Prof Abejide Ade-Ibijola
College of Business and Economics
Applied Information Systems
When lookalike avatars of our Vice-Chancellor and the Dean of CBE are heard speaking fluently in a language that is unfamiliar to them, we may be startled or even be amused. We are witnessing the result of an extraordinary project in artificial intelligence and one that represents cutting edge technology and stands at the forefront of 4IR.
This is just one of the remarkable range of applications developed by Prof Abejide Ade-Ibijola, an Associate Professor in Applied Information Systems. It is almost impossible to capture the unbounded energy, vitality and innovative imagination that characterises his teaching and which he transfers to his students. Drawing on his experience in the gaming industry, he ensures that his classroom is a lively and interactive space where students learn not only that programming is difficult and that they need to practise and work hard, but also experience the excitement of the results of their effort. Students are always collaborative and engaged, first acquiring the theoretical foundations of programming but then translating these into concrete applications. Many still remember engaging with Teddy in the UJ library, a humanoid chat robot, powered by AI, designed to replace existing technologies and described as "a day-to-day companion who can perceive emotions" and hope that they too will be able to programme a robot in future.
In his teaching philosophy, Prof Ade-Ibijola combines Cognitive Learning Theory with a syntax free approach to computing as he explores the best way in which to teach programming. Using a wide range of strategies with extensive use of technology, he is the perfect role model of a teacher engaged in preparing students for a fast-changing, super-complex world where adaptability and problem-solving skills are more important than remembering facts and reproducing facts.
Abejide, thank you for the enormous contribution you make to our university and for enriching your students' lives – congratulations on receiving this award and we wish you well in all your exciting future endeavours.