Padma Shri Awardee Prof Anant Agarwal Lectures on ‘ Digital Education Transformation’

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Padma Shri Awardee Prof Anant Agarwal Lectures on ‘ Digital Education Transformation’

  • Padma Shri Awardee Prof Anant Agarwal and an Alumni of St Aloysius College-Mangaluru delivers an Endowment Lecture on ‘Digital Education Transformation’ at Fr L F Rasquinha Auditorium-St Aloysius College on Monday, 8 January 2018.

Mangaluru: Renowned Professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) USA & CEO of edX and meritorious Aluminous of St Aloysius College, Mangaluru, Prof Anant Agarwal delivered an “Endowment Lecture” on Monday, 8 January 2018 at 2:30 pm in St Aloysius College, Mangaluru on the topic “Digital Education Transformation”. Prof Anant talked about future developments to meet the needs of life-long learners and about emerging approaches such as ‘omnichannel education’ (i.e. a combination of digital and in-person) that are becoming mainstream. He discussed the relationship between online learning and campus education. Students were very interested in hearing about the development of new learning formats and on their implications for the future of learning and for our campus education. The programme began with an invocation by Vinaya Durga and team of St Aloysius College.

Anant Agarwal who is the Founder of EdX is a non-profit learning enterprise, founded by Harvard and MIT which has grown to include 47 institutions, including UT Austin, UC Berkeley, Tsinghua University and IIT Bombay, among others, that offers free online courses from the world’s best professors, universities, and institutions to anyone in the world with Internet access speaking to the audience said, “EdX was founded with three goals in mind: to increase access to quality education, to improve teaching and learning on campus, and to conduct research into how students learn. We believe we can provide truly world-class online courses to everyone, everywhere, regardless of social status or income, while also improving on-campus education.”

“EdX is the only major MOOC provider that is a non-profit and open source— two characteristics that are reflective of our larger mission. The edX platform and technology is available as open-source so that anyone around the world can use it for their own course or learning experiences. We believe the collaborative philosophy of MOOCs naturally lends itself to an open-source approach and because we fundamentally believe that education is a basic human right, we are literally giving away our platform for free. We should know that Education is the basic human right- everyone should have access to it. I can fix education, but politicians/govt can’t. EdX has 14 million global learners; 2000 courses; 130 global partners; 50 million course enrollments; and 25,000 number of credit eligible” added Prof Agarwal.

Prof Agarwal further said, “With online learning, we are capturing amazing amounts of data about students and how they learn. Now, we have the opportunity to mine the information to help us improve learning both online and on campus. These insights into how people learn are one of the great aspects of online learning as they will help us improve the future of education for all. Currently, edX have millions of students from every country around the world. This reveals the huge appetite for high quality, rigorous online courses and our learners’ response helps drive our commitment to provide online education for anyone, anywhere with a desire to learn. We will always remain committed to our three-part mission: to increase access to quality education, to improve teaching and learning on campus, and to conduct research into how students learn.”

“As we increase our partnerships and wireless access becomes more widespread, we will be able to continue to reach more and more learners and provide them with high-quality online education. We hope to democratize and re-imagine education so that anyone, anywhere, regardless of his or her social status or income, can access education. We envision a culture of continuous lifelong learning with improved teaching methods on campus and online to help students learn in effective and exciting ways. We can do strange things through education. But sadly by the year 2030, nearly 50% of our jobs will be gone, and many of us won’t have jobs since they will be all automated or taken over by Robots” said Prof Anant.

On a lighter side of vein he said, ” Robots will be okay in restaurants as waiters, but if they are hacked, instead of bringing you Gobi Masala with Naan, you could be served Kori Roti with chicken curry?. ” With the present type of education where many of us depend on college education, that could be changed. Learning has to come to you, and not you going to college to learn. But through online learning you can learn at ease and as per your convenience-you can work and simultaneously learn too, that’s the good thing about online learning- and its absolutely free. You pay only a reasonable fee if you need to be certified. Trust me, online education will be a huge and popular in few years from now. Never know, 20 years from St Aloysius College may also go in for online education” said Prof Anant. He concluded by saying that Modular education, Omni channel and lifelong education are the three important trends that will shape future education.

During this programme, Prof Anant Agarwal was felicitated with a shawl, fruit basket, garland, memento and citation by the College for his meritorious contribution to the society-the citation was read by Fr Denzil Lobo Sj, the former Rector of St Aloysius Institutions. Fr Dionysius Vaz SJ, Rector of St Aloysius College Institutions, who presided over the function extended his thanks to Prof Anant for his generous contribution towards St Aloysius College IT department and congratulated Him on his achievements. Rev. Dr Praveen Martis SJ, Principal of St Aloysius College welcomed the gathering and introduced Agarwal.

The official launch of the New College Website was done by Prof Agarwal. The other dignitaries on the dais were- Dr A M Narahari- Registrar, Dr Ronald Nazaret- Star Scheme Coordinator; and Ashok M Prasad- the convener, who proposed the vote of thanks. A memento was presented to Anant by the College Principal. A few queries posed at Prof Anant by few members of the audience were answered to the point by Him. Ruchir Agarwal, the brother of Prof Anant also graced the occasion. The programme was professionally compered by Dr Lyned D Lasrado.

About Prof Anant Agarwal:

Prof Anant Agarwal is a computer architecture researcher. He is a professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he led the development of Alewife, an early cache coherent multiprocessor, and also has served as director of the MIT Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. He is the founder and CTO of Tilera, a fabless semiconductor company focusing on scalable multicore embedded processor design. He also serves as the CEO of edX, a joint partnership between MIT and Harvard University that offers free online learning.

Born in Mangaluru, he did his schooling and PUC at St. Aloysius HS/College Mangalore. After PUC at St Aloysius College, he got his bachelor’s degree from Indian Institute of Technology Madras and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University. He is a leader of the Carbon Project, which is developing new scalable multi-core architectures, a new operating system for multicore and clouds called fos, and a distributed, parallel simulator for multicore and clouds called Graphite. He is a leader of the Angstrom Project, which is creating fundamental technologies for exascale computing. He contributes to WebSim, a web-based electronic circuits laboratory. He led the Raw Project at CSAIL, and is a founder of Tilera Corporation. Raw was an early tiled multicore processor with 16 cores. He also teaches the edX offering of MIT’s 6.002 Circuits and Electronics.

His previous projects include Sparcle, a coarse-grain multithreaded (CGMT or switch-on-event SOE) microprocessor, Alewife, a scalable distributed shared memory multiprocessor, Virtual Wires, a scalable FPGA-based logic emulation system, LOUD, a beamforming microphone array, Oxygen, a pervasive human-centered computing project, and Fugu, a protected, multi-user multiprocessor.

Agarwal received the 2001 Maurice Wilkes Award for computer architecture. In 2007 he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. In 2011 he was appointed Director of MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory. In March 2016, he was awarded the Harold W. McGraw, Jr. Prize in Education in higher education as an outstanding leader of the development of the Massive Open Online Course movement. In addition to that, he is also a Distinguished Alumnus of IIT Madras. He received Padma Shri, the fourth highest civilian award in the Republic of India in 2017.

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