Date: 8th May2012
India’s universities aren’t exactly frozen in time, but just looking at the pace of change in everything around them, let’s face it, they have much to learn. While the world has become borderless, India’s university education system is still largely bound by physical classrooms and the closest thing to having a truly global reach is the occasional course lecture surfacing on YouTube.
Now, an ambitious new project conceived by U.S.-based alumni of the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, part of what is the Indian Ivy league, seeks to change that. The multi-million dollar BITSConnect 2.0, being implemented jointly by BITS and its alumni, uses state-of-the art telepresence technology from CISCO and Webex web conferencing to connect the institute’s four campuses in Pilani, Goa, Hyderabad and Dubai not only to each other but to the world.
“This is path breaking. This platform delivers an experience that is not your typical virtual. You can brainstorm with peers at a university in Europe or U.S., have interviews with potential employers anywhere on the globe or attend a class thousands of miles away and still feel like you are there…and these are just a few examples,” Raju Reddy (see image - left: right), chairman of the BITS Alumni Association or BITSAA, told India-West at the alumni reunion at the Hilton Hotel here April 28. “The quality and scale of this project is a first in its field and we envision this to be model that is adopted by educational institutions across India. BITS putting its considerable prestige and brand behind this speaks of the amazing potential this has,” he added.
The alumni association, which is funding the project alongside BITS, is on a mission to contribute $600,000 to BITSConnect 2.0 and has already raised $370,000. The association is raising more funds via Sevathon, an annual walkathon that promotes the spirit of “Seva” or service to others, and brings together over 50 Bay Area profits under a single umbrella