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#HigherEdThursdays: Changing How IT is Consumed on (and off) Campus

Universities are driving the need for IT consumption-based pricing models more than any other market segment.  This is natural given the unique characteristics of their IT environments.  First off they are at the forefront of the IT consumerization movement driven by new generations of students and work habits. With one fourth of the undergraduate population and half in most graduate programs changing every year, one can easily understand why this is the case. While BYOD has emerged in the enterprises over the past few years it has been a commonplace in higher education since campus networks were built in the 80s.  When public cloud-based applications emerged college students were the first to embrace them and driving some to a prominent position in the industry.  Facebook comes to mind.

It is not just students that make the universities very different than other markets.  On many campuses you find different layers of IT functions and associated decision making.  You have the central IT like all enterprises do.  But then you have some lines of business having their own IT function either at the college or department levels.  Most major research centers have their own IT groups especially if they house a supercomputing facility.  Some grant-funded projects make their own separate decisions on IT services unique for such projects or for very short terms needs.

So what are the pricing models the higher education market is asking for? The answer is of course consumption-based pricing models but the devil is in the details.  A simple subscription style “all-you-can eat” model may not be sufficient in most cases  (and it is not really consumption-based after all, is it?).  We see these in traditional enterprise applications that are converted to a SaaS offer. A utility style “pay-as-you-go” model while provides most flexibility might not have the cost predictability the universities require (remember long distance phone service?). Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays: New Models for Online Learning

Mark Twain once remarked, when asked about issues related to plagiarism, “Substantially all ideas are second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from a million outside sources;” and so it goes with online learning.  Is there such a thing as a new model for online learning?  After all, online learning has been done, in a number of mediums, ever since video was first able to be recorded and shared.

I believe, like with anything new, the new models for online learning are essentially all “second-hand, consciously and unconsciously drawn from…outside sources…” But what may be the most striking fact about online learning is just how popular the term, and the practice, has become: when I searched on Google for “online learning,’ I received 2,570,000 responses. Wow!

Perhaps what is most intriguing about online learning models is the growing sophistication of their design, use of learning analytics in “closed loop fashion” (where a student’s online learning behavior is reviewed and, based on what worked and what didn’t, the class or lesson is iteratively improved to be more effective for the next learner) and the use of technology to scale with quality to meet the needs of many learners – be they in one class, one school, one state or beyond. Read More »

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Driving New Network Programmability Talent Needs

Over the past year, we saw the idea of software-defined networking (SDN) become an integral part of IT conversations globally. As this technology evolves, the term “network programmability” can be used to capture the idea of opening up the network.

The Cisco Global Cloud Index predicts that two-thirds of all workloads will be processed in the cloud by 2017, and more than two-thirds of all data center traffic will come from the cloud. Companies building enterprise private clouds, public clouds and hybrid clouds will need qualified talent to optimize their cloud deployments for maximum efficiency.

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Recap: Recommendations for a Sound Technology Future

I recently sat down with Arvind Hickman of HR Magazine UK to discuss the skills gap in the technology sector. We talked about the challenges of filling the critical technology slots that business demands, particularly in developed countries, where the biggest gaps exist.

Cisco has been proactive in surveying the global market, forecasting each country’s future requirements for technology talent and engaging to close the skills gap. We invest in the areas where supply would otherwise fall short of demand, and we work with colleges, the military, and with public -- private partnerships to build the needed training and certification programs. We also recruit people early on, either before college or while in college, to consider technology careers in areas such as security, networking, data analytics and cloud.

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#HigherEdThursdays: Current Trends and Challenges in Higher Education

April 17, 2014 at 7:46 am PST

We are all seeing colleges and universities across the nation experiencing a massive disruption in how they deliver quality learning experiences to their students.  Those that continue down the path of status quo will miss this shift and become obsolete at best and out of business at best.  In his New York Times article, “Innovation Imperative: Change Everything,” Clayton Christensen says, “Like steam, online education is a disruptive innovation — one that introduces more convenient and affordable products or services that over time transform sectors.”

Changing delivery and business models have become part of the competitive landscape, but they also offer new sources of revenue and expense control for colleges and universities. Education delivery is changing in multiple ways, with increased cross registration in online courses, a growing focus on competency based models, new hybrid and online models, flipped learning, and moves to unbundling educational services, potentially increasing mobility across institutions. The rapid rise of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) has also accelerated the pace of change in online delivery models over the last two years. Over the next several years, navigating this landscape will have economic impacts, both positive and negative. It will also force institutions to become more nimble in their strategic positioning. (Moody’s: 2014 Outlook US Higher Education). Read More »

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