IIT-Kanpur to provide free virtual classes amid corona spread
Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur (IIT-K) on Saturday announced to provide free online Python courses to universities which have suspended their regular classes amidst scare of Covid-19 (coronavirus) spread. Covid-19 has been declared a pandemic by WHO recently after its cases were reported in over two dozen countries.
“These free online classes can be accessed on ‘Prutor’--- the free online programming tutor. Prutor.ai offers many online courses. Prutor is a proprietary technology developed at IIT-K over the last six years utilising thousands of hours of teachers and students,” said Amey Karkare, who developed the technology.
“As classes have been suspended in many states in the country, online tutoring is a solution to catch up with teaching hours lost due to closure,” he said.
Until recently, this advanced tools and associated video lectures were available only to IITs like IIT Bombay, IIT Madras and IIT Goa, who used Prutor to teach programming to thousands of students. With a lot of students will have free time due to the virus, Amey and Mahendra K Verma are making these courses and tools available for free so that universities and colleges can extend benefit to their students.
“Most colleges have cancelled classes to prevent the virus from spreading. IITs, IISc and NITs other institutions, which are just cancelling the classes,” said Karkare.
Interested educational institutions can sign up through an online portal (https://prutor.ai/) and will have free access through July 31, 2020 for any number of students.
Deputy director of the IIT-K Professor Manindra Agarwal said, “It is a very interesting use of technology that is useful for basic tutoring.”
On March 14, following the announcement of Amey decision, IIT Kanpur physics faculty member Dr Mahendra K Verma said that as the classes were off it was a wonderful opportunity for anyone to explore the wonderful world of Python.
Amey said that only the top Indian universities were prepared to introduce online learning, but many others did not have the necessary infrastructure to run the courses on their own.
It has already been adopted by IIT Mumbai, IIT Goa, IIT Madras and other leading institutions to teach coding. According to Amey, “Any student above 8th grade can learn programming using Prutor.”
He is also making available lectures in both Hindi and English to any college or university that is interested. “Prutor.ai is a technology that is not available anywhere else, and IIT Kanpur would be happy to provide it to any university and college willing to adopt it. We want to teach coding to as many students as possible, if any company can share some CSR funds with IIT Kanpur, we can help accelerate this” Amey said.