By Ricardo Ungo

Imagine being in the control tower of one of the terminals of the Port of Virginia, looking at the massive yard stacked with rows of colorful boxes. How do you orchestrate the smooth and most efficient flow of container movements in this terminal where every second counts? Recently, 35 Old Dominion University students immersed themselves into a digital replica of the Port of Virginia's container yard while in their computer lab in Strome College of Business.

The students participated in the first module of a training to learn the operation of NAVIS XPS, the software used by the Port of Virginia to manage its terminal operations. The course was taught by Professors Shawn Altman and Renee Weather, faculty members in the Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences with many years of experience in teaching software applications.

"It is amazing to see the students fully engaged with the technology," Altman said.

NAVIS is a leading port terminal operating system and manages more than 300 container terminals worldwide. Having this interactive, immersive experience with NAVIS software allowed the business majors to engage with real workplace scenarios while on campus.

As part of an agreement signed by The Port of Virginia, the maritime and supply chain management program at ODU and NAVIS, students will be trained in the use of this cutting-edge tool to enhance their data analytics and problem-solving skills while preparing for employment in the maritime and supply chain industries. Old Dominion University developed the curriculum and designed the course and certificate assessment tools.

"This is a great example of industry-university partnership," said Ling Li, chair of the Department of Information Technology and Decision Sciences at Strome College of Business. "The best part of this training is that it effectively incorporates employer's input. Hence, this type of training is directly aligned with the needs of the local industry."

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