Higher-Ed Learning with Windows 8

Higher-Ed Learning with Windows 8

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During the past few months, we’ve been talking about how Windows 8 enterprise ready by design. But what does that really mean for organizations? For one of our early adopters, Seton Hall University, it means they’ll be able to give their students the convenience of a tablet with the productivity of a PC. They’ll be able to connect and collaborate across devices – on a desktop, smart phone, laptop or tablet. It means they can give their students and faculty the experiences they want while also having the enterprise capabilities their IT department needs.

Based in New Jersey, Seton Hall University is working hard to create new and dynamic learning environments and wants all of their students to have access to the latest technology to prepare them well for the workforce when they graduate. In 1998, the university began providing full-time incoming freshmen with laptops as part of their tuition and fees. This award-winning initiative, called the Mobile Computing Program, has evolved during over the last 14 years, right along with the definition of what “mobile” means to our society. In less than two decades, the way people – and students – work and use technology has drastically changed.

And I’m excited to share with you that the entering Class of 2016 at Seton Hall recently received a Samsung tablet or Ultrabook running Windows 8, a Windows Phone (Windows Phone-based Nokia Lumia 900) and access to Office 365 for education. That means more than 1,200 students at the university have access to the same technology and resources to pursue their education, with another more than 1,200 junior students obtaining access to the same technology later in August.

The immediate benefits to both students and faculty are obvious: enhanced communication and collaboration across the university. And our colleagues with Microsoft Education and Microsoft Office have posted specifics on how students and faculty are leveraging this technology for academic success.

But for the purposes of this blog, I want to focus on the Seton Hall’s business rationale for standardizing the school across Windows 8 and other Microsoft platforms.

“From an IT perspective, Windows 8 provides us with the ability to manage thousands of devices on our campus network that other solutions are not able to provide,” said Dr. Stephen Landry, CIO of Seton Hall University. “From the student’s perspective, other offerings were great devices for consuming information, but students found it very difficult to create content on them.”

The university sees devices like phones and tablets as companion technology. Previous technology only a few years ago made it difficult to streamline support these university-managed devices because students naturally have large amounts of data stored on them. In an environment that supports both tablets and mobile devices, students’ data – and the user experience – now lives in the cloud, making it easier for the Seton Hall’s IT department to support and troubleshoot issues.

But it’s not just device support that makes Windows 8 a wise choice for organizations that manage thousands of users and devices.

Rob Enderle, president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group, had a chance to hear Landry speak at the 2012 TechEd North America in June. “Devices – whether they are notebooks or tablets – running Windows 8 are appealing to organizations because the operating system brings a strong security, management and integration element to IT departments that other offers cannot provide.”

And Landry agrees. “As a CIO, you have to provide a secure and manageable environment for all of the devices that you’re supporting for faculty and administrators. Windows 8 comes with all the tools I need to make sure that I’m providing a secure and safe environment.”

Windows 8 in education provides students with a technology ecosystem that not only provides access to digital content, but also offers a fully functional tool that allows for productivity and collaboration. Seton Hall is on the cutting edge of building the future workforce and by using Microsoft technologies, students will have the skills they need to be successful in the workforce. And as some of the heaviest power users of technology out there, students have no problem sharing their feedback and ideas to both us and Seton Hall for how this technology can be used.

Want to learn more about Seton Hall’s implementation of Windows 8 and other Microsoft offerings? Check out the Customer Spotlight press release, and this video that shares the CIO’s perspective – but also looks at student and faculty’s initial thoughts on their new technology.

And as we continue to see more early adoption of Windows 8 with our customers, I’ll be sharing stories – like Seton Hall University’s – that clearly articulate the value of Windows 8 for businesses and its many benefits for people and the IT departments that support them.

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