Back to School—with Cutting-Edge Collaboration

There’s never been a more exciting time to be in college. With the information and expertise that’s available today, and the technology that enables us to access it, the academic experience is richer than ever—and collaboration plays a critical role. The IBM Academic Initiative helps educators teach students market-ready skills, and provides an avenue to promote real-world use of collaboration solutions to drive research and business operations at universities. Consider these examples:

Inter-university collaboration

SocialStudent_research_ompetition_collaborationIBM partnered with University of Southern California, University of Arizona and Aalto University in Finland to host a SocialStudent research competition on how companies use digital communication to enhance corporate reputations. Twenty-seven teams of three to four students across the universities participated in a six-week virtual competition—using IBM Connections with SocialStudent to plan, collaborate and execute their research, culminating in written and recorded presentations from each team. The experience provided exposure for the students to today’s global virtual work environment.

Sharing knowledge at University of Zurich

University-of-Zurich_knowledge_IBM-ConnectionsThe motto of this 183-year-old university is “Sharing Knowledge”—which originally meant sharing with the public. But, notes Roberto Mazzoni, Head of IT User Services at the university, “When we first saw IBM Connections, we realized that sharing knowledge was also important within the organization.” Now students, faculty and administration workers use Connections to collaborate internally to drive university business, and externally to drive awareness and collaboration with prospective students and their families. VAUZ, an association of 5,500 students and faculty, uses IBM Connections to share ideas and execute plans that keep this venerable university modern and on the latest technology.

Researching collaboration at University of Koblenz-Landau

Koblenz-Landau_university_enterpriseUniversity of Koblenz-Landau (UKL) in Germany not only collaborates using the Connections platform; they study collaboration—bringing the knowledge, procedures and measurements of the academic world to the study of collaboration in the business world. In a massive seven-year research program, their CEIR (Center for Enterprise Information Systems Research) initiative examines enterprise collaboration systems and usage patterns, developing insights and best practices. Its UniConnect project—providing a place where professors, students, lecturers and research partners can collaborate on research and new ideas—is used by more than 40 universities. Says Petra Schubert, Ph.D., Professor of Information Systems, “We’re educating students in cutting-edge technology; at the same time, we’re drawing in these companies and they’re advancing our understanding of such technology.”

Collaborative Computing Scholars

Collaborative-Computing-Scholar_Open-BadgeIBM sponsors an Open Badge program that provides verified proof of expertise in a given area. The Collaborative Computing Scholar badge is awarded to those demonstrating high proficiency in the collaboration field. Project teams from UKL and from the SocialStudent competition have earned this distinction. Learn more about Collaborative Computing Scholars.

These programs show the power and versatility of collaboration today, as they help to shape the collaboration experience for the future. And even if your college days are behind you, you can still reap the benefits from these innovators in your everyday work—because collaborating IS learning.


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