The Discover India Program (DIP) is an integral part of the experiential learning component of the undergraduate curriculum of FLAME University. It is a credit course. The program’s primary focus is on exploring, understanding, and experiencing the rich culture and heritage of India. Some of the aspects of study include fine and performing arts practices and traditions, historical monuments and architecture, social customs, religious traditions/practices, festivals, rites and traditional livelihood practices. 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.
In addition to being graded for academic credits, there is a competitive element embedded in the program with the group that scores the highest on all parameters of assessment winning a trophy along with an award of a substantial grant to study a thematic aspect of the culture and heritage of a foreign country.