KOCHI: Examinations almost always leave students stressed-out. However, a teacher with the Mar Athanasius College of Engineering (MACE) in Kothamangalam has found a way out. He has been setting question papers that intrigue students while making the process of answering less stressful. This time, the question paper set by Kurian John -- an assistant professor in mechanical engineering -- for the third semester BTech exam has taken social media by 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 fluid mechanics.
The question paper has even been shared by Basil Joseph, the director of the film, who himself had been an engineer, on his social media handles. The paper has questions based on the superhero, Murali, his nemesis, Shibu, and even the place where the plot unravels. Kurian said he has been setting such innovative question papers since 2016.
“Usually, question papers are very straight-jacketed. They are something that instils fear and stress among students. And instead of enjoying examinations, students end up dreading them. Another aspect of connecting the course material with things or events that students relate to is that it makes understanding facts and concepts easier,” he said.
The first time he set such a paper, 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. Kurian set similar question papers in 2018 and 2019. “Those were based on the floods that devastated the state,” he said.
While every event in life has physics behind it, laymen fail to grasp it, he pointed out. “Hence, people are often unable to find answers to the problems they face. Even in the case of Minnal Murali, though he is 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 he set questions in such a manner that the students are prompted to help Minnal Murali out.“What can be more interesting than that,” he said. Even the lines following the instructions in the question paper point to the teacher’s effort to get his students to relax.“There are eight questions based on the film carrying a total of 50 marks,” Kurian said.
But he could not gauge the reaction of his students directly since he has gone into quarantine after testing Covid positive. But the calls and messages he has been receiving show the appreciation his idea has gained from all corners. He said he was inspired by his research guide, C Rajendran, who used to model his questions on certain characters or events.
“The end effect was that even if students are unable to answer the question, they will leave the hall with a smile,” said Kurian. He joined MACE in 2016, and his innovative questions have adhered to the pattern prescribed by the university.