GSU recently got serious about the importance of technology in higher education, not just as a way to tackle schoolwork or for professors to present information, but also as a skillset that can help take students to the next level. “We’re taking a fresh look at how to reach today’s students and give them the most valuable education we can,” says Phil Ventimiglia, the university’s first Chief Innovation Officer. “More and more, that education includes technical capabilities that help students express themselves, work efficiently, and collaborate across boundaries.” It’s Ventimiglia’s mission to determine what twenty-first-century education looks like for GSU, and to put programs and initiatives in place to move the university in that direction.
Ventimiglia came onboard with years of experience at Fortune 500 companies and now works to empower students and professors with the same technological advantages that he saw in the business world. “For instance, the communication and collaboration technologies that helped me effectively manage a US-based team from India would make it easier for our researchers to work more closely on projects with their counterparts at other institutions,” says Ventimiglia.
Not content to merely bridge the digital divide that exists among his diverse student body, Ventimiglia is promoting a digital literacy initiative in which all Georgia State students, starting this year with Honors College freshmen, will learn modern skills that employers expect. Students will put these skills to practice while engaging in course work across a range of classes: creating and publishing blogs, using powerful analytics tools for business intelligence, and sharing documents for group work—all part of the initiative to prepare students for life after graduation.
To support such digital learning, Georgia State chose to adopt Microsoft Office 365. “Getting accustomed to Office 365 will serve our students well, not just when it comes to learning how to leverage technology for their course work, but also in their future careers,” says Ventimiglia. “Being savvy across the spectrum of Microsoft productivity technologies is key preparation for the working world because they’re the tools of choice for the majority of employers. No other productivity software has the same enterprise-grade pedigree, and it’s important to give our students, faculty, and staff high-quality resources.”
Ventimiglia has already established the university’s Digital Literacy Innovation Fellowship program, which challenges faculty members to dream up ways to put new technologies to use in the classroom to optimize learning opportunities. “They’ve immediately responded with creative ideas that include using Office 365 components to help us reach students and amplify ‘learning moments,’” says Ventimiglia. For example, the university plans to use Skype for Business Online for virtual classroom discussions and virtual office hours, so that students have greater and more convenient access to professors while still respecting professors’ personal time.
Georgia State is leading the way toward more connected students who are better prepared for what awaits them. “We’re confident that we’re giving our students the experience that they need to move forward in their careers of choice,” says Ventimiglia. “Office 365 is a critical component of the tool set that we’re using in that preparation.”Want to learn more about Office 365 at GSU?
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