NC State Jenkins Graduate School of Management students put Web 2. through a test in virtual classroom with far-flung cohorts

Using the latest in collaborative technologies, students from the North Carolina State University College of Management's Jenkins Graduate School of Management and their cohorts at the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University this past spring explored the potential of service innovation.

They studied and worked in teams using Wikis, the 3D virtual world Second Life and other Web 2.0 technologies.

Learning to navigate the unchartered territory was one of the goals for the 42 students enrolled in the new course – Service Innovation over the Lifecycle - offered jointly for the first time last spring by faculty at both schools.

While students were adopting the new technologies, their professors were watching to see how they leveraged the avatar-based environment.

The feedback from all involved in the class – students, companies that provided class projects and the professors – was good, so plans are to offer the class again in spring 2009.

Riley Gaddy, one of the Jenkins Graduate School students, said he and his classmates “could definitely see possibilities for use of the new technologies, particularly beyond the classroom. Just as the Internet has given companies a new channel to interact with customers, I believe the Web 2.0 technologies can add interactivity and engagement that is not currently possible with the current set of company web pages.”

“I have discovered a lot about how the younger generation uses technology, and what kinds of technologies provide value,” explained IU student Linda Rasmussen. “I have already shared my team’s business case with my current employer’s training department to get them thinking about the advantages.”

Anne Massey, Dean’s Research Professor of Information Systems at Kelly, and Mitzi Montoya, Zelnak Professor of Marketing and Innovation and director of the Service & Product Innovation Initiative at NC State College of Management, created the co-laboratory that included a virtual class supported by Second Life and OnCourse, IU’s course management system.

“Our goals for this class were to help the students understand the services lifecycle and identify opportunities for service innovation,” Montoya said. “The service sector is the dominant driver of today’s global economy and emerging technologies are an important part of innovative service offerings.”

An IBM faculty award to the NC State College of Management supported curriculum development for the Service Innovation Lab portion of the class during which students worked on projects for two companies that are exploring ways to stimulate service innovation – Target Corporation and a Fortune 100 financial services firm.

The course also gave students “the opportunity to learn and use the new Web 2.0 toolkit, including leading edge technologies like virtual worlds,” Massey said. “Today’s students need to develop skills that will enable them to be effective collaborators, particularly in the context of technology-enabled ‘virtual’ teams. Web 2.0 and 3D virtual worlds offer an emerging platform for collaboration within a company and a new platform for interaction between the company and customer.”

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See 10 other posts submitted by Anna Rzewnicki. Find articles, people, and videos related to: Academia, higher ed, Jenkins Graduate School of Management, Kelley School of Business, North Carolina State University College of Management, Second Life, Service Innovation, Service Management, service sector, Services Lifecycle, Web 2.0