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#HigherEdThursdays – Collaboration Redefines Higher Education.

June 12, 2014 at 8:12 am PST

The University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) students are learning in ways that would have seemed impossible just a decade ago.

The University’s College of Education, which is renowned for its innovative and progressive learning environment, made it their mission to give students  a professional and global experience.   By aligning collaboration technology with the University’s needs, UNO pushes the boundaries of education.

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For example, with web conferencing, professors are now able to spend more time one-on-one with students and less time lecturing.  Students and faculty can attend class from remote locations, making classes more accessible to all. In addition, students are able to view online lecture notes before class, so that class time is more effectively spent in group discussions around real-life applications. Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays – Cybersecurity for Higher Education: Is your network protected?

Cybersecurity is a hot topic and a major concern for all organizations.  No one is immune, and indeed, higher education institutions can fall victim to large breaches as well.  In fact, according to PrivacyRights.org, below are a few examples from the last 6 months:

Date Name

Records Lost

22-Apr-14 Iowa State University

29,780

27-Mar-14 The University of Wisconsin-Parkside

15,000

20-Mar-14 Auburn University

Unknown

6-Mar-14 North Dakota State University

290,000

26-Feb-14 Indiana University

146,000

19-Feb-14 University of Maryland

309,079

27-Nov-13 Maricopa County Community College District

2,490,000

Theft, intellectual property loss, and loss of individual’s personal data affect all organizations in varying degrees.  While higher education institutions face many of the same challenges as government and commercial organizations, they also have worries that are unique to their environments. Some of the higher education specific cybersecurity topics include:

  • Data Privacy & Security – Colleges posses the Personal Identifying Information (PII) of their students AND students parents, faculty and alumni – the numbers add up quickly.  In addition to the usual PII, this can also include: medical, financial, academic and other data.
  • Device Mobility – The average student currently has 3 devices and this is expected to grow to 5 devices in the next few years.
  • Application Protection & Control – Education specific applications have become a target for bad actors and file sharing sites cause concern of digital rights violations in Higher Education.
  • Digital Learning & Assessment – On-line classes and testing provide one-to-one learning opportunities, more choice, and cost reduction in Higher Education.  It must be secure
  • Protecting Intellectual Capital – Research universities have become a prime target for intellectual property theft.   They risk loosing valuable data and the possibility of losing grant funding.

Threats have become more sophisticated and protecting the enterprise with these topics in mind needs to be more sophisticated also.  It is no longer enough to harden access to the network and think you are OK.  Because the bad guys trying to steal your data are using so many different types of attack, effective defense requires a multi-level approach.

Cisco recently acquired SourceFire, and we have adopted their frequent question to customers: “If you knew you were going to be breached, what would you do differently?”  The 2014 Cisco Annual Security Report studied the web traffic of corporate networks and every one had connections to domains that are known malware threat sites or threat vectors – an indication that bad things are on every one of these networks and likely on most networks.  Think about the question again – what would YOU do differently?  That is what we all should be doing.

We recommend looking at the Attack Continuum of  “Before, During, and After” with the following actions for each phase:

  • Before an attack you want to harden your network, to enforce security policies with controlled, segmented access to resources.
  • During an attack you want to defend your network by detecting the threats and blocking them from getting in.
  • After an attack you want to contain the threat, determine the scope of the problem, remediate the damage, and get back to educating students.

The conventional perimeter protections such as firewalls, intrusion prevention, and anti-virus are still part of a good defense in depth framework, but more is now needed.  We offer many parts of the solution, of course, and have experts who work with universities to address their specific security needs. But no matter who you work with, please look carefully at what you can do differently to protect your students and your institution from these new, advanced threats.

Our upcoming whitepaper will focus on some of these trends, challenges and strategies for higher education. You can register to receive the whitepaper as well as a compilation of all the #HigherEdThursdays blog series upon completion.  Reserve your copy now.

Happy #HigherEdThursdays!

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#HigherEdThursdays: The Unique Nature of the American Research University

To understand the unique nature of the American Research University, public or private, it is important to have some historical context of the Academic Research Enterprise.hedt-reserch-use

As America pursued economic growth and other national goals, its research universities emerged as a major national asset — perhaps even its most potent one. This did not happen by accident; it is the result of forward-looking and deliberate federal and state policies. These began with the Morrill Act of 1862, which established a partnership between the federal government and the states to build universities that would address the challenges of creating a modern agricultural and industrial economy for the 20th century. Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays: Video and Collaboration

Video and collaboration technologies are dramatically changing how we teach and learn, both in higher education as well as K12. I see it firsthand every day from two perspectives: 1) as an adjunct faculty member teaching graduate courses, and 2) as a member of the Cisco Education Solutions Team working with universities and schools around the world. Let me clarify that the focus is not on the video and collaboration technologies, but rather how they enable greater engagement, participation, and access to learning resources beyond a lecture, textbook, or even classroom walls.

  1. Video and collaboration tools are helping enhance the MBAHED_TP lecture Leadership and Change Management courses I teach in various ways: bringing into the room-virtually--guest lecturers, authors of text, and leaders from anywhere in the world;  recorded videos from multiple sources; and students who can connect virtually and create their own content for the class. The engagement and learning impact is significant, in my opinion—and the student feedback is very positive.
  1. From a Cisco perspective, we help universities and schools maximize these technologies to extend their reach and impact in an increasing number of ways.  Educators connect with learners to enable lecture capture—live, streamed and/or recorded; flipped learning; immersive, TelePresence interaction; recorded as well as streamed courses; tutoring; recruiting; advising; and working together on team projects. Check out how the 4-VA Initiative is using TelePresence expand and extend the unique resources of  George Mason, James Madison, Virginia Tech, and UVA.

San Jose State University is another example of how they are transforming higher education enabled by the use of video and collaboration technologies.

Besides the accelerating number of use cases for video and collaboration, it is important to know that the technology has also become very user-friendly—as easy as one button or dialing a phone number—so educators can focus on teaching and not on trying to make the complex technology work.

In summary, video and collaboration tools are enabling educators to teach and students to learn and to collaborate from any location, with any kind of content, and using almost any device to engage each other face-to-face.

Register today to receive our upcoming whitepaper as well as the final compilation of all the #HigherEdThursdays blog series.  Reserve your copy now and we will send you the whitepaper, which will focus on trends, challenges and strategies for higher education, and the blog series compilation at the end of the series.

Happy #HigherEdThursdays!

#HigherEdThursdays – Meeting the Community College Boom

For the past five years we’ve witnessed a surge in demand for community colleges across the U.S. The reasons for this demand are varied. There are professionals who have been let go from work, there are adult learners who desire new skills and there are traditional students continuing their education in greater numbers.

Much of the growth in enrollment can be contributed to students going online to get degrees. According to Instructional Technology Council, online enrollment is up by over five percent between 2012 and 2013, , and with that growth come several challenges.

Both traditional and online learners demand that education be cost-effective. These students include digital natives who have learned with technology since their infancy, and they want customized education. Standardized instruction across classes is becoming a framework of the past. Read More »

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