How is Technology Changing Business Education?
By Christian Sonnenberg
We often associate the study of technology with traditional STEM degrees, but in today’s world everyone needs a fundamental grasp on technology to remain competitive. A business student who leverages technology will be one who builds enterprises and pursues new opportunities. Understanding technology can be challenging, which is why it needs to be intellectually motivating. The Nathan M. Bisk College of Business promotes technology through a number of new and rewarding initiatives:
INNOVATION THROUGH TECHNOLOGY
Our commitment begins in our freshmen-level course “Foundations of Creativity, Innovation, and Entrepreneurship,” which includes a module devoted to technology and idea creation. Students work with Raspberry Pi computers, sensor kits and programming tools to construct a product of their own choosing. The Raspberry Pi’s price, flexibility and portability make it ideal to explore rapid prototyping as a tool for innovation. Students work in teams exploring the basics of programming, computational thinking and technology integration to compete for prizes in our Student Innovation Challenge.
DATA ANALYSIS AND MAKING THE PITCH
Technology is further defined by the power it provides to make better decisions. Data analysis, transforming volumes of data into valuable information, is an essential skill a business leader needs to tackle competitive forces. We’ve introduced IBM Watson Analytics and SAP Lumira, two software solutions that provide data analytics tools, into our information systems courses. Students take huge data sets and develop beautiful visualizations to identify trends and patterns, culminating in the worldwide DataGenius contest.
ENTERPRISE SOFTWARE: THE BIG PICTURE
Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are mega-software suites that handle all elements of the business environment, from accounting and finance to marketing and sales. The sheer scope allows business leaders to make extremely important decisions with high-level perspective. Business students gain hands-on experience with ERP systems, specifically SAP, in a series of modules across accounting, marketing and IS courses. We launched the SAP Scholar Program to help students enhance their ERP knowledge, teach other students and provide skills to make them marketable.
As a university with “technology” in our name, we owe it to our students to impart a certain level of appreciation for it. Through our college’s initiatives, we provide the business leaders of tomorrow the
tools and experience they need now.
Christian Sonnenberg is the assistant dean of online programs and an academic chair in information technology in the College of Business. His research covers such areas as handheld and mobile usability, modeling/simulation, data visualization, and online learning models and systems.