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Embracing New Technology Keeps CHRLS on the Cutting-Edge

March 13, 2014

From floppy disks to USB drives, CD players to iPhones, email to Instagram, developments in technology are accelerating at breakneck speed. The Center for Human Resources and Labor Studies is committed to maintaining a cutting-edge approach to the newest technology tools and use.

Recruiting goes digital
Transformations in technology have made recruiting the best MA-HRIR students easier than ever. In the past, prospective students would mail in their application materials, flooding the Center with hundreds of packages from around the world. Now, everything is uploaded through an online application.

"There is less potential for materials to get lost in transit," says Admissions Coordinator Patti Blair. "It's far faster now because materials are directly uploaded, and the program office doesn't have to send things back to the central admissions office."

In addition, instead of organizing all of the applications in a large bin, the uploaded applications are now stored and reviewed online. This allows the admissions committee to print out a just a fraction of the materials, instead of amassing hundreds of paper files. Blair said this process cuts down on paper costs, keeps everything organized, and helps the committee identify missing materials so the applicant can be contacted.

"It cuts down a lot of time and everything stays updated," she says.

Moodle offers flexibility for students and faculty
In the classroom, teachers are utilizing Moodle sites to increase efficiency. Moodle is an e-learning management system that creates individual class websites that allow instructors to share digital course readings, news articles, white papers, videos, and assignments with students. The platform also supports online class discussions.

"Increasingly, both students and faculty are organizing their work through browsers rather than binders, and Moodle has helped us do that," says Assistant Professor Alan Benson.

Graduate students may now purchase digital course packets in lieu of printed materials. Digital course packets are composed of journal articles, e-books, and videos assigned by the instructor, and are integrated into the class Moodle site. Electronic materials are more affordable for students, more flexible for instructors, and are simpler to access.

Teaching from all corners of the globe
New technology has allowed the Center to expand its global educational reach. This April, the program will participate in a unique teaching deployment that allows MA-HRIR Program Director Stacy Doepner- Hove and Work and Organizations Instructor Amy Falink to co-teach an undergraduate HR course with Dr. Bernd Irmer, an HR instructor at Queensland University of Technology (QUT) in Brisbane, Australia. They will teach three joint class sessions live through video conference to students in two locations: a classroom at the Carlson School of Management, and another one at QUT in Australia. The three teachers will co-present the material using live video streaming so both classrooms will be involved simultaneously.

E-newsletters foster connections
Staying in touch with alumni has also become easier with forward-thinking technology. Last year, the CHRLS launched its all-new electronic alumni newsletter. It is published five to six times per year, and distributed through email to CHRLS alumni and friends.

"This gives us an opportunity to be more timely with our stories," says External Relations Coordinator Anne Obst.

The online newsletter provides links to event registrations, faculty profiles, current articles, photos and other information to create a more interactive experience. It is also easy to share and forward stories with others.

Library goes high tech
The Herman Library has embraced digital holdings to allow students more options for accessing materials. According to Director Brenda Carriere, fewer journals are being delivered in paper form, and many items are now available through an online database on laptops, tablets and phones.

"It's nice because students don't have to come to campus to do their research," Carriere says. "They can access what they need at home or a local coffee shop."

When it comes to the future of technology, Carriere said that while she doesn't know what's on the horizon, she does know that the Center will be ready to meet the challenges head on.

"As a Center we are committed to embracing changing technology whenever and wherever we can," Carriere says. "Our future students and alumni will be increasingly technologically savvy and will have big expectations. We need to provide cutting-edge resources and services to our students, alumni and faculty."

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