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With focus on ‘real-world’ maths, IIT-Madras offers free web course to boost numerical literacy

The course, titled 'Out of the Box Thinking', is open to anyone aged 10 or above, and is aiming to reach one million students. First batch is scheduled to start on 1 July.

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New Delhi: The Indian Institute of Technology, Madras, has launched a virtual course to promote “innovative thinking” and enhance problem-solving skills through maths problems derived from real-life examples. With this course, IIT Madras intends to reach one million (10 lakh) students from schools and colleges across the world.

Called ‘Out of the Box Thinking’, the course will be offered free of cost to anyone aged above 10 through Pravartak Technologies Foundation, a section 8 (not-for-profit) company established by IIT Madras. Registrations for the course will close on 24 June, and the first batch is scheduled to commence on 1 July 2022.

‘Out of the Box Thinking’ will be taught by Sadagopan Rajesh, a mathematics educator and founder-director of the Aryabhatta Institute of Mathematical Sciences. 

“Most of the segments in this course relate to ideas realising from real life [sic] to maths problem-solving in an easier way — through familiar life events, not necessarily stories,” Rajesh told ThePrint.

“In order to make learning much better, we wish to add more animation and graphics to it in the subsequent years. In the initial launch, more visualisation-based ideas (static) will be explained in the best possible way,” he added.

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‘Will benefit students in rural India’

“This course is first-of-its-kind in India and will make a major impact in the days to come. We will see the benefits of this course in the next few years. The course is being offered free of cost. This course will greatly benefit school and college students, especially those residing in rural India,” Professor V. Kamakoti, director, IIT-Madras, said in a press statement. 

“Out-of-the box thinking is solving problems through an indirect and creative approach, using reasoning that is not immediately obvious and involving ideas that may not be obtainable by using only traditional step-by-step logic,” he added.

By introducing new techniques in an easy-to-understand fashion, ‘Out of the Box Thinking’ “will prepare learners to face real-life projects with confidence and ease,” according to the statement. 

As part of the course, IIT Madras will also issue grade certification to students who appear for examinations, for which they would have to pay a nominal fee.

The course will be divided into four graded independent levels: level-1 for students in Class 5 and above, level-2 for students in Class 7 and above, level-3 for students in Class 9 and above, and level four for students in Class 11 and above. 

While course material for students of levels 1 and 2 will be 20 hours long, it will be 30 hours long for levels 3 and 4.

The final, proctored examination, will be conducted at centres in selected cities across India.

“If we approach mathematics with discipline and passion, not necessarily in a formal way but realising 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 to a rapidly changing technological world,”  Rajesh said in a press statement earlier this week.

(Edited by Amrtansh Arora)

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