What is Microsoft Imagine Cup? Why should you and your students want to participate? What is required if you decide to do so? I’d like to answer those questions for you. Of course, there is a great deal of good information on the Microsoft Imagine Cup site www.imaginecup.com but it is from Microsoft’s perspective. I am a professor just like you and I want to start by sharing my story so you know how I have come by this information and experience. My name is Janet Bailey and I am an Associate Professor of Management Information Systems in the College of Business at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock (UALR). Our campus, located in the capital city of Arkansas, USA, has just over 13,000 students. Most are working and have families. Their average age is 28 and most are the first generation in their families to have gone to college.
Winter 2008, just two years ago at the time of this writing, our campus’ Microsoft Academic Relationship Manager, Bradley Jensen, approached me and said, “You need to get your students involved in Imagine Cup.” My response was, “What’s Imagine Cup?” Ok… I’ll admit it. I’d heard of the competition but knew absolutely nothing about it. In response I received an explanation of the competition’s purpose (as stated on the website), a reminder of the fact that winners get really nice trips and prize money, and a list of the incredible opportunities including internship possibilities and interaction with venture capitalists that are presented at National and World competitions. Still, I had plenty of questions. However, our Relationship Manager was very persuasive (if you’ve ever been talked into something and you aren’t quite sure why, you’ll know what I’m talking about) and the next thing I knew, one of my colleagues (who had also been talked into participating) and I were not only revamping two of our courses to require Imagine Cup in the Spring 2009 semester but I was offering bonus points to students in classes where requiring competition content wasn’t appropriate.
Do your students ever doubt their capabilities? Well, mine do. I spent the semester listening to them claim they couldn’t compete with the big schools and each time I would tell them they were wrong. Three months after they started their projects, two of my teams made the US National Finals, one took third place. Well, we were rather excited about the success at this point but a month later things got even better when my third place team entered and was selected for the World Imagine Cup Suzanne Mubarak Special Award category in Cairo, Egypt. By this point, the excitement in the College and our community was incredible. The news media picked up the success, the students appeared on one of the television stations with their application, and we were officially addicted to the competition. In 2010, another one of my teams was selected to represent the US in the World Imagine Cup Embedded category at the World Imagine Cup in Warsaw, Poland. This time multiple television stations interviewed the students. Our success is continuing as I have just learned I have a team who will be participating in the Spring 2011 US Imagine Cup Finals.
So now that you know our story, I want to discuss the benefits I have personally witnessed, debunk some myths, share some tips, and encourage you to participate in the World’s most prestigious technology competition for there is no other event in the world in which more than 130 countries come together in an Olympic-style setting to compete.
The above information is just an excerpt from Janet’s story. Download her full article to read more on Imagine Cup including information on:
- Student Benefits
- Faculty Member Benefits
- College/Campus Benefits
- Country Benefits
- Tips for Success with Imagine Cup
to download the full document.