The transformative power education has on any society cannot be over-emphasized. Founded in 1975, Usmanu Dan Fodiyo Univerity Sokoto, one of Nigeria’s foremost citadel of education understands this mantra too well. Situated in the North West of Nigeria, the university however faces serious challenges in delivering on this promise. These include Socio cultural issues and the Boko Haram Ideology which actively opposes the education of the girl child. In addition to these, the University also lack access to quality educational resources such as Learning Management System, communications and collaborative platforms for Student engagement and assessments. To align with the United Nation’s sustainable development goal 4, which is to substantially increase the number of youths and adults who have relevant skills, including technical and vocational skills, for employment, decent jobs and entrepreneurship, there has to be a shift. So we embarked on a journey with Usmanu Dan Fodiyo University to empower all relevant stakeholders in spite of the socio-cultural and terrorism challenges. To begin with, the univerisity’s curriculum required a digital platform so educators and students can be better equipped. To this end, quality education training resources on Microsoft technologies were made available. To also create an inclusive technology learning platform where everyone could take ownership, the Microsoft Imagine Academy Solution/Office 365 which runs on the Microsoft Azure cloud was deployed offering users access to a personalized dashboard and the unique collaboration and assessment tools – leveraging the Office 365 cloud solution to support classroom collaborations and assessments, engaging users to ensure a deeper learning. The uniqueness of this solution is such that it provides educators and students more immersive and inclusive learning experiences.
The need to foster a campus-wide seamless communication was also identified as the institution relied on an on-site network for student emails while faculty and staff made use of different network providers. Adopting Office 365 for Education allowed for a seamless and flexible communication across the institution and empowered users with different mobile accessibility platforms to better fit the mobile lifestyle of the average Nigerian University student. In addition, the Office 365 solution offered users access to SharePoint Online—a collaboration tool that allows teachers to store documents, host blogs, microsites and wikis giving room for learners to collaborate on documents at the same time. Other additional solutions include the Skype for Business Online giving learners the opportunity to have instant message, voice and video conversations and empowered teachers to present PowerPoint online. The Microsoft Imagine Academy + Office 365 was also implemented in the Digital Learning center implement. This was embedded in the institution’s Moodle Virtual Learning Environment and it provides a platform to access resources, complete administrative tasks and encourage communication and collaboration within classes. Now the students have access to over 500 desktop computers in the digital learning center of the institution preloaded with Microsoft Office software. The adoption and subsequent success of this 21st century learning skills by Usmanu Dan Fodio University is a pointer to the fact that technology can be used to impact knowledge within the four walls of a school and ultimately transform the lives of lecturers and students alike.