Vantage point

Tuesday, January 21, 2003


First of all, let me tell you what CP is, in case you aren't aware already. CP stands for Class Participation, and it is a sophisticated euphemism for students asking too many questions in the class, responding to the teacher's rhetorical questions, generally being a pain and disturbing the other students who want to utilise the lectures by dozing off. Many professors give a 5-10% weightage to CP in their overall scheme of marking, necessitating everyone to pitch in with his/her own CP from time to time.

Some professors value CP a lot more than others. In such lectures, there is even more of an onus on the students to speak and ask questions or make comments. This is when CP gets a real pain. But if something gets a real pain, leave it to the IIML students to devise ways to derive pleasure out of it.

One such pleasure-seeking legacy handed down to us by our seniors is the "Movie CP". Here the rule is that no one can 'do CP' (i.e ask a question or make a comment to the teacher) unless what you say contains the name of a movie in it. We had just heard about this before, but finally it was implemented in class today.

It was a Communications for Management 102 (COMM2) class and the subject for discussion was how to conduct effective meetings. Pushkar started the Movie CP game with a double whammy. The prof was talking about the importance of consensus building in meetings. So Pushkar goes

"But sir, if too much emphasis is placed on consensus, won't a decision which will normally be taken in nine and a half weeks end up taking nine months?"

There were stifled giggles all over as the professor was answering the question. After that the movie CP kept coming.

"Sir, it will be very difficult to go the whole nine yards if a consensus is to be built up." - Anshuman

"If there is any executive decision to be taken, won't disagreements hamper the whole process?" - Rajat

"And in case there are any major disagreements, the Chairman will end up being the negotiator to get the warring parties to agree" - Moi

"Sir, in case of any deadlocks, how to identify a few good men who are genuinely interested in moving ahead with a positive decision instead of just stalling?" - Balark

"Whenever any meeting gets to a point where it becomes unproductive, there are the usual suspects who are responsible for making it so. How to tackle them?" - Narendra

"How exactly do we snatch the initiative to get our point across in the meeting?" - Paras

"Is it necessary for the participants in a meeting to be die hard supporters of the chairman?" - Vikash

...... and so it went on. All questions and comments were very pertinent to the discussion happening in the class so the prof did not suspect foul play. If anything, he looked pleased at the higher than usual level of class participation. But what was challenging was keeping a straight face during this whole thing. As more and more people got involved, the giggles across the class seemed to go up. If we have to keep this going, we will have to control the tendency to burst out laughing.

We are also thinking of refining this game by introducing rules and a scoring system. It will add to the challenge. For example, single word movie titles or those which are in common usage will not get as many points, as someone who, say uses movie titles like "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang" or "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and gets away with them. He should not cite those movies as examples but weave them into the CP somehow.

Maybe at some point, we will be able to introduce Hindi movies in it as well. Who thought CP could be so much fun?