Symposium furthers business students’ tech tutelage
By Rick Vacek
GCU News Bureau
The dizzying advances in technology are testing the equilibrium of every sector of society, and universities are no exception.
“What we’re wrestling with in the academic world,” said Dr. Kevin McClean, professor of marketing in the Colangelo College of Business at Grand Canyon University, “is how to use technology effectively.”
The wrestling match continued Tuesday afternoon during an Honors Symposium organized by McClean and hosted by CCOB and Delta Mu Delta, an international business honor society. All three presentations were related to technology:
- Dr. Lawrence Awuah delivered a long-distance video chat on “Supporting 21st-Century Teaching and Learning — the Role of Google Apps for Education.”
- John Steele, Thomas Dyer and Elizabeth Larson presented “Integrating Technology into the Online Classroom through Innovation and Collaboration.”
- Dr. Brent Scholar broke down his research into “Predicting Re-Enrollment for Online Learning Using Social Networking Websites.”
“I think the topics that we heard today were appropriate in that we’re constantly looking for innovations and technology applications in our classroom, whether it’s a ground classroom or online, and it’s encouraging to see that we have people who are really active in looking at how we can make the experience better for our students,” McClean said.
At the end of the two-hour session, McClean sought to make the symposium experience that much better for the large group of students in Howerton Hall by conducting a panel discussion featuring Joe Mildenhall, GCU’s chief information officer, Dr. Mike Mobley, executive director of GCU’s Center for Integrated Science, Engineering and Technology, and Tim Kelley, assistant professor for entrepreneurship and economics in CCOB.
The message to students: Get on top of tech.
“The business systems of today solve problems that we had to work really hard to solve just a few years ago,” Mildenhall said.
Afterward, he expanded on what that means:
“If you look at the concept of the Cloud, it’s been around for a few years, but what you’re able to do with it is getting easier and easier at an accelerating pace, plus the cost is going down. So the way it’s going to be used in business, to solve problems, is going to accelerate.
“I’ll give you a good example: Freeport-McMoRan, which runs trucks in all its mines. Those trucks are instrumented so they spit out log data all the time. And so they’re giving all this data, but nobody had time to go look at it. What typically would happen was something would break and then they’d go back and look at the data and see if the data would tell them what broke. Now they’re able to pump that data into large data-mining capabilities in the Cloud and are able to sift it so fast that they can start to predict things that will happen prior to them happening.”
CCOB Dean Dr. Randy Gibb said of the symposium, “It aligns with our entire University as well as the Colangelo College of Business in terms of innovation, our role-playing with CSET, technology and, finally, entrepreneurism. It fits perfectly with where we’re trying to go as a college with our curriculum, our faculty and our students.”
To which McClean added, “One of the reasons I wanted to get this in front of our business students is to make them aware of what they can do in this whole evolution of innovation and technology. They’re the ones who will commercialize it.”
Contact Rick Vacek at 602-639-8203 or [email protected]