In this fast changing world, newer skills are becoming mission critical for the success of organizations. Talent aligned to newer realities is in short supply, creating a barrier for growth. Industry today needs specialists in newer skill sets who can analyze the vast amount of data – utilizing the current advancement in technology & tools – generated out of social networks and mobile devices, and put this information to quick and critical use towards shaping an organization’s strategy and success. IBM Innovation Center for Education is offering three program engagement models for our students in university’s and engineering colleges. IBM together with the leading Universities the world over have on offer a series of B. Tech. CSE/IT & MBA programs, under the IBM Innovation Center for Education program.
The program offerings are industry-aligned and the courseware redesigned ground up, with a state-of-the-art delivery mechanism put in place to enable our students learn industry relevant skill sets. Together, this will impart outstanding industry-grade skills to our young students, and will make them prepare for any challenges that the Smarter Planet will bring to them in their exciting careers ahead. The online platform brings Industry and Academia together, through provision for interactions between industry professionals and students. Participating students get to increase their industry orientation through interactive use of the platform.
It is a whole new thinking, and a cutting edge approach to technology meritocracy.
With this in the background, it is immensely imperative that we prepare our IT and business leaders with the depth and breadth of skills which are industry aligned, and cutting-edge. This will give them competitive edge over their peers, and will prepare them for meeting the real world challenges head on.
IBM have been a world leader in technology for over a century now. The depth, and breadth of IBM’s technology spans across thousands of satisfied customers across the globe, for decades – ranging from those in banking industry, to insurance companies, governments to education institutes, to retail and distribution, healthcare, travel, hospitality, manufacturing, telecom, automotive and electronics industries… indeed, in practically every walk of life. IBM portfolio ranges from hardware — ranging from small servers and storage to midrange computers to mainframes, to middleware platforms, and to services and financing. In every category, IBM has led the industry in the top slot or at least a second slot. IBM’s technology leadership has been proven by its patent filings which has been highest in IT industry for 16 years in a row now. IBM interacts with the Universities and together design and delivers a completely new set of courses for our aspiring future generations. We also work with our partner ecosystem as well as our thousands of customers worldwide, to understand the skills needed by the working professionals in their organizations. Accordingly, we design the newer B. Tech. and MBA / PGDBM programs with focus on cutting edge courses.
These courses will imbibe deep theoretical knowledge delivered to them coupled with broad-based industry alignment, interaction, talent discoverability, and excellence in their professional make-up. The new batches thus trained and accredited will be ready for industry much better than their peers. They will readily fill the gap the industry is currently facing towards employability of graduate engineers as well as deploying their experienced professionals into their customer projects. This is a new vision. A vision which is based on cutting-edge, industry aligned courses, delivered through a new-age paradigm of delivery through an ecosystem of platform, methodology and mechanisms.
A futuristic delivery framework
Having a modern, state-of-the-art course curriculum is only the first part. It also needs to be delivered in a manner that makes the learning productive. Moreover, the mentor support and community support are key elements which will make our students get connected to the Industry in a very useful manner. The following elements of the proposed course delivery, therefore, are noteworthy:
Project based / Case Study learning: The focus on projects will be from the very first semester. The theory courses are augmented by adequate project work, which will help the students apply the knowledge they gain in classroom. Much of the project work will be hosted on the iTrack platform as appropriate, for community support.
Industry mentorship: Additionally, students and teams will be able to seek mentor support on the iTrack platform. Mentors and their time would be available on a best-effort basis from the Industry. It is expected that Industry mentorship will grow deeper as the students grow in their learning… from semester to semester. And the bonds thus established with leading architects and specialists in industry will be very beneficial to the students. The mentorship will also require that the students get noticed due to meritocracy, and not just by being overtly active in the community.
Work Product repository: It is proposed that all students work products, such as presentations, posters, tech papers and white papers, etc are kept in the centralized work product repository on iTrack platform. This will help the students not only to showcase their work products, but will also be able to see and learn from, others’ earlier work. Moreover, the work products can then be reviewed for providing support by the teachers and mentors. The discussions thus become much focused.
Student monitoring and tracking: The system tracks the work the student puts in the ecosystem. This includes all the project completion, all support that he/she provides to other team members, all the support that he/she receives, and all the comments they receive from their mentors and guides. This is a very interactive program, much similar to the real life scenario where a professional is judged against some set parameters at every stage. This helps in honing up skills and communication in a systematic manner. It’s a recognition engine for meritocracy in the real world.
Vibrant concurrency of courseware: The courses will be reviewed and adjusted every year for their concurrency. This is one of the key advantages of IBM’s participation. This support comes from the IBM Labs and other connected groups which are doing leading work for us in technology. Since the pace of technology change is breathtaking, this element is going to be the key to the success of the program.
Discussion forums moderated by industry experts: The learning will be further enhanced by providing adequately structured Discussion forums against relevant topics / subjects. These may be moderated by IBM and industry experts as needed, so that the discussions are not open-ended and certain decorum is maintained.
Consolidated industry news dissemination: It is very necessary that the students are connected well with the latest development on the technology front. This will be accomplished by integrating latest technology news on the site through judicious use of feeds etc, so that students can access information as and when they need it.
SME visits and interaction: Visits to the Campus will be planned by IBM and partner SMEs, so that students can learn from their experiences and skills. There will be adequate interaction planned during these visits so that it becomes an interactive learning experience for the students.
Live webinars: There will be occasional live webinars conducted by IBM and partner SMEs. These will be typically one or two hour’s duration where the SMEs will share the latest in technology with the students. These will be sessions where the students can also ask questions interactively. This is a key element in technology concurrency at the Campus. When an IBM lab specialist talks to them directly… in addition to the learning they receive from the skilled faculty and high quality courseware, it enhances the skills many fold.
Community support: Students will be able to raise issues they face, on the platform, and get answers from the community. In addition, they will also be community members, and will support other team members as needed. This community based support and learning approach will also help them hone their skills further, and will prepare them for the challenges of industry in an organized manner.