Collaboration for Higher Education
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Collaboration for Higher Education

‚ÄčCustomer: Georgia State University
Industry: Education - Higher


  • Enable online collaboration for students and alumni

  • Create place for document storage that is secure and accessible to students, faculty and staff

  • Easily searchable document libraries for quick access and downloads


Although the J. Mack Robinson College of Business at Georgia State University (GSU) consistently earned top rankings in national and worldwide lists of Executive MBA programs, school officials were not satisfied. More than just making the lists, school officials wanted to move up the lists.

Cementing its position in the academic rankings, school officials concluded, required an edge, and technology seemed to be a key way to secure that edge. Not just any technology, but one that could enable the kind of real-time collaboration needed to link students with faculty and alumni with the school.

As the number of executive MBA programs increases, it becomes even more important to stand out, and real-time collaboration technology is helping GSU do just that.

Linking students, faculty and alumni

When GSU wanted to select and implement an advanced collaboration platform, it turned to B2B Technologies, an Atlanta-based e-business technology company and Microsoft Gold Certified Partner. The project upgraded an existing student/faculty portal to enable on-line collaboration, while extending collaboration to alumni. B2B selected SharePoint Portal Server to link with Live Communication Server, a highly secure instant messaging system, as the means to connect students and faculty securely and in real-time.

Student communication is just one side of the system's collaborative capability. Faculty members use the portal to post their syllabuses and assignments, and to point students toward document libraries that contain relevant research and resources. As a result, faculty can actually guide the students' educational pursuits. Students spend less time searching for resources and more time reviewing faculty members' preferred information sources.

Students enrolled in EMBA programs hold down full-time jobs while pursuing their degrees. For many of them, being able to receive documents via email addresses at their respective places of employment is difficult. Not only are there confidentiality and security concerns with work email accounts, corporate firewalls are likely to block email from non-authorized senders. The collaborative student/faculty portal solves that problem by enabling students and faculty alike to post documents, which can then be downloaded from the portal rather than emailed.

"Our alumni work at most of the leading Fortune 500 companies," said Donna Blackburn, director of Executive Programs, J. Mack Robinson College of Business, Georgia State University. "The new collaborative system gives our alumni an easy way to stay connected, both to the college and to each other."