Customer: Western Carolina University
Industry: Education - Higher
Creating an all encompassing information portfolio for every student
Implementing a technology platform that would be easy to use and easily understood
Developing a way for students to interact with faculty, advisors, and career counselors
Meeting the needs of WCU’s Quality Enhancement Plan as an outgrowth of their 2007 SACS review
Keys to Success:
Having the goals and vision clearly defined by the educational leaders of the university
Engaging a company like B2B Technologies that understands not only the technology issues, but what educators need as well
Creating a flexible system that will benefit both the student and educational facility today and for years to come
Using a commercially available technology platform that is widely used and that the students will encounter after graduation
Working as one team including, university administrators, I.T., and B2B consultants
At the end of any student’s travels through college, what do they have other than their diploma? Obviously, there are many experiences, in class and out, that influence how they will approach the world and how the world will approach them. What are their assets, their strengths, their ambitions, their grades, their achievements and all the things that made up their school life? In total, this is the composition of who they are – not just their scores, but how they interacted with their total environment; how they participated, how they overcame obstacles and how they succeeded academically and socially.
Where can someone go to see that information? How can they interact with it? Is it easily accessible? Western Carolina tackled the challenges by:
Providing students with a mechanism to see connections between their academic courses, community service, extra-curricular activities and their career-related experience
Digitally warehousing curricular and co-curricular experiences in one place
Being able to quickly distribute and update any type of reference media
Having a place where students can complete non-graded advisor-assigned activities and/or upload instructor-assigned documents
Demonstrating connections between students, faculty, and staff as a backdrop to when graduates begin their job quest
Microsoft SharePoint was piloted by Western Carolina University and it was clear that it could support their needs for building this new student application.
B2B Technologies, a Microsoft Certified Gold Partner and Education Partner, was selected to consult with WCU for this important project. With many years of working with educational institutions, B2B understood the value of such a system, and more importantly, knew how to utilize Microsoft applications in achieving WCU’s goals.
John W. Bardo, Chancellor of WCU stated, “...it is a critical imperative for preparing our graduates for life in the twenty-first century. Increasingly, effective college learning must involve engaged students who participate in active education that integrates theory, methodology and subject matter with practice and reflection – synthetically education.”
This new solution was named “Education Briefcase”, or as it later became known, “eBriefcase” which stood as a good analogy for the expected results of the proposed project. Like a physical briefcase, it could be opened exposing all relevant supporting information for a student, just as a business person might open a briefcase with documents relative to a presentation.
One place for communicating with students
Assigning a task to multiple students at one time
Quickly creating discussion threads by students or advisors for interaction
Reviewing assignments or other documents submitted by students
Learning a commercial application they will most likely see after graduation
Uploading of any type of documents – academic, extra-curricular, etc. and categorizing by QEP, Career, Targeted, International Study and Service Learning
Having two portfolios to present to employers – Career and Targeted
Creating a blog site for social information and sharing
Having the ability to store contact information for staff, teachers and supervisors