KOCHI: Examinations have always been something that induces tension and stress among the students. However, an assistant professor with the Mar Athanasius College of Engineering (MACE), Kothamangalam in Ernakulam, has found a way out. He has been setting question papers that intrigued the students even while making answering the questions less stressful.
This time around the question paper set by Dr. Kurian John, assistant professor, Department of Mechanical Engineering, MACE for the third semester BTech Mech has taken the social media by the storm. What sets the question paper apart from the regular ones is a set of questions connecting the story of the hit superhero film Minnal Murali with Mechanics of Fluid.
The question paper has been shared by Basil Joseph, the director of the film, who himself had been an engineer. Basil shared the question paper on his social media handles. The question paper has questions based on the superhero Murali, his nemesis Shibu and even the place where the story of the movie plays out.
Dr. Kurian John said he has been setting such innovative question papers since 2016. "Usually all the question papers are very straight-jacketed. They are something that instills fear and stress among the students. So much so that instead of enjoying examinations they end up dreading it. Also, another aspect of connecting the course material with things or events that the students relate to makes understanding facts and concepts easier," said Dr. Kurian. So, the first time he set such a paper was in 2016 and the characters he used to relate the course material were the students themselves. "The students were happy and could understand the questions and also the facts related to the course material," he said.
After 2016, he set similar question papers in 2018 and 2019. "Those were based on the floods that devastated the state," said Dr Kurian adding every event in our life has physics behind it. "However, the laymen don't understand it and hence many times are unable to find answers to the problems that they face. Even in the case of Minnal Murali, though he was a superhero, his abilities become limited in many situations. His superpowers don't come in handy in such situations which could be easily solved had he been well-versed in physics and fluid mechanics," said the assistant professor.
"So, the questions were set in such a manner that the students got prompted to help out Minnal Murali and what can be more interesting than that," he added. Even the lines after the instructions in the question paper point towards the effort of the teacher to get his students to relax. "There are eight questions based on the film carrying a total of 50 marks," said Dr Kurian. But the teacher couldn't gauge the reaction of his students directly since he has gone into quarantine after testing positive for COVID-19. But the calls and texts he has been receiving show the appreciation his idea has gained from all corners. According to him, he was inspired by his research guide Dr. C Rajendran, who used to model his questions on certain characters or events.
"The end effect was that even if the student is unable to answer the question, they will leave the hall with a smile," said Dr. Kurian who joined the college in 2016 and has been setting such innovative questions while adhering to the pattern prescribed by the university. Dr. Kurian hails from Pallikara near Kakkanad and advocates making learning fun.