Very Remote Instruction: Mechanical engineering professor triumphs over time zones

Published: Apr 30, 2020 12:00 PM

By Jeremy Henderson

For the past six weeks, Sushil Bhavnani's lectures in Electronics Thermal Management have given new meaning to remote instruction. 

In mid-March, Bhavnani, associate chair in the Department of Mechanical Engineering, flew to India due to a family emergency. He knew his students would have to temporarily embrace distance learning after Spring Break. 

He just didn’t know it would be that distance. 

"My return, originally scheduled for late March, has been delayed indefinitely due to the international flight ban in response to the coronavirus," he said. "I am currently in the city of Mysuru in the southern part of India."

So since March 16, Bhavnani has, twice a week, logged onto Zoom at 9:30 p.m. India Standard Time to teach advanced techniques in dissipating heat from the microprocessors in the very cellphones and laptops and data centers that have kept his students on track to complete the semester. 

"I was completely shocked that it went off without a hitch," said Bhavnani, who on Wednesday administered final exams 9,111 miles from Wiggins Hall — 10.5 hours ahead of when he planned to in January  — via an online proctoring service. "What facilitates this is our polite, goal-oriented student body. I just got done with class a few minutes ago and had 100% attendance, the same as I did on that first day.  One day last week, during class, we had two brief power outages that lasted about five minutes each.  Every single student was still logged into the Zoom meeting when I got back in. That's pretty amazing!"

Media Contact: Jeremy Henderson,, 334-844-3591
Sushil Bhavnani

Sushil Bhavnani

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