School of Advanced Sciences (SAS) | Division of Social Sciences and Languages
The Division of Social Sciences and Languages – DSSL, at VIT Chennai comprises a dynamic, versatile, enthusiastic and dedicated team of faculty members who have specialised in English, Foreign Languages – Chinese, French, German, Japanese & Spanish, and Social Sciences. We offer a basket of university core and elective courses to all the students registered under the various programmes offered by the Institute – B. Tech., M. Tech., MCA, MBA, B.A., LL.B (Hon’s), B.B.A., LL.B (Hon’s), and B.Sc. Fashion Technology. The division offers research programmes in various niche areas of its specialization, leading to a doctoral degree, Ph.D.
The English wing at VIT Chennai consists of 19 faculty members with a majority holding doctorates from institutes of repute. We as a team are committed to equipping our students, research scholars, staff and faculty members with the essential language, communication and soft skills, giving them a cutting edge and an added advantage over their peers and competitors. We work to be the wind beneath their wings that helps them soar above the rest in all walks of life.
Courses Offered: A variety of English courses are being offered for one, two or three semesters to all students registered under the various programmes in the institute. The students have two or four hours of contact classes including Theory and/or Practical and/or Project components. An entry level proficiency test, called English Proficiency Test (EPT), is given to all the students and based on its results students are streamed into various batches and allotted to take appropriate course(s). The courses currently offered are:
ENG1000- Foundation English- I
ENG2000- Foundation English-II
ENG1901- Technical English-I
ENG1902- Technical English-II
ENG1903- Advanced Technical English
ENG5001- Fundamentals of Communication Skills
ENG5002- Professional and Communication Skills
ENG5003- English for Science and Technology
ENG1111- General & Legal English
ENG1001- Basic English
ENG1012- Communicative English
ENG2104- English for Lawyers
Our Content: We focus on training our students on ‘English for Academic and Specific Purposes,’ honing them in all the language, communication and soft skills required for smooth transition from secondary to tertiary education and to getting placed in their dream jobs. We achieve this by training the students in language, communication and soft skills. All our activities are centered around working on the four major language skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing. Related skills like Vocabulary, Spelling, Pronunciation, and Grammar are also honed in an application-based context.
The theory classes give them the basic mechanics of learning these skills. The practical classes simulate contexts for real-life use of the language. The project component helps the students to work on a project individually or in a group and come up with a report of their findings. All the activities are created with their present and future needs in mind. The following are some of the skills honed:
Listening skills that train students’ ears and minds to be active listeners include listening for details, for important points, themes, reporting, note taking, summarizing, etc.
Speaking skills that train students to get rid of stage fears, fillers, running out or forgetting important points, include introducing themselves – analyzing their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats (SWOT), simulation activities like role plays, group discussions and debates.
Reading skills that train them to skim, scan, for local and global comprehension include reading various literary/technical/self-help texts – technical articles, books, novels, short stories, plays, newspapers, etc. Students are given exercises on loud reading where their pronunciation, stress, pause and intonation are checked and corrected.
Writing skills that train them to write well to be successful in academic and placement-related contexts include writing paragraphs, essays, proposals, abstracts, reports, data transcoding, emails, memos, and minutes, résumé and job applications, Statement of Purpose (SoP).
Project Component is a part of the internal and final assessment, for courses based on project-based learning. This is preferred over quiz and assignment to give more opportunities for students to better relate to the language, experiment with it and produce works that they feel proud of and hold memorable. Students get an opportunity to write autobiographies, travelogues, plays, etc. giving vent to their creative expressions. They also experiment with short film making, researching on various aspects and presenting their findings in reports, etc.
Communication and Soft Skills that train them in the various aspects of communication like how to overcome barriers and communicate efficiently and effectively. Soft skills like working in teams, negotiating to a win-win agreement, presentation skills, discussion and debating skills, leadership skills are some of the soft skills infused into them.
Our Methodology: We use simulation activities like role play, group/pair work – dialogue writing, group discussion, debate, language games for vocabulary building, grammar, listening to video/audio clips, watching movies and plays, giving presentations, preparing and administering questionnaires, using language learning softwares, etc., besides the traditional lecture method. Teacher talk time is very less. Students listen, speak, read and write more since it is predominantly activity/task based. Students are given the space and the opportunity to try, make mistakes, correct themselves and be open to be corrected by peers and teachers in a non-threatening environment conducive to language learning. Our students will bear ample testimony to breaking free from stage fear, writer’s block, and dealing with running out of ideas or words while speaking or writing and other communication-related problems because of pair or group work and personal interaction of faculty members with individuals and smaller groups. We tirelessly strive to lower their affective filters by reducing their anxiety levels, while increasing their performance, motivation, self-confidence and interest levels.
Our Assessment: We have regular continuous assessments in the various skills in the traditional paper-pen formats, online formats, and presentations formats. The students also take a final assessment involving all the skills taught.
The Foreign Languages wing at VIT Chennai offers five foreign language courses to give the learners an edge over the other engineering graduates in this era of globalization and knowledge transfer. The Division originally offered three courses – French, German and Spanish. Chinese and Japanese were added a little later to its basket. The motive of teaching foreign languages is to sensitize the learners to the basics of the target language along with its culture. The foreign language courses offered are:
GER1001- Grundstufe Deutsch
CHI1001 – Basic Chinese
ESP1001- Español Fundamental
JAP1001 – Japanese for Beginners
Our Content: Learning a foreign language opens the door to multiple opportunities. Beginning with teaching the basic script of the language,all the way to exposing the students to the culture of the target language, our foreign language courses offer a blend of linguistic and cultural components. All the four language skills – Listening, Speaking, Reading and Writing are imparted through various activities done in the classroom.
Our Methodology:A blended approach to learning is provided by judiciously using MOODLE, an open source learning platform – to inculcate language skills and bring about learning outside the classroom.In view of the fact that we teach a new foreign language with minimal hours of instruction, the classes are made interesting and informative with games, role-plays, movies and projects to optimize learning about the people, culture and traditions in the target language.
Our Annual event called the “The International Languages Day” celebrates international languages and our learners are challenged to come out with creative expressions by applying the new foreign language they are learning. A holistic peek into the world of the target language is given, through several interesting competitions, fortifying the exposure and instilling a curiosity to learn and explore further in the target language and culture.
Our Assessment:All the four skills are assessed during the internal and final assessments in the pen and paper format. Digital assignments, open book tests and posters and project submissions,etc.,aid in evaluating learning comprehensively.
The Social Sciences wing at VIT Chennai consists of 4 faculty members with 100% holding doctorates from institutes of repute. The engineering students along with their technical knowledge need to acquire sound knowledge about the society they live in. The division is keen on imparting the knowledge and awareness of our society, culture, media, ethics and values. The students are sensitized regarding various social problems and ethical challenges they could face and are guided to explore ways to effectively deal with them. There are two psychology courses offered to help students gain a better self-concept, understand personality theories to help cope with every day challenges in relationships, communication and deal with stress, etc. The division offers a basket of university elective courses to the B.Tech. students:
HUM1012- Introduction to Sociology
HUM1021- Ethics and Values
HUM1022- Psychology in Everyday Life
HUM1023- Indian Heritage and Culture
HUM1024- India and the Contemporary World
HUM1039-Community Development in India
HUM1040- Indian Social Problems
HUM1041- Indian Society: Structure and Change
HUM1042- Industrial Relations and Labour Welfare in India
HUM1043- Mass Media and Society
HUM1045-Introduction to Psychology