Case Study: Universitas Gadjah Mada

Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) is an innovator when it comes to boosting education through technology. It offers Microsoft Office 365 productivity services to students and staff to use in flexible, empowering collaboration scenarios. UGM chose Office 365 over other productivity suites like Google Apps for Education to create an online version of its learning management system—eagerly adopted by other local universities—and to enhance its distance learning programs.

In the heart of Yogyakarta, a center of Javanese culture and learning in Indonesia, Universitas Gadjah Mada (UGM) is driving educational excellence through the innovative use of technology. As the oldest university in the country, UGM has close ties to Indonesian history. It was founded in 1949, shortly after Indonesia declared independence in 1945. Today, the university offers a combination of traditional values—all students contribute two months of rural community service—with modern, comprehensive degree programs supported by progressive technology initiatives. Most recently, UGM added Microsoft Office 365—a cloud-based business productivity service offering—to its roster of enabling technologies for approximately 60,000 students and 6,000 lecturers and academic staff.

“We facilitate education with the best possible technology for learning and for preparing students for the job market,” says Widyawan, PhD, Director of the Directorate of Systems and Information Resources (DSDI) at Universitas Gadjah Mada. “Our students are excited to use Office 365 because they are familiar with Office programs. They know that companies, both here in Indonesia and abroad, are looking for graduates with competence using enterprise-level business tools.”

Enhances Distance Learning

In Indonesia, distance learning is a high priority and a growing practice for many of its universities as they use technology to engage students in the farthest reaches of the country. While blended learning (a combination of both in-person and virtual coursework) has been integral to UGM’s pedagogy for years, new tools like Lync Online, OneDrive for Business, and the Microsoft OneNote digital note-taking program are providing remote students with new ways to collaborate and connect with each other and their instructors.

“We chose Office 365 for our learning management system because it is better suited to our concept of e-learning and offers many ways for teachers and students to interact and learn digitally.”

-Widyawan, PhD, Director, Directorate of Systems and Information Resources

“Teachers and students can use Office 365 videoconferencing and collaboration tools to streamline the assignment and delivery of class projects, with students working anywhere they have an Internet connection, on any of their devices,” says Widyawan. “Lync Online offers desktop sharing and capacity for meetings up to 250 participants. And there is no restriction to online storage with OneDrive for Business. The big advantage over competitive offerings is the OneNote Class Notebook Creator, where lecturers can create personal workspace notebooks for students to write their assignments and communicate with their teachers. These services are helping the university to build its position as a leader in distance learning.”

Differentiates Learning Management System

UGM also brought more robust services and features to its e-learning portal by integrating it with Office 365. “Compared to other productivity suites we have used, Office 365 integrated more easily with our learning management system, had greater capacity for email delivery, and offered a more powerful suite of collaboration tools,” says Widyawan. “We feel it will help us create a better online community for uploading lectures, enabling discussions, and delivering academic results.”

The enhanced portal, known as eLisa, is now supporting higher education across the country. “Through eLisa, our students can keep up with their studies when they are in the field doing community service,” says Widyawan. “Plus, we are sharing eLisa with other universities in Indonesia so they can replicate it for their own use. The portal has received global recognition as well, as it is one of the reasons UGM placed first in Indonesia in the Webometrics 2014 rankings of world universities according to their presence on the web.”

Takes Advantage of Partner in Learning

The development of eLisa was a joint project between UGM and the Microsoft Innovation Center (MIC) that has been co-located on UGM’s campus since 2007. This latest project with Office 365 stems from a long relationship between UGM and Microsoft. The MIC is dedicated to promoting technology in higher education at UGM and across Indonesia, and works closely with faculty at the university. “The strategic partnership between UGM and Microsoft will accelerate UGM’s plan to realize our vision to be an excellent and innovative world-class university,” says Dwikorita Karnawati, PhD, Professor and Rector at Universitas Gadjah Mada.

In the future, UGM anticipates that Office 365 will be used by many of its 60,000 students and 6,000 faculty and academic staff. While the school maintains an open policy with respect to the productivity solutions its faculty, staff and students choose to use on an individual basis, it believes that adoption of Office 365 will increase naturally over time.

“I am most excited about the collaborative possibilities,” concludes Widyawan. “The more students collaborate with their peers and their teachers, the more they will improve their skills and knowledge. That means we can contribute more to the nation and compete better on a global platform.”