I was back at the MICA campus recently to take a couple of sessions of Digital Media Planning & Buying. My previous (and my first) visit to the campus was in August of 2019 and this trip reinforced the positive feelings I have for this unique campus.
The campus is located on the South Western outskirts of Ahmedabad city, in a place called Shela. The campus is just the right size for a medium sized educational institution. At around 15 acres, it is neither too small to make the place look cramped and not too big to make it impersonal. Add the beautiful landscape of lush green lawns, leafy trees and the built environment of low rise exposed brick architecture, and you have all the right ingredients to make it a wonderful place for learning.
The place is also bordered on one side with a branch of the Narmada canal. Add the fact that it is located amidst farmland, well away from the hustle and bustle of the city and you have a place that’s a dream for bird-watchers.
I have, so far, spent only about 5 days at the campus, and spent about 4 hours in total in bird-watching. But in this time, I have observed no less than 52 species of birds. To put that in context, I have counted 65 species in the 18 months that I have been maintaining records on ebird.
Here are the birds I spotted during my stay of around 28 hours in the MICA campus this week:
Black (Red Naped) Ibis
Oriental White (Black Headed) Ibis
Oriental Honey Buzzard
Little Brown Dove
Blue Rock Pigeon
White-Breasted (Throated) Kingfisher
Lesser Golden-Backed Woodpecker
Rufous-Backed (Long-Tailed) Shrike
Indian (Rufous) Treepie
Rufous (Tawny) Bellied Babbler
Great (Cinerous) Tit
Of these, I was particularly delighted at spotting two ‘lifers’ – The White-Eared Bulbul and the Rufous (Tawny) Bellied Babbler. The formed especially delighted me as it is only found in North-west India.
We have all heard the saying that Learning has to be a continuous process. And the digitisation of learning has meant that it’s become easier than ever for people to learn a new skill, at whatever stage in their lives they might be.
I am a Visiting Faculty of Digital Marketing at a few institutes and teach both MBA students as well as Working Professionals. I like teaching, and so I occasionally wonder what the future of education and learning might look like. These are some of the trends that I believe will become increasingly important:
Bite-sized learning – The desire to only invest time and money for learning some specific subjects or skills
Anytime, anyplace learning – the ability to learn at one’s own convenience
Application Oriented learning – learners are keen on pedagogies that prepare them better on how to apply their learnings in their immediate careers
Enter micro-credentials. These have become very popular very quickly to address the opportunities being created by these above trends. While they are not yet a substitute for formal, university oriented education, I have no doubt that these can, and will, play an increasingly important role going forward.
Does that mean that universities and established higher education institutes have reasons to worry?
I do not believe there is undue cause for concern, at least in the near term. There will continue to be the need for centres of academic excellence that provides an environment for people to go deep into a subject and do research. At the same time, there will continue to exist, for the near term, the need for ‘signalling’ – a way for society, especially employers, to be able to filter people by their ability to conform to the set of rules that define success in a typical academic set-up.
I would like this, to be different, though, such that people who might not have the ability, of the willingness, to conform to these set rules can still signal their capabilities and interests to the broader world. I believe micro-credentials can be a means to achieve this end. We are not there yet – the lack of a uniform set of standards to evaluate the various different ways to earn micro-credentials is a major issue that needs to be resolved before this can happen.
I have recently started a new teaching assignment, with the Institute of Product Leadership. I am teaching Digital Marketing to students in the first year of their Full Time MBA Course in Applied Data Science and Technology Management.
The classes are conducted in the campus of MITADT at Loni, Pune. MIT is a well know engineering college. I am familiar with and have visited their campus at Kothrud in South West Pune during my time studying at the Government College of Engineering (COEP), Pune. But this was a new campus for me. In fact, it was the first time I was visiting Loni, about 15 kms to the East of Pune, on the road to Solapur.
I was staying at a hotel in Mundhwa, or Koregaon Park Annexe. This is right in the heart of the city. And it had its advantage in that there were good street food options a couple of minutes walk from the hotel. I did not want to travel to Pune and not try the local street food and was delighted that I could indulge in this conveniently.
The commute to Loni took around 40 minutes one way. The campus is a pleasant one. Not very large, but with imposing buildings, dominated by the towering World Peace Dome. As with most educational campuses, it had well maintained lawns and numerous trees. The classrooms on the other hand, though, were relatively small and very school-like in its feel. Having said that, it did have its benefits of being more intimate, leading to a greater degree of interactivity than in larger rooms.
MITADT – World Peace Dome
MITADT Manet Building
Temple inside the campus
One of the enjoyable moments for me occurred while I was taking a post-lunch stroll in the campus. The Mula-Mutha river forms the northern boundary of the campus, while immediately outside the main entrance to the South runs the main Mumbai – Solapur railway line. One frequently hears the passage of trains anywhere in the campus. This reminded me of my own engineering college, which, though located nearly twenty kilometres to the West in the heart of Pune city, had the exact same geographical layout, bordered by the river to the North and the railway line to the South.
I enjoyed teaching the course and look forward to subsequent visits.
Ahmedabad is the commercial capital and largest city of the westernmost state of India, Gujarat. It is where I did my Post Graduate Diploma in Business Management, at the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.
I was invited to teach a few sessions in Display Advertising at another eminent institute located in the city – MICA. Though I had been to the city a few times, this was the first time that I was actually flying in to the city. A few photos of the airport below.
Decor – Ahmedabad airport
Installation – lions – Ahmedabad airport
Installation – Gir – Ahmedabad airport
The MICA campus is located on the South Western outskirts of the city at a place called Shela. I had to take the Ring Road to get there – a road that did not exist when I was a student in Ahmedabad. It was interesting to observe how large the city had grown spatially. There were also numerous apartment complexes along the road, though many did not seem occupied.
The campus itself had a lot of similarities with IIM. Low brick structures set amidst well maintained lawns and surrounded by lush greenery lent it a serene ambience, conducive to the pursuit of knowledge. The lush greenery also meant that it had a rich bird-life – in fact, after a while, the loud, harsh calls of the numerous peahens within the campus went from ‘nice’ to ‘mildly irritating’.
Temple within MICA campus
Playground – MICA
Sunrise over the fields of Shela
Peacock – MICA compound wall
Peacock – MICA tennis court
The classes itself were interesting. It was good to see the interest in the course with well over 130 students participating. Hopefully, they would have learnt a few things from the sessions.
One of the things I have always wanted to do was teach. And I was fortunate to get the experience recently.
Why teaching? I guess a key aspect for me was the necessity to be a subject matter expert. No matter how much time one has spent working in this domain, when it comes to a field that is so dynamic such as Digital Marketing, I believe that no one can rest on their experience and claim to be an expert. One has to constantly relearn as things keep evolving at a rapid rate. When I started my career in digital marketing, users only had a single screen, social media was unheard of, and we were measuring ‘hits’! Thankfully, my work has helped me keep abreast of all the latest developments, but having to teach helped me focus on the learning aspect even more.
I have also been fortunate in having the freedom to design my own course content, within the given framework. The experience of having created and presented multiple presentations to different audiences helped here.
Of course, as with any new venture, there is continuous scope to learn and improve further. And this is something I intend to do.
If any readers have any tips on what they enjoyed most while teaching, or indeed while being taught, please do comment. Thanks!
Digital marketer, travel / culture / heritage enthusiast