How do you reconcile the gap between the skills that you can teach today, and the skills your students will need when they leave education institutions and enter the world of employment? Earlier in the year I wrote about one initiative at Keele University of Applied Sciences, where the students are using Microsoft Dynamics CRM in education as part of their course – familiarising them with the tools they are going to encounter in employment, as well as giving them a head start for jobs.
If you’re in a TAFE or university, you may want to know about (or let a colleague know about) the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance, which is a community of over 1,500 education institutions around the world that are teaching students using the Microsoft CRM and ERP systems. The scheme works by giving your institution access to:
- Donated Microsoft Dynamics software for your classroom/labs
- Free technical support from Microsoft Dynamics product experts
- Free online training and course materials
- Access to Faculty Connection, a Microsoft-sponsored CRM in education community designed to connect you with other professors who are leaders in their field
- Information about industry association meetings and conferences
- Connections with Microsoft Dynamics partners and customers
The programme is open to educational customers that want to use the Microsoft Dynamics products in their curriculum or academic research in curriculum areas such as accounting, business, marketing and operations management. (Of course, it would be obvious to include it within a degree course in sales, but unlike other similar professions such as marketing, it seems that ‘sales’ doesn’t get its own degree course!).
A big benefit is that your students are able to get hands-on, practical learning experiences that replicate the processes and systems they will encounter when they leave you, and your teaching staff get a simplified route to creating the courses needed by students.
Important NB: The no-cost software licences issued through the Microsoft Dynamics Academic Alliance are not for evaluation purposes or for personal, family, or business use. They are not available for Microsoft Dynamic–specific training on a for-profit basis, and they are not available for educational institutions that want to use them to manage their own operations.