It is with much excitement that we bring an IEEE GOLDRush exclusive interview with the founder of IEEE Academic, Mr. Rui Costa.
How did you come up with the concept for IEEE Academic?
The IEEE Academic concept started when a group of students in one of the universities in Portugal understood that, despite all the available online contents, most of them failed to prepare students for their classes and examinations. The problems were that the majority of the videos were English based and establishing a relation between what was being watched and what was being taught in classes was very difficult. That was due not only to the fact that the teaching language was different but also the technical jargon was sometimes hard to compare. We then had the idea of inviting a few academics from our university to create video modules about the most difficult topics and make those available in an online platform so that our community could watch and use those videos in their studies for free. This quickly became a big success and that was the very beginning of what today know as IEEE Academic, a project were students and academics work together to create community-relevant video modules in multiple languages all over the world.
What is the vision for IEEE Academic and how do you and your team plan to achieve it?
The goal of IEEE Academic is to become a fully sustainable project that is a global reference for multi-lingual online educational content based on multimedia. By creating a vast library of high-quality contents in multiple languages, students all over the world will recognise IEEE Academic as the go-to place for the videos created in their language. The way we are working to achieve that goal is by capturing the efforts of many volunteers and academics all over the world, that in a distributed fashion create video modules for their communities and make those available using the global platform of IEEE Academic.
What are some of the biggest achievement of the program to date?
At IEEE Academic we dont like to isolate individual achievements yet focus on the overall impact of our program. Our achievements are measured through positive and encouraging student feedback from around the globe. Students from many countries thank us and all the volunteers for the effort that is put into making online educational video modules available for free, which enhance their academic achievements. Every time a new university or a new country joins the program and launches a new video tutorial a new IEEE Academic milestone is reached. As we grow our community of content producers and enthusiastic learners, new and amazing achievements will start to stand out.
Tell us a little about the IEEE Academic team, a little about the volunteers, their careers, residing country and so on.
IEEE Academic is composed by a core-team of 5 volunteers from students, to researchers, professors and people working in the industry. These volunteers are very organised and plan well ahead the next steps of the project to ensure that quality content is kept flowing. A team of ambassadors organize and foster the growth of the project in many countries by working closely with the volunteers in various universities. We have ambassadors and project support scattered all over the world including; Pakistan, South Africa, Turkey, Greece, India, Portugal, Colombia, Tunisia, Brasil and many more, a truly global team!
Tell us about the next big thing in regards to IEEE Academic
We have much planned for the remainder of 2015. IEEE Academic will make available more innovative video modules that will approach and teach various topics using more creative techniques. Also, an improvement in the quality of the website along with some exciting key-partnerships to make IEEE Academic a more global and interesting platform for online education.
Tell us about the most memorable moment while you have been involved with IEEE Academic.
The most memorable moment with IEEE Academic was when I received the first email from a student sending his gratitude to everyone involved in the project, for creating video modules that actually helped him reach academic success in a course he was trying to pass for several semesters. The excitement did not stem from the fact it was the first email, but because it made me understand that with some effort and dedication to this project we could positively impact the lives of many. This was more than enough to fuel the IEEE Academic team.
Can you provide us with any facts, figures and statistics in regards to IEEE Academic?
As of today, IEEE Academic has published more than 380 video modules in 6 languages. We have 16 ambassadors from 16 countries working to make more videos available. The website received more than 90 000 hits from over 32 500 unique users and IEEE Academic video modules have been watched more than 102 000 times (equivalent of 230 days of continuous video viewing).
Who is Rui Costa?
Rui Costa is a MSc. Network and Communications Engineering graduate from Instituto Superior Técnico, Portugal. Rui Costa has a research focus on Vehicular Networks and Intelligent Transportation Systems which was developed as part of his Masters thesis titled He is currently developing cutting-edge systems and technologies to build up vehicular-network enhanced cities as Senior Systems Engineer at Veniam Works. Rui Costa is the founder and coordinator of IEEE Academic, international non-for-profit educational project, based on online multimedia resources developed in close collaboration with several universities to deliver free, high quality contents, in the local languages.
He is an experienced and creative presenter, having led several presentations to different targets on several topics, such as vehicular networks, team management/motivation, entrepreneurship and usage of technologies within education. Rui Costa was awarded the Larry K Wilson Student Activities Award in Region 8 for his outstanding contributions
Interview conducted by Sarang Shaikh, Senior Assistant Editor, GOLDRush
Article edited by Dr. Eddie Custovic, Editor In Chief, GOLDRush