Ashraf Iqbal


Title Quality Education at the fraction of current cost: Using the right mix of Pedagogy and Technology?

Why? The dire need to improve our current, conventional, and often times ancient schooling methods, is desperately felt. It is not a local issue only in Pakistan. This problem has been identified globally and has triggered a lot of debate on what specific change should this system see. How should the education system match the ever changing, demanding, challenging and, many a times, unprecedented needs?
What? The current status of education not only needs a reform, it needs a transformation.  Beginning from the early stages of schooling up until the university level, a series of planned educational intervention, data collection, feedback system and constant improvement needs to be implemented. It is easy to identify and comment on what the problems are. However, the causes are deep rooted. Lack of well-trained teaching staff, public school facilities and support systems for the students leave a gapping hole that cannot be filled throughout their educational tenure.
Concentrating on and fixing three major courses of study: Calculus/Math, Physics and English will produce dramatic results in the overall literacy rate. While the Calculus/Math course will focus on enabling students to develop critical problem solving skills, Physics will instill a deeper level of depth in the same problem sets and English will mend the reading, writing, listening and speaking skills. We shall describe in detail of our valuable experience of using the right mix of pedagogy and technology to address these problems.
How? A comprehensive quantitative and qualitative analysis surfaces the target areas and shows where either the student(s) or the instructor(s) are lacking or doing well. According to advanced learning theories, students have different learning styles. They have been grouped into handful different styles and are easy to target using the advanced technology at hand. All of this comes at a very low cost per student. Thus, providing a customized educational experience for every student. Various research efforts have been underway in FoIT that has been done so far are listed below - we shall describe them in detail:

  • Zero Semester – Online Video Resources
  • Zero Semester – On Campus Classes
  • Teaching Calculus using the right mix of Technology & Pedagogical    Techniques
  • Teaching Logic Thinking using Advanced Pedagogical Techniques
  • Understanding Circle and Ellipse – Do we really know what they are?

Expanding from what we have done so far, there is a lot of future work that still needs to be done. This has been outlined in the following research papers:
  • Pedagogy, Technology and Change
  • Using Technology in Education

All of the effort is only scratching the surface. There is huge amount of work still needs to be undertaken. We shall give you a glimpse of what is possible in this talk - the details shall follow in research papers to be presented in this conference.



M. Ashraf Iqbal is currently serving as a Professor and Dean of the Faculty of Information Technology at the University of Central Punjab, Lahore. He was a Fulbright research scholar at the University of Southern California from 1992-93. He has also worked as a DAAD research fellow at the Stuttgart Institute of Parallel and Distributed Computing and as a Research Assistant in ICASE, NASA Langley Research Centre, Hampton, Virginia. He started his career teaching electrical engineering at UET where he worked for almost 30 years, before moving to LUMS where, as the Head of the Computer Science Department, he started the doctoral programme with a focus on theoretical computer science and advanced applied research projects. He is well-known in the computer science community for his lectures on graph theory at the Virtual University. As his interest in the area of design for learning developed, he moved to NUST where he set up the MS programme in Innovation, Technology, Education, the first of its kind in Pakistan. Dr. Iqbal has also served as the Director of Namal College, Mianwali and the Rector of Ali Institute of Education. Presently, his work is focused on understanding how technology can be used to overcome learning problems with the mission “quality education for anyone, anywhere, anytime”. He is also the author of a book on Graph Theory and Algorithms (Google Books). Currently, he is writing a book on education, pedagogy and technology - exploring how the three blend to make a dramatic change. He is also a poet and a short story writer.