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From Durham to Kilimanjaro: Connected Learning with IoE

According to Duke University’s Vice Provost, L. Gregory Jones, “Students need to have a global imagination if they’re going to be leaders in any vocation in the 21st century.” Which is precisely why Duke has been at the forefront of implementing connected learning for its students and faculty around the world, with the help of IoE.

The Internet of Everything is providing the networked connections between people, process, data and things that make global learning possible. And at Cisco, we’re committed to making connected learning seamless with a number of technologies, the most prominent of which is Cisco’s TelePresence. TelePresence extends the power of in-person collaboration, allowing users to experience next-generation video conferencing and information sharing. A great example of TelePresence at work is the partnership established between the Duke University School of Medicine in Raleigh-Durham, NC and the Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College in Tanzania, Africa.

In the U.S., the doctor to patient ratio is 1 doctor to every 450 people; but in Tanzania, the ratio is 1 doctor to every 33,000 people. In order to help Tanzania improve its medical knowledge and care for patients, the Duke School of Medicine and Kilimanjaro Christian Medical College teamed up in 1997 to collaborate in research and training.

By 2002, the partnership was extended when Duke placed its first full-time faculty member in Tanzania, and KCM College graduated its first class of 15 doctors. When the National Institute of Health awarded Duke and KCM College a $10 million grant in 2010 to further healthcare training, part of the money was put towards implementing Cisco’s TelePresence technology. The powerful connections provided by the Internet of Everything and TelePresence allowed for more in-depth, real-time connected learning between US and Tanzanian doctors. In 2011, the number of Duke educators and researchers on site in Tanzania expanded. They used the IoE -- TelePresence connection to stay in touch with the Durham campus, utilizing video-conferencing to easily share studies and findings with colleagues back home.

See how Cisco TelePresence is making global connections between the Duke Global Health Institute and students and faculty at the foot of Mount Kilimanjaro by clicking through this interactive graphic:

Overall, the results have been impressive. Between 2000 and 2011, the United Nations Human Development Index estimated the average Tanzanian’s life expectancy rose 26%, expected years of schooling rose 69% and overall progress rose 28% -- quite a feat for such a short time period. The future of Tanzania looks much brighter, thanks in part to Duke’s continued collaboration with KCM College and the connections the Internet of Everything makes possible.

Cisco TelePresence is just one of the many technologies Cisco offers enabling connected learning – even between people halfway across the world. A comprehensive solution portfolio of intelligent, network-centric solutions, including video, collaboration, and virtualization, will improve student outcomes, increase efficiency, enhance safety and expand research capabilities. With the Internet of Everything, teachers can be scaled to reach many more students, courses can be richer and more interactive with rich-media technology and they can be accessed on any device, anytime, anywhere. It’s an exciting time for the education industry – the opportunity to better prepare students for the IoE-enabled global world of tomorrow is here for those ready to move forward.

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Four Ways Social Software Collaboration Technology Can Change Higher Education

New media and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform higher education in terms of the classroom, the learning process, the relationship between students and instructors, and how institutions conduct academic research. While much of the industry discussion revolves around use of consumer tools and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Cisco’s educational customers also see tremendous opportunity to increase student engagement and drive their own institutional strategies with “enterprise class” social software as well.

Since Cisco first announced Quad, we have had conversations with dozens of colleges and universities regarding the role enterprise social software and Cisco Quad can play in transforming education. Cisco Quad is an enterprise collaboration platform that brings people together to share ideas and content, collaborate on projects, and interact using chat, voice or video, regardless of where people are located.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways in which educational institutions are telling us enterprise social software is helping, or can transform the way learning, research, and academic advisement is crafted, delivered and consumed:

1. The 24/7 interactive classroom: Instructors often struggle to deliver a collaborative environment for their students that is secure and supports multiple access methods such as mobile.  Technology like Quad can enable students to interact in a secure, policy-based manner that extends the classroom conversation beyond physical walls. Courses partially or wholly targeted at off-campus students can similarly benefit from enhancing the class-like experience for remote students. For example, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the cross country MBA students based in the US, England, India and other countries are using Quad to create virtual working groups, find people with common interests, share files or videos with other students working on similar projects and instantly start video conferences or chat sessions. Quad provides students with the ability to interact, ask questions and share ideas with professors/faculty/tutorial assistants anytime, as opposed to only during fixed faculty office hours. It can also drive improved accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds and in project communities by both participating students and faculty leads.

2. Serendipitous Research: Quad contains several features, such as an activity feed that compiles microblog posts from students and staff and allows a snapshot view of a person’s current activities. These dynamic updating functionalities can facilitate broader cross-departmental collaboration, for students and researchers alike. Security features ensure that research that needs to be confidential is shared in a secure and safe manner.  As researchers update their statuses with exciting discoveries or frustrating problems, or create posts, upload videos or otherwise document their work, this content becomes accessible to hundreds of fellow university researchers through activity feeds and searches, making it possible for providential inter-disciplinary connections to be made and new insights to be generated. Read More »

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