World-first IT course gives Indian school students a pathway to programming

India’s next generation of programmers are getting a head-start on their careers through RMIT’s Introduction to Programming course, delivered online and free-of-charge.

RMIT is the first university globally to roll out the initiative, offering high school students from India the chance to complete the undergraduate course Introduction to Programming.

The free six-week course covers the basics of programming design, principles and development in Python giving Indian students a taste of RMIT’s world-class education, which is among the world’s top 150 universities in Computer Science and Information Systems (QS World Rankings by Subject).

Students walk away having completed a first-year university course that can be used as credit towards a relevant undergraduate degree.

The course is part of RMIT’s Global Extension Studies which offers international students the opportunity to experience an Australian education virtually.

Starting in mid-December 2020, the course has enrolled over 80 high school students across India and finishes at the end of January 2021.

Students use an online interactive textbook and the online coding platform for a hands-on experience in programming.

Students have already created a text-based interactive adventure-type game, which School of Science Lecturer Gayan Wijesinghe said were significantly impressive.

“The students have picked up Python quite well. In fact, they have gone above and beyond our expectations,” Wijesinghe said.

“We are around the mid-way point of the course and the work has been of a very high standard.

“Most students are not only able to complete the coding, but able to show higher-order thinking.”

Program director of RMIT’s School of Computing Technologies Santha Sumanasekara said that one of the priorities was to give a top-quality programming design and hands-on experience for high school students from all walks of life.

“They’re a diverse cohort, so we wanted to ensure we could provide the experience to students from all backgrounds; affluent, underprivileged, rural, metropolitan,” Sumanasekara said.

“We designed the course to be fully browser-based and didn’t require any expensive software or technology.

“The textbook used in the course is fully online and interactive, so the students can engage with the programming exercises without expensive program development platforms.”

Tom Gifford, Assistant Director of International Marketing and Recruitment at RMIT, said he was pleased RMIT’s connection with Indian schools continues to grow.

“We are excited to be developing strong relationships with schools in India and showcasing RMITs high-quality education,” Gifford said.

For more information about studying at RMIT and scholarships, visit here and chat to the RMIT team via our online chat.


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