Chennai: Indian Institute of Technology Madras conducted an orientation session for the new batch of students for the academic year 2020-21 in online mode for the first time. Parents also attended the event organized to welcome the first year students of B.Tech, Dual Degree and M.A.
The orientation was held on the evening of 12th October 2020 and was webcast live on YouTube. The Academic year for the incoming students will commence on Monday (16th November 2020). A total of 938 B.Tech. Students, 175 Dual Degree Students and 52 MA Students have been admitted for the Academic Year 2020-21.
Addressing the students, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, Director, IIT Madras, said, “We have one of the most flexible academic curriculum in the system in India and anywhere in the world. In all programs and all departments, at least 40 per cent of your courses are electives and half of these courses, you can opt for any elective in the Institute. The rest of the electives will have some restrictions but you (students) will still get to choose.”
Further, Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi, said, “Taking advantage of this flexibility, we have been offering, since 2018, many options for students to upgrade to a Dual Degree in an interdisciplinary M.Tech. program by spending one more year. Students can continue to do their B.Tech. in whatever branch they had selected, and from their fourth year, this sandwich program starts and students can upgrade to a M.Tech.”
These M.Tech. courses are in several new, emerging and interesting interdisciplinary areas such as data science, robotics, computational engineering, quantum science and technology, biomedical engineering, nanotechnology and energy systems, among other areas. More and more such programs are being created by IIT Madras faculty and will be offered in the years to come.
The first batch of 50 students to avail this upgrade option graduated this year. In the current batch, almost 120 students opted to upgrade. Students have to have a good CGPA but statistically, these upgrades are available to almost 40 per cent of the students.
“We were the first IIT, and till now the only one, in the country to have a full-fledged large Research Park next to the campus. It hosts nearly 100 companies and more than 200 start-ups, which provides opportunities for students to intern with global and Indian companies and start-ups. This is another unique opportunity to IIT Madras. We are the most innovative institute in the country and bagged No: 1 rank twice in a row in Atal Ranking of Institutions on Innovation Achievements (ARIIA), Ministry of Education,” added Prof. Bhaskar Ramamurthi.
Students can also make use of a tinkering lab called Centre for Innovation (CFI), run for and by students. So many other clubs in Sports and cultural events. Institute is also constructing a huge new hostel, which will be ready by June 2021 and upgrading existing hostels as well.
Professor Ramamurthy, Chairman IIT Madras library explained the library facilities at IIT Madras and explained how to access IIT Madras Library remotely.
Giving a presentation on the IIT Madras Credit System, Prof. V. Jagadeesh Kumar, Dean (Academic Courses), IIT Madras, said, “Students are free to choose 72 credits from anywhere, including from other institutions. The Academic Section website will offer all details to the students. Due to COVID-19 pandemic, the first year of 2020 batch of B.Tech., Dual Degree and M.A. students will follow a Trimester pattern, in place of the usual Two Semester per academic year. All classes will be held online (initially) and all relevant information will be shared through the Institute students email system called ‘Smail.’”
Prof. V. Jagadeesh Kumar also explained about the ‘upgrade’ options for students and added that more courses will be offered by the time students come to campus, probably next year.
Sharing more details about the Institute, Prof. Nilesh J. Vasa, Dean (Students), IIT Madras, said, “The Institute has more than 300 laboratories with cutting-edge technologies. It also hosts four national as well as ten institute research centres. The Institute has numerous collaborations and partnerships with the industry. The state-of-the-art Central Library has a vast collection of books and also provides access to e-books and e-journals.”
Prof. Vasa also briefed students about the Wellness Community Center and other initiatives to help students cope with mental health issues.
Highlighting the student life on campus, Mr. Aman Kumar, Student General Secretary, IIT Madras, said, “IIT Madras is an ocean of opportunities and you are in the best place. The first year students will have a mentor, who is a senior student at IIT Madras and will provide guidance on academics and clear your doubts as well. One most important thing is to check your smails at least once a day as this semester is being conducted online. Please feel free to reach out to the professors and seniors for help.”
Others who addressed the Orientation include Prof. Dillip Kumar Chand, Chairman, UG Admissions Committee 2020, Prof. Edamana Prasad, Vice-Chairman, JEE (Advanced) 2020, and Prof. K. Ramamurthy, Chairman, Library, IIT Madras.