Written by on Tuesday August 30th 2011 in Newsletter

UMass prepares students for a future in the cloud.

Picture the scene, a snowy day in Massachusetts, students unable to make it into class. You would imagine the students would be celebrating, wrong, one group of students at UMass Amherst were disappointed, and a little concerned.

What would happen to their virtual classmates at the National University of Ireland, who were expecting a call? How would they get their project work done?

Their Professor Gino Sorcinelli wasn’t so concerned. And, as their emails flooded in, he simply told them that this is what happens in the business world and they would need to work it out for themselves.

So they did, and he got all his coursework delivered on time that afternoon.

Effective Decision Making in the Age of Cloud Computing

The ability of the students to complete their work and continue their learning was thanks to a new, innovative class running at UMass. ‘Effective Decision Making in the Age of Cloud Computing’, aims to teach students skills that are directly transferrable to the workplace like working over different time zones and project management using cloud technology.

The students collaborate on a real business project with students from the National University of Ireland, Galway to make up teams and produce coursework. They work in an interactive classroom, with all data and collateral they need to manage their projects stored and shared online.

SIMUL8 is used as part of this innovative course to help students visualize the processes they are studying, and in the coming semesters the use of SIMUL8 within the course is expected to increase. “SIMUL8 breathes life into the student’s projects,” says Gino Sorcinelli. “It allows them to visualize how the process works and helps them see the effects that decisions will have on the system”.

Map your Process to Understand

The students map out the business processes they are studying in Microsoft Visio first, and then import this file into SIMUL8 giving them a better understanding of how the system runs. The students then see the impact that various factors have on the process, with a view to making changes and effective decisions to improve the process.

Gino Sorcinelli says, “It is important the students understand how to analyze, not just code, and students need to have the ability to use modern tools to do this. We want to produce students that are viable in the market place, and this means using the latest technology and knowing how to apply it in a business setting.”

Here at SIMUL8 we couldn’t agree more and also think that collaborating online and using cloud technology is the future for businesses. In SIMUL8 2011 there are a set of online collaboration tools to help you manage projects in the Cloud and you can read more about them here.

The skills that UMass are teaching are already paying off, as the wintery day proved. Although the students didn’t go to their physical classroom they were able to conference call and collaborate online, across the Atlantic to make sure their coursework was completed on time. Just the type of skills needed when working in the global marketplace.

Does your university have a success story using SIMUL8? Tell us about it and you could feature in our next newsletter.