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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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#HigherEdThursdays: Virtualizing Dual Enrollment

This time of year is always exciting – with students going off to college, coming home from college, graduating, switching majors and sometimes changing schools. It’s especially exciting when we hear stories like that of the 16 year old Florida student who received her college degree days ahead of her high school diploma.

Reading that success story this week reminded me of the importance of colleges and universities offering dual enrollment to high school students – and how technology can make it more accessible to more students.

One example that comes to mind is that of Coastal Bend College here in Texas. They are preparing their 3,700 students, from across four campuses, for jobs in the real world. They achieve this by providing hundreds of academic classes, as well as vocational and technical training. The College also partners with local high schools in order to provide dual-enrollment courses for students who are often rural and wouldn’t otherwise be able to participate. Read More »

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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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