IBM announced it will make key parts of its software portfolio available in a cloud computing environment to more easily allow professors around the world to incorporate technology into their curricula. IBM brought together more than 200 academic and industry leaders at the conference to explore how best to integrate technology into all aspects of a college education so the next generation of global entrepreneurs will be differentiated by an education that applies technology to areas such as information management and business analytics, digitized patient records, and clean technologies.
IBM is working initially with 20 colleges and universities across the United States to help them use a new Academic Skills Cloud and will add additional schools over time. The new cloud will provide academia an opportunity to use IBM software at no charge without having to install and maintain it themselves. Cloud computing is a new consumption and delivery model inspired by consumer Internet services. Businesses are rapidly adopting cloud computing to use information technology and services over a secure network.
“The ability to apply technology will be essential to differentiate our graduates as they prepare to enter the work force,” says Jeff Rice, Executive Director of Career Management at Ohio State’s Fisher College of Business. “Fisher College has established multiple research centers where faculty, students, and business leaders can collaborate on contemporary business issues. Several of these centers focus on implementing technologies to improve business processes or commercializing new technologies. The convergence of faculty, students, and business in such educational environments is a winning formula for both higher education and the global economy.”
Building on the recently announced IBM Cloud Academy program for educational institutions, the new Academic Skills Cloud provides academia access to cloud computing resources for workforce skills development. IBM is partnering with educational institutions to leverage the power of cloud computing and enhance teaching and research services with more efficient IT environments.
Using the new IBM Academic Skills Cloud, professors can help students:
learn the latest technology skills, such as software development and practical use of information management, Web 2.0 and cloud computing and how they can be applied for decision-making;
access IT curricula and courses from anywhere using their laptop or netbook;
differentiate themselves from other graduates by gaining key IT skills to better compete for jobs.
Faculty can take advantage of cloud-delivered skills resources to:
quickly integrate new IT courses in their curriculum, regardless of subject taught;
more easily facilitate group and long-distance learning programs for students;
free-up existing university technology infrastructure resources.
“Sharp is looking to hire college students who can apply technical skills across all aspects of our business,” said Stewart Mitchell, senior vice president and chief strategist, Sharp Corporation. “These skills are critical to our competitiveness, and we share IBM’s commitment of collaborating with academia to help prepare the future workforce.”
The first wave of academics using the skills cloud will be able to teach technology skills based on IBM Rational, WebSphere and Information Management software including Rational Application Developer, Rational Team Concert, Rational Software Architect, WebSphere Application Server, DB2 and Informix. IBM plans to add additional software over time including Cognos, Lotus and Tivoli.
“Businesses today are looking to the technology industry and academia to produce a highly-skilled workforce that can help drive transformational projects and solve industry-specific problems,” said Jim Corgel, general manager, IBM Academic Initiative. “IBM is collaborating with academia to meet these needs and deliver IT skills through cloud computing to help the next generation of entrepreneurs graduate and be ready to innovate.”