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October 9, 2000

Short courses to be outsourced

By Eric Rangus

As of Nov. 1, the Information Technology Division's short course training program will refocus its internal training efforts on Emory-specific classes, farming out more general desktop application classes to a technology training partner.

That partner, Productivity Point International, will take over training Emory employees in programs such as the Microsoft Office suite and Adobe Photoshop.

Classes in subjects such as LearnLink, Support Magic and Meeting Maker, tools specific to the Emory environment, will remain the responsibility of ITD's training department.

In some cases, however, Emory will bring instructors to campus for departmentwide training. Most importantly, despite the use of an outside vendor, the billing process will not change. Once the system is ready next month, PPI will be able to take Emory financial accounting system (FAS) numbers for payment.

"We wanted to make the transition as smooth as possible," said Beverly Bush, training coordinator in ITD. "We did not want to ask people to use their own personal credit cards and then wait to be reimbursed. The only way a person's check or credit card will come into play is if your department decides not to pay for it, and that was pretty much they same way under the old system." All classes offered at Emory will be free.

One of the reasons ITD began looking into the idea of outsourcing some training back in June 1999 was the fact that leaving certain types of training up to professional trainers is a growing trend among colleges and universities. PPI, for instance, already has a working training agreement with Georgia Tech.

"We started to look at how the department could be more effective in the business of training. What should we be focusing on?" Bush said. "After reviewing it, the decision was made that we would be more efficient-more helpful-if we focused on the type of training that is specific to our environment."

In a sense, ITD's short course curriculum has been outsourced its entire four-year existence. Bush said she worked not only with others in the training department and instructors around campus to set up a monthly course schedule, but she also contracted with six independent trainers to come to campus and teach. Under the new structure, all on-campus courses will be taught by Emory employees.

Despite the fact that fewer courses will now be offered on the Emory campus, the variety of training options offered by the program has expanded.

"PPI offers more classes than we did here because they can fill a class with a wider audience," Bush said. Although it was uncommon, Bush said, some short courses at Emory had to be cancelled in the past because they couldn't be filled.

"Microsoft training-classes people need to take either to become Microsoft-certified or keep their certification current-they offer those types of classes," Bush continued.

Indeed, PPI has more than 100 training centers in North America (the classes for the Emory community will be held at PPI's Atlanta center near Perimeter Mall) and, according to its website ( is the country's largest provider of Microsoft and Novell certificate training.

Speaking of the PPI website, come Nov. 1, it will be fully set up to take class requests from the Emory community. "It will be customized for Emory," Bush said. "It will have an [Emory] logo so that, when people go to the site, they will see something familiar."

Class registration or information is also available by phone at 1-800-577-7835. The website also contains a map with directions to the training center.


Back to Emory Report Oct. 9, 2000