Students looking for guidance on how to use different computer programs can now get their questions answered online in a new program by Information Technology Services.
Last week, ITS launched its version of the Microsoft IT Academy, a collection of free courses that aims to teach participants how to use Microsoft computer programs.
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“You can take an online course for Excel, for PowerPoint,” said Priscilla Alden, assistant vice chancellor for user support and engagement.
Greg Neville, the University’s software acquisitions supervisor who launched the program, said there are more than 2,000 courses offered.
Titles range from “What’s new in MS Word 2010,” to “Server-Side Code for Web Forms.”
“I would really like to see people here at UNC utilize IT Academy to help teach UNC students the different Microsoft programs and applications,” Neville said.
Alden said the courses are self-taught and self-paced, and all the instruction is done online.
“If you started a course, and then you had to leave and come back to where you left off, you could,” she said.
Courses are available on the ITS website, and users can register through ITS at any time by requesting an access code through an online form, Alden said.
She said the program was adapted to make it accessible to anyone affiliated with UNC.
“What we did was tailor it a little bit, by offering things that people on campus could use,” Alden said.
She said these online courses do not count for academic credit, but they do teach a variety of special skills.
Students can take courses to become certified in different areas, she said.
But she said the experience is different with each course.
Alden said the academy has courses that count toward becoming a Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer, for example.
“There’s courses you could take toward that certification if a person wanted to do that certification,” she said.
Courses from the academy help students prepare for final certification tests, which are offered externally, she said.
Sharon Glover, a customer relations employee at ITS, said the courses also allow small group work, which will be beneficial to students who want to learn software together.
Glover said she took courses in the academy to help with the program’s testing and set-up.
“I liked it because I could start and then take it for 30 minutes, and return two to three days later right where I left off,” she said.
She said the program offers a wide range of courses for basic experiences.
“You might only need a small tune-up,” she said. “But you can build skills in areas you may not be as familiar with.”
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