Amitava (Babi) Mitra, a senior executive with experience in e-learning, multimedia-based training and distance learning, has been named the first executive director of the Academic Media Production Services.
The appointment was announced by Vijay Kumar, assistant provost for educational technology and director of Academic Computing.
"The hiring of a seasoned manager and leader such as Babi Mitra will complete the transition phase of the Academic Media Production Services as a professional production center for educational technology," said Kumar. "Babi brings the right blend of public and private sector experience, bottom line responsibility and knowledge of MIT through his doctoral studies in chemical engineering, part of which was spent in residence at MIT. He is an expert in educational systems design and delivery, multimedia, e-learning/online learning and distance education. We are looking forward to seeing his team develop as a state-of-the-art resource for MIT faculty and programs."
The Academic Media Production Services was established in July 2001 with the merger of three multimedia production service units: Educational Media Creation Center, MIT Video Productions, and Streaming Media and Compression Services. AMPS provides multimedia, Web, video, and teleconferencing services in support of MIT's educational technology initiatives.
According to Provost Robert A. Brown, "MIT has made a commitment to sustainable educational innovation and transformation, and many large-scale initiatives are proving technology-enabled education to be effective and exciting. As these initiatives mature, they will require first-class web-based and multimedia production services. With Babi's appointment, we are building the AMPS organization to meet the Institute's educational technology production needs, as well as the needs of individual faculty."
Mitra was senior vice president and a member of the Board of Directors at NIIT, Inc., a subsidiary of a $270 million global IT solutions company, before coming to MIT. Under his leadership, NIIT's instructional research and development capability developed into one of NIIT's three strategic businesses, the Learning Software Business, with $24 million in annual revenue.
Prior to joining NIIT, Mitra headed the Distance Learning Programs Unit at the Birla Institute of Technology and Sciences in Pilani, India, where he was responsible for management of innovation for India's first science and technology distance learning degree programs. His experience includes educational consultancy projects, including projects on the National Policy on Education launched by the Indian government in 1986.
Mitra was a visiting engineer from 1979-1984 with the Department of Chemical Engineering. He worked with an interdisciplinary team investigating coal combustion and the health effects of fossil fuels utilization.
"The next few years will see many changes at MIT as we strive towards using technology effectively in our core endeavors," said Mitra. "I am excited to be back at MIT--I feel like I've come back home."
A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on May 22, 2002.