Innovation in NZ's tertiary education ICT sector recognised


University of Otago virtual student desktop wins Supreme Award at the 2015 Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards

The University of Otago has taken out the Supreme Award at the Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards, held in conjunction with the Tertiary Education ICT Conference.

Held in Dunedin on August 27th as part of the 33rd Annual Tertiary ICT Conference, the Microsoft Innovation Awards celebrate ICT excellence within the tertiary education sector.

The University won the award for its delivery of a virtual desktop to students that provides a consistent learning environment for over 30,000 students across their far flung campuses, from its main Dunedin campus, to students in over 30 countries.

The virtual desktop was described by the Award judges as significant innovation at scale, which demonstrably improved the learning experience for the University’s students and provided them with a consistent anytime, anywhere access to the learning environment.

The three categories for the 2014 awards were Excellence in Technology Delivery, Excellence in Technology Innovation, and Excellence in Technology for Learning, Research and Students.

As well as winning the Supreme Award, the University of Otago virtual student desktop project won the Excellence in Technology Innovation category prize. The other two categories were both won by the Waikato Institute of Technology, which won the Excellence in Technology Delivery category with its Data Transport project, and won the Excellence in Technology for Learning, Research and Students for its Student Enrolment project utilising Microsoft Dynamics CRM Online. 

Each category winner was awarded a $3,000 prize package, and the Supreme Award winner also took away the Microsoft Innovation Award trophy.

Evan Blackman, Education Sector Manager at Microsoft New Zealand, says it was impressive to see the New Zealand education institutes leading the way with innovative use of cloud services, and projects which were having an impact at scale to deliver better outcomes for the institution'staff and students.

“The awards are an opportunity to celebrate the outstanding innovation and dedication we see in the use of technology to improve learning and research results in the New Zealand tertiary education sector.”

The Microsoft Tertiary ICT Innovation Awards are another example of Microsoft’s commitment to the education sector. Other initiatives include the Partners in Learning programme, supporting student internships through the Microsoft Student Accelerator programme, and leading software solutions designed to facilitate learning through the use of technology.

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