At the beginning of every academic year, CVV organises a Bridge Programme to assist and equip the new students for the transition from school life to college life. The programme is broadly classified into four modules: ‘Understanding the University’ which provides information on the University, its rules and regulations, courses etc.; ‘Expanding Expertise’ which are value-added and skill development sessions; ‘Tapping your Talents’ which has cultural and sports sessions and ‘Building Bridges’ which involves ice-breaking activities meant to trigger interactions and bonhomie amongst the students. The month-long Bridge Programme for the new students of the academic year 2020-21 was launched on 16 September 2020 at 9:30 am. With the COVID-19 restrictions in place, classes will be online and so it has been with the Bridge Programme which is being conducted via Zoom.
Day 1: Wednesday, 16 September 2020
Session 1: Inauguration
The Bridge Programme was inaugurated on an auspicious note, with the rendering of the Saraswati vandana, Guru vandana and CVV Kulagitam by our senior students, under the guidance of Dr. Prabhavathy P. N., Assistant Professor at CVV’s School of Kalayoga, who joined in to welcome the new batch of the academic year 2020-21. Though the celebrations and festivities that usually accompany the Bridge Programme were missing, the joy and love remained the same in welcoming the bright young minds to the virtual semester.
Prof. Gauri Mahulikar, Dean of Faculty, addressed the students and explained the relevance and necessity of conducting the Bridge Programme. Prof. Nagaraj Neerchal, Vice Chancellor, provided a power-packed address which ignited the spirit of togetherness and motivated the students to start the new phase in their journey to seek knowledge in all earnestness.
An introduction to the structure and functioning of the Bridge Programme was provided by Dr. Sandhya Shankar, Coordinator for the Bridge Programme 2020. Thereafter, Assistant Profession Dr. Vinod R. R., Coordinator of Preksha, CVV’s Skill Development Programme, provided an overview of the course which they would be attending.
After a brief Vote of Thanks by Dr. Sandhya, the session concluded with a shanti mantra by Dr. Prabhavathy. The MC for the inaugural session was Assistant Professor Dr. Ajaykumar from the School of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Heritage.
Session 2: An Introduction to the Academic and Administrative Systems by Dr. Soumya S., Registrar-in-Charge
Dr. Soumya provided an overview of the University’s functioning, its various departments and courses. The students were buzzing with queries by the end of the session which were all addressed to their satisfaction.
Day 2: Thursday, 17 September 2020
Session 1: Ice Breaking and Fun
The day began with a fun-filled session, in which the students got the opportunity to interact with each other and establish a rapport through various activities. The students enthusiastically participated in activities like ‘I Spy’, ‘Pictionary’ and ‘Scattergories’. While some were familiar with the first and the second activity the third one was a new experience for all of them. They were also informed about the Farthest flying Fledglings contest and their respective groups.
Session 2: Orientation by the Examination Cell
Shri Dany Paul, Administrative Assistant to the Controller of Exams along with Dr. Soumya, provided a run through everything related to exams. The students attentively noted the rules and regulations and had their doubts clarified.
Day 3: Friday, 18 September 2020
Session 1: ‘An Introduction to the CBCS system', Dr. Saurabh Singanapalli, Assistant Professor
This session on courses and credits was an extension to the previous session. Dr. Singanapalli explained the Choice Based Credit System followed at CVV and the multiple options and freedom students have, to choose the courses they want to pursue and thereby shape their degree in a unique manner.
Session 2: 'Self Awareness' by Dr. Kavita Shanmughan, Assistant Professor
Be it the short clip on 'Bamboo Story' or the family portrait activity, the participants were in high spirits and ready to take on life and look at things positively by the end of this motivational session that marked the end of Day 3.
Day 4: Monday, 21 September 2020
Session 1: Chinmaya Mission Pledge
Swami Advayanananda, CVV Trustee, addressed the participants on the first line of the Chinmaya Mission pledge which is, ‘We stand as one family’. Swamiji explained what each word in the line signifies and unpacked the values they represent through stories and examples from everyday life. It was well-received by the students and was followed by a Q&A session.
Session 2: Interaction with Percussion Maestro
Renowned Chenda artiste Shri Udayan Nambootiri presented a lec-dem of the instrument. Dr. Prabhavathy P. N., Assistant Professor in the School of Kalayayoga, served as a translator between him and students. The session ended with a performance which the students enjoyed and appreciated deeply.
Day 5: Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Session 1: Overview of the IKS Foundation Course
Prof. Gauri Mahulikar provided an overview of the IKS Foundation Course that is unique to CVV. Quoting ample stories and examples from the sastra-s, she communicated the relevance of the subject and inspired the students to dive deep into Sanskrit and ancient Indian wisdom. It was well received with students expressing eagerness to know more.
Session 2: The Basics of English
The faculty of English interacted with the students and conducted tasks (on Google docs) on learning, speaking, reading and writing in English.
Day 6: Wednesday, 23 September 2020
Session 1: Courses Offered by CVV
Faculty and Programme Directors addressed students on different courses. It was followed by an interactive session wherein the students of each programme met and interacted with their respective Programme Director. The students expressed satisfaction of having their doubts cleared. The PDs also appreciated the time spent with the students.
Session 2: Group Dynamics
Dr. Shilpa Ashok Pandit, Associate Professor, School of Psychology, Philosophy and Social Heritage (PPSH), conducted a session on group dynamics that was fun-filled, interesting and most importantly insightful. She made the students participate, think and express their thoughts in groups and helped the students realise how roles and challenges need to be taken-up positively in group settings.
Day 7: Thursday, 24 September 2020
Session 1: Learning Systems
Shri K. R. Lal, Director-IT, apprised the students on the learning systems (Moodle) followed in CVV. The session covered the operations and the functionality of Moodle and addressed queries related to challenges that students may face while operating Moodle.
Session 2: CVV Library
Dr. Manoharan Pillai, Assistant Librarian, oriented the students with the CVV library. He briefed students on the ways of accessing online resources and the facilities that the library offers.
Day 8: Friday, 25 September 2020
Session 1 & 2: Career Guidance
In the session on Career Guidance, Dr. Kavita R. Shanmughan, Assistant Professor, School of PPSH, made the students reflect on their skills, knowledge, interest, personality, career paths and list out their career needs. The students participated in activities that aided in exploring their self traits linked to the career choices that they aspire for. The students also got their doubts on their career goals clarified, and shared their career plans.
Day 9: Monday, 28 September 2020
Session 1: Sanskrit Activity
This was the first session in the series of Sanskrit activity-based sessions conducted for the UG students by Dr. Sudarshan Chiplunkar and Dr. Jaya Krishna Sharma. The stress was on using Sanskrit for basic communication needs. The facilitators used role-plays and group tasks to ensure that everyone understood and participated. By the end of the sessions, the students learned how to introduce themselves in Sanskrit.
Session 2: The Mitra System
The students were introduced to the tutoring and mentoring system that exists at CVV. Dr. Venkata Raghavan and Dr. Sandhya Shankar explained the roles and responsibilities of both the Mitra and the Guru. The students were told about what to expect from this system, how it is executed and general do’s and don’ts that apply. The session ended with the clarification of the doubts that were raised by the students.
Day 10: Tuesday, 29 September 2020
Session 1: Online Etiquette
Prof. Vanisree Ramanathan began with an introduction about communication in a diverse
class and how it is difficult in an online medium, leading to a discussion about the positives and negatives of shifting to an online platform for learning. She introduced the class to the online etiquettes prescribed by CVV and detailed each point, clearing questions as she explained it. In the end, she concluded with an anecdotal case study on the need for increased vigilance on internet space and asked the students to be advocates of the same.
Session 2: Sanskrit: Activity
An animated story in Sanskrit was played in the beginning and based on that sentence formation using the sixth case in Sanskrit was taught. It was an activity-based session where students got hands-on experience in forming sentences in Sanskrit. The session was facilitated by Dr. Sudarshan Chiplunkar and Dr. Jaya Krishna Sharma.
Day 11: Wednesday, 30 September 2020
Session 1: Sports Orientation
The session began early, at 7:30 am, with the active participation of the students. The session was led by Shri Anish P S. The session began with routine stretches and then moved on to simple workout exercise that everybody can do at home without any equipment. He carefully attended to each student, correcting them from time to time. The session ended with the relaxing technique of ‘Shavaasana’.
Session 2: Club Orientation
This was an interesting session which was presented by the senior students of CVV. The senior students explained the objectives of the various clubs and societies dedicated to extra-curricular activities such as singing, dance, debating, sports, and so on. The junior students were also given a brief introduction to the various events organised by these clubs and encouraged to become members of the clubs and to participate in intra-university and interuniversity events.
Day 12: Thursday, 1 October 2020
Session 1: How to Read Academic Texts
The class began with an introductory talk by Shri Sreenath Namboodiri on the importance of reading beyond class materials. He stressed on the fact that reading helps an individual gain multiple perspectives on a subject, which in turn develops a capacity for critical thinking. The class then went on to discuss how reading itself is a personal exercise and each person according to their priorities and interests forms different approaches. However, there are some common tricks and methods to increase the effectiveness of reading. To introduce the same, Smt. Neethu S. Kumar joined in to provide hands-on training on simple reading techniques such as skimming and scanning. She then showed the students how to identify the main idea of any text and understand perspectives by analysing supportive statements. The class ended with an introduction to the upcoming workshop on reading techniques.
Session 2: Anti-ragging and Anti-Sexual Harassment Cell Orientation
Prof. Vanisree Ramanathan introduced the students to the Anti-Ragging Committee and the Anti-Sexual Harassment Committee of the University which have ensured the safety of the students in the University in such a way that there has been not even a single case of these so far. She also explained the definition of ragging and sexual harassment and the various ways which could hurt the dignity of the other students and the necessity to refrain from it. The students were also given direction as to whom to approach in case any such incidents took place.
Day 13: Monday, 5 October 2020
Session 1: Become a Better Learner
Mr. Shekhar Reddy started the session with a hands-on activity of paper cutting and demonstrated various styles of learning. With a discussion on different types of intelligences, the role of motivation and memory in the context of learning, he helped the learners reflect upon their own styles of learning, and called for learners to set SMART goals for themselves for their learning.
Session 2: Online Presentation Tools
Dr. Vishaka Venkat introduced different online tools like Google Jamboard, Padlet, AWW to the students. Different online presentation programmes were also introduced to enable the students to make better presentations.
Session 3: Sanskrit Activity
Dr. Sudarshan Chiplunkar and Dr. Jay Krishna Sharma discussed the use of 'shashti vibhakti' as 'sambandha kaaraka', i.e. connecting two nouns through their relation. Through various examples, the students explored its usage for several nouns of all the genders.
Day 14: Tuesday, 6 October 2020
Session 1: The Importance of Studying Sanskrit
Prof. Gauri Mahulikar emphasized the need to study Sanskrit by conducting a small survey among the students, which revealed the invariable relation of Sanskrit with Indian culture. Different features of Sanskrit like the morphology of word formation etc. were discussed in this lively session.
Session 2: Sanskrit Activity
Dr. Sudarshan Chiplunkar and Dr. Jay Krishna Sharma, started this fourth session of Sanskrit Activity by recalling the discussions on ‘shashti vibhakti’ from their previous session. This session discussed the pronouns ‘tat’ (Tat) and ‘etat’ (This) and their forms for the three genders through plenty of examples. The session ended with a memory-testing activity, where several objects (of all three genders) were shown on the screen and the students were later asked to list them from memory, in Sanskrit.
Day 15: Wednesday, 7 October 2020
Session 1: Combining IKS and CKS
Vice Chancellor, Prof. Nagaraj Neerchal, in this interactive session discussed how combining these can be seen as value-based and value-added education. With a few examples of modern jobs, Prof. Neerchal explained how sound knowledge of IKS gives one a certain edge over contemporaries without IKS knowledge. Students actively participated in the discussions and the session ended with an engaging Q&A.
Session 2: Finance for College Students
Ms. Abha Mohan started with a discussion on the evolution and value of money, wherein the concept of inflation, time value of money and compound interest were dealt with. Further, the importance of financial literacy and certain misconceptions in finance were discussed. Towards the end of the session, the importance of converting savings into investment was discussed and students were familiarised with certain investment avenues that they can avail.
Session3: How to read Texts—I
This was the first part of the series of discussions aimed to introduce the group to the process of reading, and strategies to be employed to be more effective and efficient readers. Ms. Neethu Kumar started with a discussion on the purpose of reading, as well as different approaches to reading. Strategies such as skimming and scanning were touched upon. The features of different types of academic texts were discussed, as were strategies for searching for and choosing a relevant reference text.
Day 16: Thursday, 8 October 2020
Session 1: Virtual Tour of the Campus
This session brought before the students, the beautiful and serene campus of the Chinmaya Vishwavidyapeeth with naturally captured visuals, with Ms. Neethu S. Kumar acting as the tour guide and narrator. This 20-minute long virtual tour of the campus excited the students, as most of them have not been on campus yet. The session ended with a lot of questions from the curious young minds answered to their satisfaction by Ms. Neethu and Dr. Sandhya Shankar.
Session 2: How to read Texts—II
In this session, coordinated by Dr. Saurabh Signappilli, the students worked closely with a text (‘Getting the Language Count Right’ by G. N. Devy) and did practical exercises on understanding the structure of the text, identifying the main idea and arguments, and highlighting supporting details and examples. They thus worked on various strategies related to preparing a schema through which they could better understand the meaning contained in a text.
Session 3: Sanskrit Activity—V
In this fifth session of Sanskrit Activity, Dr. Sudarshan Chiplunkar and Dr. Jay Krishna Sharma discussed the ‘shashti vibhakti’ forms of the pronoun ‘Tah’ in all three gender forms. Then, through a simple story narrated in Sanskrit, they familiarised the students with some of the verbs associated with daily activities. The session ended with students trying to form simple sentences in Sanskrit, using the verbs they learnt during the session.
Day 17: Friday, 9 October 2020
Session 1: Life of Adi Sankaracharya
Dr. Subbarao Jayanti narrated the life story of Adi Sankaracharya and discussed the important achievements of the jagadguru. He elaborated on the Sankaracharya's role in unifying Santana Dharma. The session ended with discussions on some sthutis written by Sri Sankaracharya, some of which were recommended for daily recital.
Session 2: How to read Texts—III
Ms. Neethu S. Kumar led this interactive session and discussed that often overlooked part of reading: reflection. Through interesting examples of writing, as well as through an engaging video clip, the students discussed the different types of post-reading activities and their importance. These included systems of note-taking and methods of transforming received information into knowledge.
Day 18: Monday, 12 October 2020
Session 1: Managing Academic Stress
Prof. Sreevalsa Kumar spoke on a pertinent topic: How to manage academic stress, especially in the times of online classes. He gave suggestions and methods on how to manage stress, as it is inevitable and cannot be eliminated. The session was discussion-oriented and ended with students’ queries being addressed satisfactorily.
Session 2: Sounds and Scripts of Sanskrit
Prof. Nagendra Pavana introduced the students to the various scripts of Sanskrit language and their importance in academic exercises. He explained the basic sounds of Sanskrit language, how they are pronounced and written. The students were given assignments to use mobile apps to practice and master the Devanagari script, which is the commonly used script for Sanskrit.
Day 19: Tuesday, 13 October 2020
Session 1: Resume Writing
The session focused on understanding the elements required in a resume and how to adapt a resume as per the job being applied for. Students had brought their resumes and discussed the pros and cons of each. They were given suggestions for improving them. The session was conducted by Dr. Sandhya Shankar.
Session 2: Sounds and Scripts of Sanskrit
Having used the application, the students were acquainted with the script. They were able to read most of the simple words. Prof. Nagendra Pavana introduced them to the other symbols denoting different vowels. In the end, they were also shown how to write complex saṃyukta-akṣaras.
Day 20: Wednesday, 14 October 2020
Session 1: How to enhance your CV
In this session, Prof. Manjula Iyer started with differentiating between a CV and a Resume. She further elaborated on the various techniques to be used to strengthen one's CV. The tips she provided were well-appreciated by the students.
Session 2: Word Weaver
The 'Building Bridges' session was titled 'Word Weaver'. It introduced the students to an engaging word game called 'Rebus'. In groups, students first took turns guessing the answers to various puzzles, before moving on to create new puzzles of their own, enthralling their colleagues and the faculty members present.
Day 21: Thursday, 15 October 2020
Session 1: Sanskrit Activity
The final session in the series was taken by Dr. Jayakrishna and Dr. M Sudarshan Chiplunkar. The students were taught ‘Saptami vibhakti’ which they practised and then used to form sentences. In the end, students shared their overall experience of the Sanskrit sessions conducted so far as a part of the Bridge Programme.
Session 2: Multilingualism
In India, most of us speak more than one language, and this 'Building Bridges' session brought this multilingualism to the fore for the students. A series of games, translation exercises and picture quizzes kept the participants on their toes, as they switched effortlessly between different languages. Proverbs, songs and movie dialogues were translated from Sanskrit to Malayalam to English to Hindi and many other languages besides, resulting in a melodious and exciting repertoire, which the judges were hard put to score. In the end, it was evident that the session resulted in increased respect for all the languages that we speak: and that indeed was the intention.
Day 22: Friday, 16 October 2020
Cultural Performances and Valedictory (9:30 am to 12:45 pm)
As an appropriate closure to the month-long Bridge Programme, students put up a spectacular performance of their varied talents. They utilised the online platform to their fullest by showcasing talents which otherwise might not have been possible on a stage. The session attended by students, staff and faculty, was appreciated by all.
The Valedictory function started with the welcome address by Shri Srinath Mohandas. He then invited the Dean, Prof. Gauri Mahulikar, to address the students. Dr. Mahulikar informed them about the necessity of the Bridge Programme and appreciated their performances, along with wishing them for their upcoming semester. Vice Chancellor Prof. Nagaraj Neerchal interacted with the students asking them about their experiences of the sessions and stressing on the importance of the Chinmaya Pledge. Everyone was taken through glimpses from the sessions conducted so far. The Valedictory ended with a Vote of Thanks by Dr. Sandhya Shankar, who thanked everyone who had contributed to the success of the Bridge Programme.