Thursday 22 October 2015

Rubric for Evaluation of Written Assignment

Online Rubric for Written Assignment

Such evaluation in abstraction (at the mercy of the will of teacher)  does not help students. It must be concretized in definable terms 

Time and again, friends and fellow teachers have inquired about the way to evaluate Written Assignment. Whether it is ongoing Assessment  or final Evaluation, both require criteria, measures and it should be evidence driven. Moreover, the abstract marking or grading of student's performance should be defined in concrete terms. Some definable criteria should be set which can be used as measures and which can be supported with evidence. Here is an example which can be of some help to all those who are concerned with assessment and evaluation of Written Assignment.

We have used Google Forms for online rubric. If you are interested and want to customize it  as per your requirements, I can make you owner of the Google Form and you can use it as per your convenience. You can contact me by putting your message on the contact form given on right hand side panel of this blog. Please give your Gmail email id to become owner of the Google Form.
This 'Online Rubric is used at Dept. of English, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar (Gujarat - India) for:

  • Peer Evaluation (Student's Written Assignment evaluated by student)
  • Teacher Evaluation (Teacher's evaluation of student's Written Assignment)
  • Self-evaluation (Student evaluates her/himself)
(If the form do not open within a few seconds, click here to open online evaluation form)

If you are preparing rubric in Google Classroom, click here for help

This online rubric to evaluate Written Assignment is prepared with the help of evaluation criteria used by An American University of Rome (

Rubric for Evaluation of Oral Presentation

Online Rubric for Oral Presentation

Students making Oral Presentations

Time and again, friends and fellow teachers have inquired about the way to evaluate Oral presentations. Whether it is ongoing Assessment  or final Evaluation, both require criteria, measures and it should be evidence driven. Moreover, the abstract marking or grading of student's performance should be defined in concrete terms. Some definable criteria should be set which can be used as measures and which can be supported with evidence. Here is an example which can be of some help to all those who are concerned with assessment and evaluation of Oral Presentations.

We have used Google Forms for online rubric. If you are interested and want to customize it  as per your requirements, i can make you owner of the Google Form and you can use it as per your convenience. You can contact me by putting your message on the contact form given on right hand side panel of this blog. Please give your Gmail email id to become owner of the Google Form.
This 'Online Rubric is used at Dept. of English, Maharaja Krishnakumarsinhji Bhavnagar University, Bhavnagar (Gujarat - India) for:

  • Peer Evaluation (Student's oral presentation evaluated by student)
  • Teacher Evaluation (Teacher's evaluation of student's oral presentation)
  • Self-evaluation (Student evaluates her/himself)

For peer evaluation of sem 1 students, click here

For peer evaluation of sem 2 students, click here

For peer evaluation of sem 3 students, click here

For peer evaluation of sem 4 students, click here

This rubric for the evaluation of Oral Presentation is based on the one prepared by National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE)

We have taken help of ReadWriteThink, NCTE from this website to prepare this rubric. © ILA/NCTE

Saturday 17 October 2015

Life Skills from a Struggler - Shahrukh Khan

Bollywood superstar just got his second honorary doctorate from a University. He wrote on Facebook: “I am a Doctor all over again…yay!! Her Royal Highness & Prof. Jeffery & Smith & all your colleagues, thank you for the Degree of Doctor Honoris Causa.”
He also delivered a lecture to students at the University of Edinburgh, UK. The university’s official website: “The university is to host a visit by Bollywood superstar Shah Rukh Khan on Thursday, 15 October. The actor, one of Bollywood’s most popular stars, will give a public lecture at the University’s New College.” SRK also has an honorary doctorate from the University of Bedfordshire.

Source of images:

Friday 16 October 2015

Postcards in the Digital Age

It's the 'Experience' to write a Postcard 

Prof. Mahendrasinh Parmar's experimental short story on disappearing Postcard inspired me to rethink about the Postcard. The story is titled as 'Postcard jetli (j) Varta?' It is in Gujarati language. If i have translate the title, it would be something like: 'Story, just as Postcard?'. I do not know if it captures the nuance of the short story.

Cover Page of the Short Story
We used to write letters and postcards before emails and SMS / Text messages / Social Media platforms / WhatsApp etc changed our habits of communication. Now-a-days, it is not an easy task to communicate with people through postcards. I would have not thought of writing this blog or writing postcard or even thinking so deeply(or shallow?) after reading the short story, but an amazing thing happened the next day of reading and having interaction with Prof. Parmar about the postcard.

And that is . . . i received a Postcard from a former student Ketan Bhikadiya. Paulo Coelho has rightly said in The Alchemist“And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.” 

I thought let me reply him through postcard.

I asked peon to get me some postcards. He was surprised. I showed him the cover-page of the short story and told him to get this kind of cards in bright yellowish colour from post office. Yes, he wont be able to get postcards from any other place. Is it available anywhere else? I tried to Google it but was not able to get the destination. See, even Google do not know from where to get the postcards! ;) 

Yes, some designer postcards are available but we have to fix 50 paise post-stamp on it before posting it. By posting, i mean dropping it in the red box.

I wrote a postcard!
on 16th October, 2015. After almost 15 years, i wrote a postcard.
I have some fascination for ink-pens / fountain pens. So, just to feel the exaltation of writing with fountain pen, i do write dairies, official letters (where people expect typed ones), just yesterday, i wrote two Ph.D. theses evaluation reports with fountain pen. . .  and so & so.  This fascination was one spur to reply a postcard with postcard but it is certain that - had i not come across the short story, i would have not written postcard. I may have written a letter, but surely, not a postcard.

Today, there are twenty postcards waiting on my table to be written to someone. I am eagerly waiting for postcards so that i can reply with postcard. If you come across this blog and want to give me a chance to write a postcard, please drop a postcard at this address: 

Prof. Dilip Barad, 
Head, Dept. of English, 
M.K. Bhavnagar University, 
Bhavnagar - 364002. Gujarat. India

I would be glad to reply you. Please, do not forget to write your full address with clear handwriting. You know, we have forgot the habit of writing who we are and where do we live in our communications. People, these days, just start posting messages on WhatsApp or SMS without giving proper self-introduction. Most of the emails are without proper signature-note. We have our precious time is asking who the person on the other side is. So, a reminder - please write your full address, if you wish to get a reply and . . . . more importantly, give me an opportunity to write a postcard! I beseech you! Do me a favour by writing postcard.

Some concerns about writing Postcard in Digital Age

This idea of writing postcard in Digital age is a very regressive idea. Isn't it? What do you say? Humans are designed to think progressively. Going back or thinking regressively is not natural to human mind. There may be literary expressions on the dying-ness of things and human habits, but it is not possible for the humans to go back, to think regressively. It seems that it is this spirit of progressive thinking that keeps human alive on the Earth, the only Home of Humans in this uncaring, indifferent Universe. We may cite Paulo Coelho to make a point about coincidence and happenstances in life.

We may cite examples of Il Postino: The Postman (See footnote), a fictional story in which the real life Chilean poet Pablo Neruda forms a relationship with a simple postman. But in real, pragmatic life, the idea of postcard seems to be weird.

Say for instance,
Instead of typing 'hi-hello' or 'a smiley' or acknowledge receipt in form of 'Like' on mobile screen or in Social Media message box, if i write a postcard for the similar purpose, how many humans will be troubled?

The postcard which i mentioned earlier in the blog was delivered to me by a thin and lean, poorly looking postman while i was taking my class. Not only that the class / students and the teacher was 'disturbed' (we all were surprised to see a postcard and a breeze of smile spread over the class in reminiscence of the 'talk' delivered by Prof. Parmar on his story) but also the man, the postcard troubled a lot. He was all sweat, perspiring and heavily breathing as he cycled up hill to the Department. The postmen delivers their posts between 11 and 4. The countries like India are quite hot to work out in scorching sun and that too on cycle.

This is about the postman who delivered the post. There are many people involved in the process of postal communication. Like, i said earlier, i asked my peon to get me some postcards - the peon has to take pains in getting postcard and then dropping it in the Red Box. The post will be collected by somebody from the box. All such letters will be scrutinized, separated, bundled as per the destination, carried in the baggages on the shoulders of some Coolies, delivered to the destination station, from there again the entire process in reverse. So many humans hours and hard work goes into post card communication. And for what? Just for the sake of my insignificant   'hi-hello'? Isn't this entire postal system which runs on the peddles of feeble human legs, sweating out their blood, dreadfully inhuman? If a small digital device can convey the message, why should humans be engaged in such menial tasks? If cleaning of gutters, sweeping roads and similar menial tasks are categorised as inhuman and machines are invented to eliminate such work from human work list, why should we not think similarly about the work done by Postman?

Well, if one argues on the grounds of employment, like people are getting jobs, why do you want to sacrifice a few more jobs to machine? I think, that people will be requires in the offices to process the communication channels on digital platform. These postmen who are doing menial, inhuman tasks would be engaged in better working condition and will work with human dignity.
Apart from this, the time it consumes in communication can not be equated with any other loss. The speed of communication, timely communication and appropriate form of communication are very important for human happiness. It saves human lives. It gives leisure to enjoy the life. The time wasted in waiting is better utilized to enjoy the life. I do not want to say that with faster communication we can work better and we can produce better and our economy will grow at faster rate and the richness of an individual and the GDP of the country and . . . . No! A big No! It is not for economical considerations. Yes, it is getting advantage of faster communication channels. But we not born to work. We are not born to produce material things. We are not born form money. we are born to enjoy the life. And the time saved in communication and shared in communication, will give us better occasions to enjoy the life.

Even with this considerations, i would be happy to receive a postcard from you. . . and would be delighted to hand-write the reply with a fountain pen. Give me an occasion to write with fountain pen. Give me a chance to write a postcard. Waiting happily for your postcard . . . 

Waiting to write reply postcard . . .

The film is worth watching . . . Il Postino: The Postman (ItalianIl postino) is a 1994 Italian film directed by Michael Radford. The film was originally released in the US as The Postman, a straight translation of the Italian title. The film tells a fictional story in which the real life Chilean poet Pablo Neruda forms a relationship with a simple postman who learns to love poetry. ( 

Sunday 11 October 2015

Zero Dark Thirty: Event, Film, Technology, Illusion (Maya)

Zero Dark Thirty - a film

The historical event, the literary expression, the illusion and freedom from time and space

Zero Dark Thirty (2012) is a film about  "the story of history's greatest manhunt for the world's most dangerous man". Yes, it is none other than Osama Bin Laden. The film dramatizes the decade-long manhunt for al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks in the United States. This search eventually leads to the discovery of his compound in Pakistan, and the military raid on it that resulted in his death on May 2, 2011.
Watch the film dubbed in Hindi - 

Zero Dark Thirty received wide critical acclaim, and appeared on 95 critics' top ten lists of 2012. It was nominated in five categories at the 85th Academy Awards, including Best PictureBest Actress for Chastain, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Film Editing, and won the award for Best Sound Editing. The film also earned Golden Globe Award nominations for Best Motion Picture – Drama,Best Director, and Best Screenplay, with Chastain winning the award for Best Actress in a Motion Picture – Drama. (Wikipedia).

The film is not about the brave and courageous attempt of Navy Seals in killing Osama Bin Laden. The film is about CIA agents who worked very hard in Afghanistan, Pakistan and various tough locations, at the cost of their lives, to track the trace of hidden Laden. On the morning of 3rd May 2012, we read in newspapers and watched on news channels about the tough tasks done by Navy Seals. But the real success of such operations lies not in field victory, it lies in feeds collected, organised and passed on to higher offices by secret service agents. If the best of the brains are employed for this task, the task for the field operations become child's play. That's what the film proves.

However convincing the film documents in fictional narration the events of the decade adter 9/11, the conspiracy theorists are not going to believe the story of the murder of Osama Bin Laden. With America's past records being mired in with doubts by conspiracy theorist, it is not easy to believe that some good morning, Osama Bin Laden is killed in an operation 'without casualties', except for a helicopter.

The question about the reality of this Geronimo Operation looms large. After all no body has seen the body of Laden. It is reported that it was buried in the sea.

Surprisingly enough, the film approved with edits by CIA, also remains silent and ambiguous about the real identity of Osama. In the film, except for Maya, CIA agent, no body is sure about the identity of the person in that hideout in Abbottabad. Maya, too, is in doubt. She do not have any proof to prove her claim. In fact, there were no proofs to prove that the person in that compound house was Osama Bin Laden. Several attempts to know the identity of the people failed. Even after the encounter, when the women in the house are asked about the old man, they said some other name. The photos are taken. The body is flown to US base n Jalalabad. Maya, 'visually confirms' (Yes, these are the words in the film) that the body is that of Osama. How can she? She has not seen him. No body has seen Laden for more than decade. So there is no certainty, in the film, about the identity of Osama. There are no blood samples and DNA things shown in the film. Why? It was fictional narration. Why this is not depicted? Why is the film silent on this issue of ascertaining identity of an old man killed and disposed off somewhere (film does not show that either) as Osama Bin Lade? Why the film ends with mere assumption that the man must be Osama? Why it is not proved scientifically? 

Well, there will be theories and histories but no facts or truths. Nietzche has rightly remarked that there are no facts, only interpretations. Julian Barnes in The Sense of an Ending wrote about History (citing Patrick Lagrange) that - 'History is that certainty produced at the point where the imperfections of memory meet the inadequacies of documentation'. The 9/11, death of an old man, operation by Navy Seals are historical events. Very recent ones. We know that it happened, in a way, before our eyes. Quite consciously, we have experienced them. They are in our memory. And yet, the events are full of inadequate documents. Because there are no valid truths to connect Al Queda with 9/11 and certainty of the man killed in Abbottabad , they are recorded in memory as imperfect facts / truths. 

The one who are victorious, becomes the writer / narrator of the history. One who believes in this definitions are the defeated on and thus history is also self-delusion of the defeated. History and literature are deeply connected. Northrop Frye observed that Literature stands on the support of Philosophy and History. The film is a literary expression. Thus, an imaginary narration of the historical event. As time passes on the line of difference between history and its imaginary narration starts getting blurred and seems to be one and the same. Therefore, it becomes necessary to ponder upon the historical events which are near in time and consciousness and its narration in literature. This film (Zero Dark Thirty) is classic example of certainty produced at the point where inadequacies of documentation and imperfections of memory meet. Without any evidence, we are at the mercy of 'visual confirmation' of Maya. Maya is a Sanskrit word for “magic” or “illusion”) a fundamental concept in Hindu philosophy, notably in the Advaita (Nondualist) school of Vedanta. Maya originally denoted the magic power with which a god can make human beings believe in what turns out to be an illusion.

Well, the film is worth watching.Watch it for Maya. Her unflinching doggedness in pursuit of her goal. Her belief in what she believes. . . and later on she is the only one to confirm what she believes. That's where the symbolic significance of her name 'Maya'- an illusion becomes crucial to understand the film.

Brief note on Hollywood and Bollywood

Comparison of any sort is odious, but it is quite obvious. One can't escape comparison. It seems to be hard-wired in human psyche.  One thing is for sure that Bollywood (Hindi films) are very loud, melodramatic (which is pardonable looking at the way life is exuberantly lived) and 'unrealistic' (which is not pardonable). While we see films with similar themes, we find quite opposite treatment in Hollywood and Bollywood. It is not an issue. The films come from different culture and hence they ought to be different. But if the difference is breaching law of probability and necessity and dives deep into the ocean of unrealism, one's attention is drawn to it.
'The Reluctant Fundamentalist' - a Meera Nair film based on Mohsin Hamid's novel (same name) and Kabir Khan's 'New York' are based on similar theme. It is post 9/11 and muslims in USA. Apart from the loudness and melodramatic depiction, what gives us unrealistic and quite opposite images is the way FBI treats the alleged convicts. Needless to say, Meera Nair seems to be more realistic.
Even in this film (Zero Dark Thirty) and films with similar themes (Man hunt in foreign land) like Ek Tha Tiger, Holiday, Baby, Phantom etc, similar sort of unrealism is found. The agents (FBI or CIA or RAW) are picked up for their mental abilities and not physical. The Marines, Navy Seals, Military Jawans are picked up because of their physical abilities and not mental. So, when it comes to man hunt, the agent will apply his mental abilities but will never (and should never) jump in with open AK 47 or grenade bombs and start fighting with the one to be hunted. Maya (in Zero Dark Thiry) or any male agents do not do so. They feed in the information and seek help from the others, who are best for that task. Let us hope, Bollywood will be more realistic is portrayal of characters and situations.

I watch this film on YouTube. I rented the film for Rs. 50 for 48 hours. It was quite unique

experience. Though I watched on mobile phone, I had an option to screen share on Smart TV and have better cinematic experience. I rather opted for watching it while travelling in car from Ahmedabad to Bhavnagar. It is amazing to see how technology is changing the way we entertain ourselves. Technology of 21st century is giving us freedom - the freedom from time and space. There is no need to wait for the film to start (time) or to go to cinema theatre or near TV (space). Where-ever, when-ever, how-ever, we want to entertain ourselves, we can. Yes, we can!
How illusory is this freedom from time and space offered so easily by technology?

Tuesday 6 October 2015

Coleridge: Biographia Literaria

Samuel Taylor Coleridge
Biographia Literaria: Chapter 14

In chapter 14 of Biographia Literaria, S.T. Coleridge thrown his philosophical-critical insights on following issues. These issues are discussed in the below given presentation.
  • Two Cardinal Points of Poetry
  • Coleridge’s views towards Wordsworth’s poetic creed

  • Difference between Poem and Prose
  • Definition of Liegitimate Poem & Function of Poem
  • Difference between Poem and Poetry

After viewing this presentation, to check your understanding of Coleridge's views in Ch 14 of Biographia Literaria, take this online quiz.

Samuel Coleridge- Biographia Literaria Ch 14 from Dilip Barad

Online Quiz


  • Write in your words the difference between poem and prose.
  • Write in your words the difference between poem and poetry.
  • Give illustrations to support your answer.