If you’re familiar with Cisco’s collaboration products, you’ve probably heard us discuss how they will change the nature of the workplace; from who we work with, to where and when we work, to how business processes are interleaved with the collaboration experience. But what about how they change the way we learn? Higher education represents an enormous opportunity for collaboration products to engage and educate the next generation of global leaders.
Last week, we demonstrated collaboration’s impact on education by announcing that Duke University is using Cisco Quad in their Fuqua School of Business, MBA – Cross Continent program. The reason? To ensure that students throughout the world can fully participate in the program at any Duke campus – not as passive listeners, but as active participants in the learning experience. Cisco Quad collaboration software enables global students to create virtual working groups, find fellow students with common interests, share content, files or videos and instantly start video or audio conferences and chat sessions.
Using Cisco Quad in education is quite appropriate because the product was named after a university campus quad. It’s a place for social networking, where students meet and hang out, share experiences and create, in some cases, lifelong connections. As you go from one class to another, you probably always traverse the quad – it’s a place for constant action and change. This image of the quad seemed like a nice moniker for the product. With Duke, it’s particularly appropriate because we’ve expanded the physical campus to a virtual place that encompasses much more real estate, creating a hub for sharing information and changing the way education happens today.
The learning experience is transformed when students and faculty are unconstrained by traditional boundaries of time and location, allowing them to be more engaged in the overall process. Imagine being able to interact, ask questions and share ideas with your professor anytime, as opposed to the old days of faculty office hours. Working on team projects becomes more efficient because groups can work together regardless of each contributor’s schedule or location. You have a brilliant idea in the middle of the night? No problem. Simply share it on your Quad community. This also aids in accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds.
Take this to the next level with Video enabled collaboration in Cisco Quad. Imagine that video is the medium of conversation, of learning and for sharing. Video can make the virtual classroom experience that much more potent. We can now record each class through video – allowing students to review the session and learn at their own pace. And finally, what if, video was the medium of communicating classroom projects? All of this is possible now in the virtual campus quad.
When students use collaboration tools in the learning environment, they are fully prepared to embrace these next generation technologies when they enter the workplace. In fact, they demand them. Collaboration technologies prepare students to contribute to a global society, engage those who grew up in a digital world, and unify students and faculty in international locations. Transforming the workplace begins with transforming the learning experience for those who will be the business leaders of tomorrow.