Learning Microsoft Project with O’Reilly for Higher Education

Vanderbilt University Library is excited to share how our subscription to O’Reilly for Higher Education is being used by Vanderbilt students to learn new skills and software programs virtually. This is the final article in a three-part series of student-authored articles. Nairah Moustafa, an undergraduate student (’22) majoring in biomedical engineering, discusses her experience using O’Reilly to learn more about project management.

Microsoft Project is a leading project management software program and extremely powerful.  To learn more about it, I chose to watch Project Management with Microsoft Project Course by Mark Lassoff.  This course was freely available to me through the Vanderbilt Library’s subscription to O’Reilly for Higher Education.

The course was very thorough.  It was divided into nine main topics and had several videos on each topic.  I loved how there was a table of contents on the side where I could go from video to video, see how many videos are left in the topic I am on, and how many minutes of each video I’ve finished.  I usually know how well I have learned something by writing a summary and creating a brain map of the material, and this course had an introduction and summary for every topic.  This outline helped me understand and retain the material because I could compare my brain map to the summary.  The videos were usually a few minutes, which I found very helpful because I have problems with focusing for long periods of time.  The only issue I found was that the videos didn’t have any subtitles — having captions, especially on the longer videos, would have helped me stay more focused and engaged.

I gained a lot of insight on how to use Microsoft Project but there are always extra features that differentiate a novel user from an experienced one.  Following up with a more advanced in-person workshop and maybe seeing how different project managers choose to use the platform will allow me to take advantage of this powerful tool’s capabilities.

I can see myself using Microsoft Project in both my academic and professional life, as all my engineering classes have final projects and using Microsoft Project is a great way to organize tasks.  I like how it integrates the other Microsoft Office apps and creates a customizable Gantt chart.  I am planning to start a club and knowing how to use such a platform is ideal for neatly organizing tasks, sharing reports, and tracking progress among the members.  Finally, I am interested in project management, which is why in addition to my biomedical engineering major, I am taking an engineering management minor. I am hoping one day I will be a project manager.  Knowing how to use such a powerful platform is a great advantage that will hopefully help me manage my team better.

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