Python was surely new to them. Their willingness to learn made them cross through these uncertainties and I was able to see their confidence levels going up:) .This is what gives happiness to a teacher no matter what . I was totally baffled yesterday facing downside in my career and consistently this is happening for the past three years. At the same time I am grateful for the rest of my life for the exposure and the confidence given by my workplace and owe so much for that !. Being an atheist and a karma believer, I still believe things happen for a reason. Myself and my husband Selva are together exploring possibilities on how to deliver technology so that the downsides faced by both of us in our careers will get compensated. Good luck to both of us :)

Coming back to NLP experience, after gaining confidence in students, I told them strictly that they have to build chatbot as that is their target application connecting NLP and robotics. I gave them a kick starter to gain some confidence and today is the last date for submitting the assignment. The good news is that most of them submitted the assignment :)

Teaching a course gives a lot of insight. Researching and Teaching are inseparable components complementing each other. Teaching current generation gives the urge to update ourselves regularly as they are more intelligent than us .Yes this has to be admitted for our own good and yes Teaching and Learning are also inseparable complementing components :)

Thanks for reading


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