Last year, the Cisco Connected World Technology Report came up with a startling finding: In a poll of 2,800 respondents across 14 countries, 40% of college students and 45% of young professionals declared that mobility and social media access on the job was even more important to them than a high salary.
For slightly older workers, this is a major and surprising cultural shift. But it is one that has already been embraced by West Texas A&M University and its CIO, James Webb. To better serve its Millennial students, the university has deployed a flexible, pervasive learning environment based on a Cisco network that enables a multitude of devices. Offering mobile, more relevant learning options helps to prepare these students for the modern workplace while assuring that they receive a good education.
My friends and I circled the floor at Harrah’s, in New Orleans, deliberately choosing a high stakes table that felt like a winner. Within minutes the dealer knew exactly how each of us played the game. He anticipated our every move barely giving us time to gesture “hit” or “pass”. The game moved so quickly we had only a second to cheer about a big win on a double-down or grunt when a sure-to-win hand was taken down by a dealer blackjack.
The odds were in our favor. Three out of four of us walked away winners. That game alone paid for a lovely dinner at Commander’s Palace that included a bottle of wine my significant other, Josh, and I would never have dreamed of spending so much money on before hitting it big at Harrahs. The winnings also treated us to a never-to-be-forgotten brunch at Brennan’s (eggs housard how I have longed for you in the 11 years since I first tasted you).
There has rightfully been much emphasis placed on student achievement to justify technology investments in higher education. California Baptist University is focusing in on students as a primary driver for their collaboration architecture, but something else interesting popped out for me in this recent case study – how it is affecting instructors.
Clearly there is a business case for extending the reach of a university that has limited “brick-and-mortar space to grow in. According to Dr. David Poole, Vice President, Online and Professional Studies, “I can now offer face-to-face instruction in real time to Chinese students at the bachelors and masters level. My ROI is tremendous because I am not sending faculty over there to spend months and months over there.” I believe that while some US-based instructors may enjoy an occasional trip to China, an extended stay could be an obstacle from a personal perspective.
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