Dakota Digital Academy publishes status update report

Dakota Digital Academy publishes status update report

BISMARCK, N.D. – Highlighting key accomplishments since its inception in 2021, the Dakota Digital Academy (DDA) recently issued a status update report. The document details progress in assisting students, businesses, industry and government in North Dakota to adapt to the changing demands and opportunities within information technology and cyber sciences.

The DDA’s mission is to provide access to digital-cyber oriented education, training, certificates and knowledge produced by the collaborative North Dakota University System (NDUS) of eleven campuses, in partnership with select business and corporate partners.

“The Dakota Digital Academy’s success cannot be understated. The group has made real progress in ensuring enhanced digital literacy for students and faculty across the North Dakota University System’s institutions,” said Jerry Rostad, NDUS vice chancellor of strategy and strategic engagement. “Most of all, it has encouraged discussion about current and future technologies and how they are transforming our world.”

Going forward, one of DDA’s goals and objectives is to provide diverse, accessible and employer-endorsed program offerings. Since 2022, 15 online cyber science courses were established — 69 currently are offered NDUS-wide — at six of the 11 NDUS institutions, allowing students to pursue a certificate or degree.

A certificate gives students an earned skill in as little as three courses. Many of these certificates are offered remotely, allowing students to remain in their communities while advancing their education. A few examples of certificates promoted by the DDA include cybersecurity and software development.

The DDA also is a “go-to” resource for campuses to facilitate discussion about workforce needs, degrees, certificates and course development for emerging technologies. NDUS faculty has been offered grants from the DDA to create online courses in cyber technology. Over the last three years, 46 grants for $5,000 have been awarded through the DDA.

The emergence of artificial intelligence (AI) has influenced the focus of the DDA on several fronts. The DDA is working with the University of North Dakota to deliver a faculty development workshop in using AI in the classroom for all institutions of the NDUS.

Additionally, this year, 15 scholarships for $1,000 were awarded through the DDA for NDUS faculty to attend and participate in conferences or professional development experiences involving artificial intelligence (AI). The awards were to help encourage professional learning and AI implementation in college classrooms.

The DDA also continues to work with business and industry to address workforce needs. In June 2023, the DDA Workforce Advisory Committee merged with the TechND Workforce Advisory Committee to discuss needed skillsets for upcoming graduates entering the workforce and guide faculty on course development to enhance those skillsets.

For more information and to view the DDA status update report, visit https://bit.ly/3vkdvTP