Out-of-the-box thinking: In a first, IIT Madras to teach a million students simultaneously

Anybody can take the free course ‘Out of the Box Thinking’ through mathematics; IIT Madras said attending the course will encourage innovative thinking

The first batch of the course is scheduled to commence on July 1, 2022

Call it out-of-the-box thinking: One of India’s best technology institutes wants to teach a million students and turn them into creative thinkers.

It is doing it for free.

Last week, IIT Madras, through its foundation IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies, said it will launch the course ‘Out of the Box Thinking’ through mathematics to encourage innovative thinking. “We are targeting as many as one million students, besides working professionals and researchers, through this first-of-a-kind initiative,” Prof V Kamakoti, director, IIT Madras, told FE. “We are offering it for free because we want to reach out to as many people as possible.”

This course will be offered only in an online mode. While attending it is free of cost, by paying a nominal fee one can sit for a proctored exam and earn a grade certificate (issued by IIT Madras Pravartak Technologies Foundation).

“For solving any mathematical problem, complex formulae are needed, and students do a lot of rote learning to remember these. But there are alternative steps, using which you don’t need to remember any formulae and still solve mathematical problems,” Prof V Kamakoti said. “Do you know there is a relation between jumping of a frog and counting techniques? Do you know there is a relation between number-theory problems and storytelling? Attending this course will help you learn many such techniques.”

He added that more than just helping one easily solve mathematical problems, this course can also help professionals in their career, “because it will fine-tune their brain to think in a non-conventional manner.”

“Creativity and problem-solving are a must for next-generation entrepreneurs,” he said. “We will see the benefits of this course in the next few years, and it will especially help those residing in rural India.”

It will be taught by Sadagopan Rajesh, a mathematics educator and the founder-director of the Aryabhatta Institute of Mathematical Sciences. “If we approach mathematics with discipline and passion, not necessarily in a formal way but realise the subject with more logical and analytical reasoning, we can broaden our thinking. The important output is the development of skills which are essential to fit and effectively contribute in a rapidly changing technological world,” Rajesh said.

The first batch of the course is scheduled to commence on July 1, 2022, and registrations will close on June 24, 2022.

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