As the semester approaches towards its inevitable end, the students can undoubtedly be found indulging themselves (read: filling last minute preferences after asking their BFFs about their choices) into the list of in a plethora of institute electives offered by various departments, ranging from Humanities and Management to those by Maths and Earthquake. After months of deliberation, long sessions of brainstorming by the Dean of Academics and the concerned committee, supplemented by remarks from the graduated batches, the new academic system came into action in 2013. It must be noted that the change was introduced for the freshers batch of 2013-14. Through this article, Watch Out! intends to give the students of IITR an insight into the diversity and flexibility of the courses being offered by the institute, in case they happen to be in their sophomore year. In case you are a 3rd year student, you are welcome to share the pain of the editor of this article.
The new academic system divides the B-Tech programme in 3 categories:
The simple B-Tech. (or the “Vanilla” B.Tech. as the Dean himself puts it): Here all the core courses in most of the departments are finished by the 5th semester. This programme consists of 1 Institute elective, 6 departmental electives ( Category (1) - 2 general electives, ones which everybody would like to take, and are covered in the 3rd year. Category (2) - 4 specialised courses, to be covered in 4th year, 2 in each semester which happen to be M-Tech courses in general)
B-Tech with Honors: Students (CGPA>7.5) can take up 5 electives from their department, in addition to the 6 electives offered to all students in the 6th, 7th and 8th semester.
B-Tech with Minor Specialization: Students (CGPA>7.5) can take up 5 electives from other departments from a list of courses offered by that department. A student needs to complete 5 core courses out of the 10 offered from another department to earn a minor in that particular department. Although they don’t accept undergrads, B.Tech. students can get a minor from the Department of Management studies too.
The Extension of B.Tech B-Tech students (CGPA>7.5) can switch to an integrated M-Tech dual degree programme after their third year. Since all the departmental core courses and general departmental electives are completed by 3-2, students can start the M-Tech programme in their 4th year and continue it in the 5th year, along with a dissertation. This new system is better than the old IDD programmes as most students do not have much idea about the specialized courses while filling their preferences after JEE. The counselling trends reflect that students with a comparatively lower rank go for the IDDs and eventually many of them find that their interests swaying elsewhere by the end of 4 years. The lack of interest and enthusiasm results in poor research work and dissertations. The new system hopes to improve this.
Reduction of Course load The present system has reduced the unnecessary courses from the curriculum so that students can take up additional ones without being overburdened. The minimum credits required to obtain a degree have also been reduced. This will undoubtedly help students interested in preparing for competitive exams or those who want to explore different subject areas outside of the classroom.
Industry Experience The new academic system has also tried to address the problem of lack of practical experience in students by introducing an industry oriented problem in 3rd year. Students will be divided into groups, mentored by a few teachers, and will be given an industry based problem which they are required to solve by the end of the year. 4 credits are allotted for the same. Also, a mandatory educational tour is to be attended by students in 3-2 which carries no credits.
Improved BTP Evaluation A new method of evaluating the B-Tech project has been formulated. The total number of credits for the same have been increased from 8 to 12. An evaluation will be done at the end of 4-1 to check the progress made by the students and 4 credits would be awarded. This is to ensure that students work continuously throughout the year instead of a couple of weeks before the evaluation.
Change in Proficiency The proficiency carries 2 credits which are to be awarded at the end of 4 years, i.e. 2 credits for 3 years. The aim here is to keep the students focused so that they get proficient enough in their chosen proficiency.