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India launches first-ever online degree in programming and data science

The Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) has launched an online programme offering a bachelor’s degree in programming and data science from the Indian Institute of Technology, Madras (IIT-Madras).

Data science is one of the fastest-growing sectors, predicted to generate 11.5 million jobs by 2026. Moreover, countries all over the world are creating online platforms to deliver high-quality education.

Using online education processes, IIT-Madras is presenting an inclusive, affordable, and flexible education model that will extend its reach, a press release has stated. It uses a combination of online learning and in-person assessment.

Students who are currently enrolled in a different on-campus program anywhere in India can pursue the programme without needing to switch careers or courses, MHRD’s Minister noted.

Employers who want to upskill their employees can also explore the programme without them losing productive time on the job. The project provides an opportunity for working professionals to switch careers.

The programme will be delivered through an online portal and will attract learners from the remotest parts of India, where outreach of digital literacy is minimal.

To ensure that the online learning platform is closest to a classroom learning experience, it will have videos from the faculty, weekly assignments, and in-person invigilated, like any other regular course.

The recorded video content released every week is made up of a series of lectures, sample problems, and step-by-step instructions on how to solve them.

It will hone students’ skills in managing data, visualising patterns to gain managerial insights, model uncertainties, and build models that assist in producing forecasts to make effective business decisions.

The initiative will be offered in three different stages: foundational level (eight courses), diploma level (six programming courses and six data science courses), and degree level (eleven courses).

The foundational level offers courses in mathematics, statistics, the basics of programming and Python, and English.

There are two sections in the diploma level, with courses for diploma in programming and courses for diploma in data science. Each of these diplomas comprises five core courses and one skill enhancement course.

The learner will have to pick one of three allied areas of study including, computer systems, computer applications, and artificial intelligence and machine learning (AI and ML).

The core courses and electives the learner will need to clear in degree level will vary based on the selected allied area of study.

At each stage, students will have the freedom to exit from the course and receive a certificate, diploma, or a degree, respectively, from the institute.

The duration of the core courses in each level is 12 weeks, and the courses carry four credits each. The skill enhancement courses and electives in degree level have varying credits.

Based on the eligibility, interested candidates will have to fill a form and pay a fee for the qualifier exam.

There will be three quizzes for each course, one each at the end of weeks 4, 7, and 10. Each course further culminates in an End-Term Exam. All the quizzes and the end term exams must be completed by the learner, in person, at designated exam centres, held under invigilation.

In contrast to the typical admission processes of IITs, which are constrained due to the limited number of in-campus seats, through this programme, all students who clear the qualifier exam will be eligible to register for the foundational level.

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