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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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#HigherEdThursdays: Current Trends and Challenges in Higher Education

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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Innovations in Higher Education: New Thursday Blog Series

Most of us have seen the incredible progress and subsequent challenges in the arena of higher education, and there’s no doubt it’s been a big topic of discussion amongst the Cisco Education Team. So, we are excited to announce an upcoming blog series that will highlight some of the key trends, challenges and innovations we are seeing in higher education.

For the next few months, we will host a Thursday blog series focused on the changes in higher education. Starting next Thursday, our own Renee Patton will kick it off by highlighting many of the current trends and challenges. After that, stay tuned each Thursday as we feature blogs covering everything from research universities and online learning models to data sovereignty and analytics. Read More »

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