Bringing the Intelligent Business Cloud to the Classroom through Microsoft Dynamics 365 – article from Microsoft
To encourage and support students in achieving their full potential, the University of Worcester has promoted the hands-on learning of cutting-edge business applications in their classrooms. Through their membership in the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance, the University of Worcester has integrated Microsoft Dynamics 365 into their curriculum and has witnessed tremendous growth in student satisfaction and engagement. The students now have the opportunity to experience Microsoft Dynamics 365 firsthand through real-world learning examples and to understand the impact intelligent business applications have by bringing people, data and processes together.
The University of Worcester in Worcester, United Kingdom is equipping their students with competitive technology skills by using Microsoft Dynamics 365 in their curriculum. They have access to this integrated, cloud-based customer relationship management (CRM) application for educational purposes as a benefit of their membership in the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance program. Richard Wilkinson, a former IT consultant and current lecturer consultant in Software Development and Programming at the University of Worcester, recognizes the need to provide his students with an opportunity for experiential learning beyond the basic concepts and theories of business applications covered in traditional coursework.
Wilkinson reflects, “In the business world, the one constant is that change is inevitable. Yet, by providing future graduates with a hands-on learning experience utilizing technology at the cutting edge of business, they can enter the workplace as qualified business and IT professionals.” This ideology is what led Wilkinson to enroll the University of Worcester in the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance program, in order to access Microsoft Dynamics 365 licensing, online training, curriculum inspiration, service and support, and facilitated connections to Microsoft partners and customers.
Learning across disciplines
While the business application concepts are integrated within the Introduction to Information Systems course at the University of Worcester, those enrolled in the course represent multiple areas of study as business application skills are relevant in a variety of disciplines. This course allows students to collaborate and learn from one another while using real-world technology. Whether the students are working towards becoming a manager for a large corporation, a financial advisor for a nonprofit or a programmer at a local start-up, it is critical they have an understanding of business applications in the real world to expand their understanding of related theories. The University of Worcester’s membership in the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance program empowers them to deliver a holistic understanding of business processes and interactions across different departments, enabling their students to be better prepared for the modern workforce upon graduation.
In the first months of implementation in curriculum, the University of Worcester saw a significant, positive impact reflected via test results and student engagement. As Wilkinson states, “Students engage better when they feel as though they are doing something worthwhile.” The students at the University of Worcester are recognizing the value of hands-on learning which can be applied to their future careers.
In today’s evolving business climate, the practical relevance of coursework is key for early success. Equipped with Microsoft Dynamics 365 experience, the University of Worcester’s students have an opportunity to combine their academic lessons with real-world scenarios by engaging in the university’s partnerships with local businesses, hospitals, schools and other public, private, and community organizations. The partnerships provide university students with exceptional work placements, volunteer opportunities, and collaborative projects within their local communities. In addition, these essential connections build upon the university’s value of combining human values with true professionalism.
Preparing for the future
Wilkinson believes future trends within technology are based on the anticipated growth of cloud-based services, including business applications. To demonstrate relevance and innovation, he expects his use of Microsoft Dynamics 365 to steadily increase. To continue building on student experiential learning, the University of Worcester intends to integrate additional Microsoft Dynamics 365 business applications into curriculum to “give their students another tool to add to their armory.”
With a focus on the sales, marketing, and customer service capabilities of Microsoft Dynamics 365, Wilkinson plans to continue developing relationships between the university and Microsoft partners and customers. The real-world examples provided by Microsoft partners and customers inspire his students, intensifying their awareness of Dynamics-related careers. Through the holistic learning opportunities including hands-on Microsoft Dynamics 365 experience and industry and local connections, Wilkinson acknowledges the potential impact on his students, stating “We may have the next top consultant or developer currently sitting in our classrooms.”
The University of Worcester is a university in the United Kingdom and a member of the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance. Students of the University of Worcester have a competitive advantage in the job market through hands-on experience with the latest Microsoft Dynamics 365 business applications. Find out more about how you can differentiate your programs and take your curriculum to the next level by visiting the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance site at http://www.microsoft.com/dynamicsaa.
Richard Wilkinson: Lecturer Consultant in Software Development and Programming
University of Worcester