The Information Technology University of the Punjab is the first University in Pakistan to collaborate with “edX Incorporation” USA. EdX is a platform which offers courses from the top-notch universities of the world such as Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and has reached almost one billion people across the globe. During the first segment, in the spring semester of 2017 the course titled “Circuits and Electronics” from Massachusetts Institute of Technology was successfully integrated in the existing Electrical Engineering undergraduate course “Linear Circuit Analysis.”
After the pilot phase, Data Science MicroMasters program offered by edX through University of California, San Diego has been incorporated in the University’s accredited degree program since Fall 2017. Not only this, a very exclusive MicroMasters in Data, Economics and Development Policy from MIT also been integrated in ITU MS Development Studies degree. The courses are taught by world renowned economists at MIT.
This initiative has been very well received by the student body and faculty at ITU. The course content is very rigorous and perfectly aligns with the curriculum taught at the University. Students were very motivated and enthusiastic to learn. This process supplemented their learning and gave them exposure beyond the classroom. They were engaged with professors at MIT. Course components included video lectures taught by professors like AnantAgarwal, IIkayAltintas and AlonOrlitsky. The students were evaluated by regular assignments, quizzes, lab exams and a final term exam at the end.
Upon successful completion of the course students are awarded a certificate verified by universities like MIT or University of California, San Diego. Moreover, it counts toward credit for their degree program. The grade is also reflected on the transcript of the student. Currently, a variety of courses are being taught, some of which are Statistics and Probability in Data Science using Python, Machine Learning for Data Science, Big Data Analytics using Spark and so on.
The initiative addresses various issues that the distance learning and education technology ventures have been grappling with. The problems like lack of interactivity in lectures, insufficient discipline in learning and adaptability concerns can all be dealt with through this unique mechanism.In other words, this project offers a new opportunity to bring revolutionary changes in the education sector in Pakistan at an enormous rapid pace. Earlier, ITU has undertaken various pioneering initiatives in education technology including the eLearn Initiative which has shown immense improvements in learning outcomes of students and motivational levels of teachers.
The CEO of edX, Anant Agarwal envisions changing the educational landscape of the world, he wants quality educations accessible to a larger audience all around the globe and says “Online learning is revolutionizing the world, education will never be the same again and edX is at the cutting edge of this revolution.” Hence it is a moment of pride for Information Technology University to be the pioneer of this revolution in Pakistan and to provide with the best of opportunities to its students.
The program Director, Mr. Waqas Halim said “The classroom experience with supervised assessment and peer interaction came from ITU whereas MIT provided the course content and pedagogical underpinnings.” Then Vice Chancellor of ITU Dr. Umar Saif was all praises for the project, while giving his positive remarks he said “For me the moment of truth was when students at ITU were taking the same exam as students at MIT.” He congratulated the faculty and the entire team for their tireless efforts to make this project a huge success. He also stated to carry forward the project and offer Masters Degrees through edX in two very popular programs; one in Data Science and the other that combines Development, Technology and Policy.
In the current time, where technology is growing rapidly and changing the landscape of the world, edX is also transforming the mode of education. ITU’s partnership with edX has certainly proved to be a steppingstone in digital learning, making Information Technology University Pakistan’s first digital university to provide this unique solution and bring home courses from top notch universities such as MIT and Harvard. The future of education is edX and Information Technology University has fully embraced it.