BITS Pilani launches a new cross-campus technology-enabled learning system

The Birla Institute of Technology and Science (BITS), Pilani, along with BITSAA, its global alumni association, has launched a first of its kind multi-million dollar cross-campus technology initiative named BITSConnect 2.0.

Pioneering a unique model of multi-campus education in India, the initiative comprises Immersive Telepresence, High-definition Video Conferencing and Live Streaming technologies that are set to transform the learning experience.

This university-alumni initiative was launched simultaneously at Pilani, Goa and Hyderabad campuses, while being connected to Cisco’s offices in San Jose and Boston, jointly by Prof. Bijendra Nath Jain, Vice Chancellor, BITS Pilani and Raju Reddy, Chairman, BITS Pilani Alumni Association (BITSAA).

BITS Pilani became one of the first Indian universities to set up IP telephony, gigabit ethernet and wireless accessibility on campus with BITSConnect 1.0 in 2003. With this latest initiative, the university takes another leap forward in using technology for education. By bridging the geographical distance across campuses and global knowledge centers, this platform will facilitate collaboration among its faculty, students, industry partners and alumni, for education, research and mentorship.

Chancellor Kumar Mangalam Birla said, “The launch of BITSConnect 2.0 from its three campuses in India signals a significant step forward that extends the boundaries of technology-enabled learning. The Telepresence system provides avenues for research collaboration and knowledge sharing among BITS’ faculty and students, and for face-to-face communication between members of BITS’ leadership.”

This semester, BITS Pilani will offer more than 14 specialised electives to thousands of students across its campuses by professors working from any of its campuses. To collaborate, the faculty and staff no longer need to travel. Academicians from across the world will be able to collaborate with and mentor research projects in BITS via Immersive Telepresence.

Professor Jain said, “BITSConnect 2.0 comes at a time when the Institute is on its way to become a top research-led University in Asia. This joint initiative will provide seamless integration of all campuses, create new avenues of research collaboration and knowledge sharing among faculty, students and researchers worldwide. BITSConnect 2.0 will further strengthen industry linkage and enable remote placements with minimal travel costs to prospective employers.”

BITSConnect 2.0 was conceived during the BITSAA Global Meet (2011) which witnessed participation from 1200+ BITSians from across 20 countries. Having committed to a January 2014 deadline, they have successfully completed the implementation one year ahead of schedule. The technology is valued at over $5 million.

BITS Pilani is a premier independent university with four campuses at Pilani (1964), Dubai (2000), Goa (2004) and Hyderabad (2008). It employs 700 full time faculty and has 11,000 on-campus and 19,000 off-campus students. The BITSAA International is the global all-volunteer alumni association for BITS Pilani representing 50,000+ alumni in 90 countries.