Thursday, April 14, 2011

Student Testimonial

At Atlantic International University students experience a different system of education. The student are motivated to be more involve in their career choices. We have selected one of our students testimonials from Mamadou Keita about the AIU experience.  

Mamadou Keita, Bachelor of Science in Computer Science - April 2, 2011
Dear Sirs,

The best way to express my experience here at the AIU is to compare it to an invisible teacher who places his students in situations completely new to them and lets them find their way out by trial and error. Though it corrects the errors later, but I have come to realize in fact that the best way to let people learn is to expose them to situations where they can make errors in the course of searching for solutions. This is what exactly, I think, the AIU does. If you are wondering about how this system of education can help, then I will let you think about how great scientists like Antoine Henri Becquerel, Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen, Marie Sklodowska Curie (the wife of Pierre Curie himself a scientist),  and Ernest Rutherford discovered and developed the idea of radiation and radioactivity. During the whole history of radiation and radioactivity, we were never told that these scientists received regular lessons from a divine teacher who instructed them exactly when and how to do things. Instead, we learned that going from curiosity to curiosity these scientists worked individually trying to get answers about phenomena to which they have not scientific proofs to explain.  
On November 8, 1895, at the University of Wurzburg, Wilhelm Roentgen’s attention was drawn to a glowing fluorescence screen on a nearby table. He immediately determined that the fluorescence was caused by invisible rays originating from the partially evacuated glass Hittorf-Crookes tube he was using to study cathode rays. Surprisingly, these mysterious rays penetrated the opaque black paper wrapped around the tube. Wilhelm had discovered X- rays.

Following the discovery of X-rays, Antoine Henri Becquerel pursued his interest to investigate further.

The material Becquerel chose to work with was potassium uranyl sulfate, which he exposed to sunlight and placed on photographic plates wrapped in black paper. When developed, the plates revealed an image of the uranium crystals. Becquerel concluded “that the phosphorescent substance in question emits radiation which penetrates paper opaque to light.” Initially he believed that the sun’s energy was being absorbed by the uranium which then emitted X-rays.

             Further investigation, on the 26th and 27th of February, was delayed because the skies over Paris were overcast and the uranium-covered plates Becquerel intended to expose to sun were returned to a drawer. On the first of March, he developed the photographic plates expecting only faint images to appear. To his surprise, the images were clear and strong. This meant that the uranium emitted radiation without an external source of energy such as the sun. Becquerel had discovered radioactivity.

Errors leading to the discovery of what we have today as the telephone.

The first error:
Alexander Graham Bell was fascinated by sound in the 1870s. So, one day he tried to interpret a treaty on sound written in Dutch by a German Scientist. He wrongly interpreted the piece which made him believe that it was possible to reproduce vowels through electromagnetism and let them travel through a distance by wire. Based on this false impression, he convinced many investors who gave him the necessary financial support to start his project.
The second error:
The principle of simple math, (minus) x (minus) = (plus), worked well for Bell, two errors make one big success. Bell had the full financial support of investors but he was having problems with producing the thing he promised. His problem was to have the current necessary to transmit words through distance. So, one day he accidentally spilled over the content (acid) of a cell on himself and on his phone. Then he started calling for help, “Mr. Watson, come here! I want to see you.” His voice was transmitted at the same time over to the next room. This is how the phone was invented (James W. Robinson, 1997, P. 3-5).

According to the few histories of discoveries and invention we have seen above, there is no link between these and the traditional methods of learning or going to the university everyday listing to lectures. What we realize in fact is that, all the scientists involved in the above cases, yes, had had basic foundations in learning, but it was not their standards of education that led them to investigate instead, it was their curiosity, their interest in finding out. The only essence in learning is curiosity.
What the AIU does is to create a situation in which the student knows exactly what he wants (curious), but does not know where to find it. The AIU will let the student search for himself the way out giving him step by step instructions on how to go about doing things. These step by step instructions are mostly given on monthly bases. Mean while, the student will be working like a scientist – searching for himself facts about his subject. In due course the student is obliged to develop every mental activity such as fast reading, speed judgment of information, speed writing and the power of reasoning. The importance of student centered education is that, in due course the student will discover many things that are not strictly part of his program. So, by the time he completes his university course he has vast knowledge on things far beyond his subject area.  With traditional learning institutions, it is just the opposite. The student goes to school to receive just what the teacher had time to read. And the student will retain just a small fraction of what the teacher gives. At the end, there is nothing in the head of the student, because it is the teacher that has done the learning. At the AIU, it is the student that learns from the moment of fixing the curriculum to the presentation of bibliography everything is student centered.  And when the assignment is not properly done, it is the student that will work on it following the instructions that he receives from his advisor.
I will seize this opportunity in fact to thank my Advisor, Mr. Randall F. Raus, who is more than a teacher. I can remember when the political situation in my country was very rough. I sent a request for one month permission to stay inactive within my student section. In real fact, I was afraid of the university’s workload, so I wanted more time. But he refused my request like a parent would refuse his child with words of courage and work samples that paved the way through for me.
Once again when I felt very confused about everything, I sent him again an email, telling him that I did not know what to do and from where to start. Trouble! That was the time he showed me exactly how to get information from the net, how to get books, how to reference books etc. If I attempt to explain here everything he did during my study, then most probably he did nothing. So, I will not continue because he did a lot. I only hope that he will be proud of me as a child-student.
Generally speaking, AIU team is a professionally devoted team. Nobody will regret passing through the university. They always have a solution to whatever problem a student will have. Sometimes, I have the impression that I am the only one studying at this university based upon the type of care I receive from them regardless of the remoteness of my country Guinea – Conakry.
My graduation to me is not the end of my learning process. This is the impression I have from the AIU, like our scientists who discovered X-rays and radioactivity, it is just a solid foundation for more research. That is what the AIU prepares its students for.

Best regards

Mamadou Keita


  1. This text empowers people of any category of life.

  2. Looking for a university with such qualities.