African students get web link to MIT labs

Mar 22, 2005

Students in Uganda, Tanzania and Nigeria can now perform sophisticated engineering and science experiments at MIT--without ever getting on a plane.
"If you can't come to the lab, the lab will come to you," said Jesus del Alamo, co-principal investigator on the Africa project and a professor in MIT's Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science.
Students at three African universities will be able to access five MIT labs via the Internet, thanks to an iLab Project partnership between MIT's Center for Educational Computing Initiatives (CECI), Makerere University (Uganda), the University of Dar Es Salaam (Tanzania) and Obafemi Awolowo University (Nigeria).

MIT faculty will work closely with their African colleagues to introduce new laboratory experiences and develop new content in several graduate and undergraduate courses in fields ranging from electrical engineering to physics.

"These additions to the curriculum will directly impact the education of hundreds of students," said del Alamo. "The project is likely to have multiplicative effects that will add to its impact. This may come in the form of revamped curricula, students acquiring unique software engineering skills, and the broader use of computers by students and teaching staff in engineering education."

Professor L.O. Kehinde, coordinator of the iLab project at Obafemi Awolowo University said, "With the dearth of funds for the purchase of equipment for experimentation, the iLab project is an important intervention for African universities. Not only will it afford better access by more students to relevant experiments, it certainly will also result in human and infrastructural development in partner African universities."

The iLab project is an outgrowth of the Microelectronics WebLab, which was developed by del Alamo in 1998 as a way for students to test and probe fragile microelectronic devices over the Internet from dorm rooms and other convenient locations 24 hours a day. The success of that venture spawned the iLab initiative at MIT to advance the concept to other engineering disciplines. ILab was embraced and funded by MIT iCampus, a program sponsored by Microsoft.

The iLabs have been used by students at MIT and from universities in other countries, including the United Kingdom, Singapore, Sweden, Greece and Taiwan. New iLabs will be selected and developed by the African partners in collaboration with MIT.

The Africa project, funded by an $800,000 grant from Carnegie Corp. of New York, also includes a cultural-exchange component. MIT will send six undergraduate or graduate students to the three African universities to join their respective iLab development teams and support their efforts. The African universities will each send two graduate students or staff members to MIT to join MIT's own iLab effort and learn iLab technology along the way. The visits are scheduled to last about two months.

"In addition to enhancing their skills in iLab-related software and hardware development, the cross-cultural values of the collaboration between African universities and MIT are immense," said Kehinde. "The dedication and the cooperation of the iLab coordinators at MIT have been remarkable."

Professor Steven Lerman, director of MIT's CECI program and co-principal investigator of the Africa project, said, "Carnegie Corporation recognized the potential for bringing leading African institutions together with MIT. We are delighted that this is a real partnership--institutions in developed and developing countries will work together and learn from each other."

He added, "We are grateful to Carnegie Corporation for its support and for the opportunity their funding provides for sharing knowledge between MIT and our African colleagues. We hope this project will spread among African institutions so that more students can perform real experiments and enhance their science and engineering education."

iLabs is an initiative of the MIT iCampus program, which is funded by Microsoft Corp. iCampus sponsors faculty innovations in educational technology, helps incubate them through classroom use, and promotes their adoption, evaluation and continued evolution through worldwide multi-institutional cooperation.

To try one of the labs, go to openilabs.mit.edu/

Source: MIT

Explore further: Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Ag-tech could change how the world eats

3 hours ago

Investors and entrepreneurs behind some of the world's newest industries have started to put their money and tech talents into farming - the world's oldest industry - with an audacious agenda: to make sure there is enough ...

World's rarest cetacean threatened by illegal gillnets

4 hours ago

The world's rarest cetacean could disappear in less than four years unless immediate action is taken by the Mexican government to protect it from entanglement in gillnets deployed illegally in its Gulf of California refuge, ...

Enviro-tracker is wearable for citizen monitoring

5 hours ago

Mobile hardware and software allow us to count our steps, and to count our calories, but a Vancouver, Canada, startup group asked, what about tracking our environment? TZOA was founded in 2013. Laura Moe, ...

In Curiosity Hacked, children learn to make, not buy

5 hours ago

With her right hand, my 8-year-old daughter, Kalian, presses the red-hot soldering iron against the circuit board. With her left hand, she guides a thin, tin wire until it's pressing against both the circuit board and the ...

Recommended for you

Timeline of the Sony Pictures Entertainment hack

17 minutes ago

It's been four weeks since hackers calling themselves Guardians of Peace began their cyberterrorism campaign against Sony Pictures Entertainment. In that time thousands of executive emails and other documents ...

Two more former Sony workers sue over data breach

17 minutes ago

Two more former employees of Sony Pictures Entertainment are suing the company over the massive data breach in which their personal and financial information was stolen and posted online.

Second security clearance investigation contractor hacked

47 minutes ago

Federal officials say the private files of 48,439 workers may have been compromised by a computer breach at government contractor KeyPoint Government Solutions Inc. The hacking incident is the second this year at a major ...

Digital dilemma: How will US respond to Sony hack?

59 minutes ago

The detective work blaming North Korea for the Sony hacker break-in appears so far to be largely circumstantial, The Associated Press has learned. The dramatic conclusion of a Korean role is based on subtle ...

Constantly changing online prices stump shoppers

1 hour ago

Online shopping has become as volatile as stock market trading. Wild, minute-by-minute price swings on everything from clothes to TVs have made it difficult for holiday shoppers to "buy low."

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.