Discover India Program (DIP) is an integral part of FLAME’s experiential learning component. It is a student-driven program to encourage student research and field-based learning. It is designed as a 4-credit co-curricular program for the second-year students of the Undergraduate Program. It is held in Semester 4 of their second year. This program focuses on exploring and experiencing diverse aspects of Indian society such as communities, habitat, wildlife, ecology, fine and performing arts, historical monuments, and architecture, social customs, religious traditions/practices, festivals, rites, sports, entrepreneurial practices, media, agricultural practices, political systems, etc.
The program is designed to be exploratory in nature that allows students to develop a critical approach to the study of cultural and historical traditions as well as learn basic methods of project formulation along with written and visual documentation. Students work in teams of 10 to 12 members and operate under the guidance of a faculty mentor. They are expected to select a thematic topic related to an aspect of Indian culture and heritage and identify a relevant site for fieldwork to study the topic of interest in person. The students’ preparation for this program involves classroom sessions on the basics of research methodology: asking the right question, framing a basic research design, thinking about surveys and questionnaire, writing structured reports and making creative presentations. Apart from an introduction to research methods and a primer on some aspects of India’s cultural heritage, it also enables students to learn about the complexities of working in a team. They are also expected to operate within a limited budget and be financially prudent with a forced cap on expenses that they can accrue.
After the initial coursework, they submit an initial report on the question that they seek to answer or the aspect that they want to explore along with details of their strategy of study. This is followed by a 10-day field visit under the supervision of a faculty mentor to their chosen site for the purposes of collecting primary data and experience in person the region’s cultural heritage. Post the fieldwork, the students analyze the data collected on field under the guidance of a faculty member and submit a 60-80 page final report on their learnings and findings. The program culminates with a public exhibition where the groups illustrate some of the unique features of their topic of study by employing various creative methods and also present their findings before a distinguished panel of experts.