Modernizing a university with technology
In 2017, when Universidad Insurgentes (UIN) was purchased by new owners, the first task was to bring technology into its classrooms. “Before, the university was very traditionally managed—there was no software, no technology,” explains Ricardo Phillips, CEO of UIN. “All this time, we’ve been putting in technology to the back office and academic offices.”
As part of the process, Félix Parral, UIN’s chief academic officer, and Victor Lazarín, UIN’s chief commercial and student experience officer, also added technology to improve the student experience. On each campus is a Google lab stocked with Chromebooks, the recommended device for UIN students seeking to buy laptops to use at home or on campus. Libraries now also have Chromebooks for students to use or borrow, and all students have a Google login so they can access Workspace solutions like Google Docs and Google Sheets.
Perhaps the biggest leap forward was the adoption of Google Classroom, which UIN pairs with Open LMS, the open-source learning management system. Since many courses at UIN are taught online to allow students flexibility in reaching their educational goals, Classroom has proven to be a critical tool for students and educators.
Ease of use is critical for UIN tools, as is the ability to use technology to improve student success. Most of the UIN student body is low-income, and many students are the first in their families to attend college. Seventy percent of students work while they attend school, and so take classes in the evening or online to accommodate their schedules. Many come to UIN with only minimal knowledge of technology, so any tools that the university provides needs to be as easy to use as a mobile app—a requirement that Classroom and Workspace meet.