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IEEE attacks employability gap with 'blended programmes'

Posted: 19 Nov 2014     Print Version  Bookmark and Share

Keywords:engineering education  IEEE  blended learning  VLSI design 

"We have already worked this out with Mentor Graphics. We are also in discussion with Cadence, Synopsys and other tool vendors. Various tool vendors, including Synopsys, have already shared their learning material as additional material for the VLSI programme," explained Mysore.

The next steps

The first two modules out of ten in the VLSI programme had been launched when we talked earlier this month, while the remaining are slated for completion by the end of the year. [Mysore also arranged for a demonstration of the programme with other IEEE members. Look out for details from the demonstration next week.]

The IEEE in India has similar programmes in software engineering called Software Body Knowledge. There are certificate courses that are delivered through companies as well as educational institutions in India.

"This is a far-reaching one. This is a very comprehensive programme in software engineering. We don't try to teach them how to programme in Java, Linux, Python or something like that. We make them software engineers. We give them a very solid foundation, which is required to handle complex programmes and projects," added Mysore.

The IEEE is also developing a programme on intellectual property rights (IPR). Mysore believes that most engineers and scientists, when they are working, may miss the IP potential of their work unless someone experienced calls their attention to it. He said engineers are often not sensitive about handling IP and the implications to their own programme and the company. This increases the likelihood of leakage of IP or of not harvesting the IP.

The IPR programme aims to provide an understanding of the potential of IP in work as well as of the applicable laws. It is a 120-hour online programme scheduled for launch sometime in 2015. The IEEE is initially focusing on India, the EU and North America. "We feel that, because of so many multi-lateral treaties among these [regions], one country's IP will be protected by the laws of another country in a certain manner," explained Mysore. "This is another Blended Learning Programme. Here the lab work may be minimal but there's an assessment part."

Mysore is looking at embedded systems and robotics as topics for future Blended Learning Programmes.

Teaching the teacher

The IEEE has been working on faculty development as well and has several MoUs with large universities, such as that with the Vishweshwaria Technical University. They develop faculty programmes whenever agencies like the MHRD ask. The IEEE has worked very closely with IIT-Bombay and IIT-Kharagpur and has programmes in pedagogy.

"We also conduct training programmes for high school teachers. And we have another global programme for women in engineering. We not only teach the teachers for K-12 and slightly below how to teach science but also how to [encourage] female students to later take science and engineering. This we do through our local chapters and volunteer leaders around the world," added Mysore.

Working with the industry

The IEEE also has industry specific programmes called Industry Connects. Here's how Mysore explained it: new technology is initially debated by research labs and universities. At some point, they either form start-ups or big companies have teams work on it for commercialisation. This is the time when there is a need for standardisation, according to Mysore, because lack of standardisation relegates the potential market to a proprietary niche.

"[At the early stage of technology development] we bring people together in the Industry Connects programme. We have two Industry Connects programmes right now. One is called Cloud Innovation Council, which primarily originated for [developing] standards for the cloud and policy guidelines for people to come together and work."

The Government of India had expressed interest in getting advice on how they should go about putting their governance services in the cloud in a way that their investment is well protected. So for two years, the IEEE has been developing white papers and providing advice. "We have a strong programme where the government, universities and industry—both local and multinational—participate," added Mysore.

- Vivek Nanda

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