Dr. Anindita Paul is a 2010 Ph.D. graduate of the MU School of Information Science and Learning Technologies doctoral program. She believes the program exposed her to interdisciplinary learning through interaction with world-class faculty, colleagues and peer universities across the globe.
“Quality career opportunities came my way after receiving my doctorate,” said Paul. “I am viewed as someone who can make a difference. Training at SISLT, a place far removed from my own culture, gave me the opportunity to be an observer to the dynamic society of India, and be a bridge between the east and the west. I am glad I could return and utilize my expertise and training from SISLT in my country.”
Much of her training took place in her role as one of the initial members at the Information Experience (IE) Lab where she learned from and collaborated closely with its founder, Dr. Sanda Erdelez, and other faculty. Paul attended workshops and presented sessions as part of the lab experience, which enabled her to be more confident in the concepts of usability. She describes her time in the lab as one of the best experiences while in the program.
When asked what advice she has for prospective students, Paul replied, “SISLT is an engaging experience. You can immerse yourself in various real-world learning and discourse with faculty and peers. The world is ever-changing and there is always something new to learn, but the experiences will stick with you forever. It will ignite curiosity that will take you far.”
Paul is as an assistant professor in information technology and systems at Indian Institute of Management Kozhikode in the state of Kerala (Southern India). She noted that the IE Lab was a foundational platform for not only her career, but also her outlook towards life. It taught her usability concepts, tools, and techniques, along with giving her a chance to intellectually contribute to the field through supported conferences and travels to work on funded projects.
“The IE Lab enabled me to work with experts of usability who shared their thoughts and experiences,” said Paul. “The regular interaction with fellow colleagues and brown bag seminars continued the discourse about the dynamic and volatile field of user-centric designing. Working on projects with companies from the insurance, academia, health care sectors enabled a real-world understanding of industry specific related concepts. Regular meetings with IE Lab partners across the world gave a cross-cultural perspective to user issues. This widened the scope of learning.”
SISLT now offers a User Experience and Usability certificate. Given her work in the UX field, Paul views this as an important step towards contributing to a better understanding of how important the user is in the design of things. In her opinion, these certificates will enable students to see the significance of the user and incorporate user-centered designing in their workplaces as entrepreneurs, managers, employees well as incorporate it in the products and services to their users.
“User Experience is a part of every field,” Paul said. “Even though machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) are the trend now, they still have a user experiencing an end result, which will always require the need to understand the user.”
To Paul, the success or failure of markets is decided by providing better products and services for the users, as well as the productivity of businesses being contributed by employees who are equipped with the right tools and environment to perform.