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Learning from EDUCAUSE 2015

EDUCAUSE is always one of my favorite conferences, and this year was no exception. While many of the discussion topics weren’t new, they did focus on issues that are gaining steam, such as mobile device management (MDM) and how to prevent cybersecurity breaches. Last week, I shared some of the things I was hearing on the show floor. Now that EDUCAUSE 2015 has wrapped, and I’ve had some time to reflect, I wanted to share a little more about what I learned.

I was lucky enough to speak with a number of educators, IT professionals, and members of the media about trending topics in higher education IT. One of the highlights included a conversation with Campus Technology and Dr. Lance Ford. Dr. Ford is a former teacher and technology coordinator for Howe Public Schools in Oklahoma. The Campus Technology team joined us to discuss the complexity of cybersecurity for students, faculty, and staff. Additionally, the Cisco team was interviewed on-camera by EdTech: Focus on Higher-Ed to discuss the use of collaboration tools in higher education. Check out the photo above and video here of our senior engineer, Kevin Livingston, talking shop with EdTech!

In all of my conversations,  I repeatedly heard the challenge that university leaders are having with the demands that mobile technologies are placing on universities. Today, students are bringing an average of seven to 10 devices to campus, which puts a huge strain on university networks. My conversations with reporters included solutions on how campuses can prepare for the burden of mobility with new technologies to better manage and support mobile networks. Additionally, as classrooms swell with students who are connected 24/7, faculty are wrestling with how to integrate mobility into their courses. How can educators benefit from mobile integration, without creating distractions? It will be interesting to see how universities address mobile expansion, and it’s something we’ll be hearing a lot more about in 2016.

While I loved talking with different educators about how Cisco technology can help them meet their goals, one of the topics that grabbed attention on the floor was the Cisco Network Academy. Cisco is an education company, and the Cisco Network Academy is an IT skills and career building program that helps students succeed in the post-graduate world. Today’s digital natives are tomorrow’s global citizens, and to bring our students into leadership roles, we must give them opportunities – as early as possible – to build skills essential to their future. Check out more about the Cisco Network Academy here!

Overall, EDUCAUSE 2015 was filled with enlightening and engaging conversations between universities, technology companies, and the media about the major trends in education IT. What new problems are universities facing? And how can we use technology to address these issues? By thinking creatively about how technology tools that support education, we all have the power to help our students Learn Without Limits. If you attended EDUCAUSE this year, let me know about your experience – I’d love to hear your thoughts!

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Checking in from EDUCAUSE 2015

Hello from EDUCAUSE 2015! I’m checking in from Indianapolis to share a little bit about what has been discussed so far. Yesterday, I heard an excellent general session from Daniel Pink, had the chance to attend multiple sessions on everything from the affordability of course materials to the personalization of the student experience, and spoke to multiple educators and IT professionals about trends they’re seeing in the education technology space.

One of the biggest things that everyone is talking about this year is online learning. EDUCAUSE named e-learning and online education one of its top 10 information technology (IT) issues, and multiple sessions discussed how to best approach the trend. One key takeaway is how e-learning will help engage a new type of student, but presenters stressed that online learning is much more than simply putting your regular course material online—it is a new way of reaching students. I also heard in one session that online education must be both scalable and well-sourced to be successful. It is this insight from technology companies and educational institutions that make EDUCAUSE such a great show!

Building off of the concept of online learning was the much-buzzed-about topic of mobile device management. Data shows that students are on their phones more than ever, and educators are trying to figure out how to best harness mobile devices for use in their classrooms and how to integrate them into the curriculum.

And the undercurrent to both of these ideas is something that we’re passionate about here at Cisco: security. When EDUCAUSE presented their top 10 IT issues for 2016, information security was number one on the list. And for good reason – while the benefits from connected classrooms and e-learning are huge, this interconnectedness also greatly increases the risk of security breaches. Hacks of information in the education world often start from phishing scams, and schools need holistic and agile solutions to help secure their networks and protect their data.

That’s just scratching the surface of what’s being talked about here at EDUCAUSE. Other sessions covered everything from women in higher education IT to envisioning the future of the CIO to how the CIO can collaborate with faculty and administrators to optimize education technology. The Cisco team and I are looking forward to another full day of learning here in Indiana, and will be sharing much more about our key takeaways in a wrap-up blog post after the event concludes. If you’re at EDUCAUSE this year, stop by booth #1302 to say hello to our Cisco team, and make sure to follow along on social media using #EDU2015 and #CiscoEDUCAUSE!

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Educause: How Cisco is Supporting the Digital Transformation in Higher Education

As EDUCAUSE officially gets underway, I wanted to share with you some of the Cisco Education solutions for the Digital Campus and Digital Learning that we’re demonstrating at our booth. The Internet of Things is making it easier than ever for students and faculty to collaborate, improving schools’ efficiency and expanding education opportunities. We’re so excited about our portfolio of smart, network-centric solutions that are helping to transform classrooms and campuses across the country.

For example, we’ve got a whole host of tools used to create a digital campus – both in the classroom and beyond. Classrooms can use Cisco WebEx for remote or distance learning. Tools like SpeakerTrack, which is a dual-camera system used with a video solutions like Cisco TelePresence that allows participants in a video meeting to see the active speaker on the other end of a call in full view, make remote learning even more immersive and help give students the best possible educational experience. And Cisco Spark allows teams to send messages, video chat and share files all in one place, which enables instructors to work closely together and makes it even easier for students to collaborate on group projects.

Outside the classroom, Cisco has smart solutions to help campuses run efficiently, like smart lighting that helps colleges and universities save on energy costs and smart parking that helps campus parking lots run more smoothly. We also have solutions that focus on the safety and security of your campus. We’re demonstrating FireSIGHT here at EDUCAUSE, which helps identify many aspects of network visibility. This information can be used to automatically prioritize events, modify policy and block threats which save money and improve security.

Additionally, new digital solutions from Cisco partners make it easier than ever for colleges and universities to reap the benefits of collaboration in the classroom. VBrick’s Capture, Transform and Share tools allow instructors and students to maximize the benefits of video collaboration tools, allowing for on-demand viewing and easy editing and sharing. And with CirQlive, you can now easily integrate your Cisco WebEx with your learning management system to improve learning outcomes.

Other tools from our partners help improve campus security. For example, iOmnicient’s Facial Recognition solution can help keep students safe on campus and in dorms. The University of San Francisco is utilizing it right now to control access to their residence halls to keep the students who reside in them safe. Plus, the Splunk Cisco Security Suite can help security teams take full advantage of the information collected across their Cisco security devices and enables a single, comprehensive view for complete situational awareness.

All of these solutions are part of the ongoing digitization of higher education, using the Internet of Things to give administrators and instructors easy, efficient and cost-effective solutions to help them meet their goals: improving student outcomes, increasing efficiency, enhancing safety and security, and expanding research capabilities. If you’re at EDUCAUSE, make sure you stop by our booth, #1121, to see these Cisco Education solutions in action!

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No Limits on Learning

EDUCAUSE 2015 – one of the leading events in higher education – will take place starting on October 27th in Indianapolis, Indiana. The conference gives national education experts a chance to hear from industry leaders and learn about the latest technology developments in higher education.

Here at Cisco we’re excited to return to EDUCAUSE again this year as we explore the new possibilities technology and the digitization of education can bring to colleges and universities. This includes solutions that help students to Learn without Limits.

In the past, learning has been limited by time and geographic constraints. But with the Internet of Everything (IoE), new opportunities are opening up for students to move beyond the limits of traditional education. We’re looking forward to exploring how IoE, cloud, mobility, and collaboration technologies – among many others – are being used to help educators engage with students in new and exciting ways. These new environments will help students learn anytime, anyplace, and on any device.

If you’re attending EDUCAUSE 2015, come visit us at Booth 1302, where we will be showcasing some of our Cisco Education solutions. Joining me at the conference will be:

  • Mary Schlegelmilch, Business Development Manager, Education
  • Tony Morelli, Vice President, SLED East
  • Kim Majerus, Vice President, SLED West

We’re also excited that our friends at the Universityof La Verne will be presenting a session at this year’s event on Thursday, October 29th at 8:00 AM in Meeting Room 140 titled, “The Digital Revolution at University of La Verne.” Here are the presenters: Read More »

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The Not-So-Silent Revolution: The Internet of Everything in Higher Education

Change has come slowly to higher education.  This is understandable given the relative success that the American university system has had in granting four-year degrees that have helped students garner higher long-term earnings.  Regardless, the traditional university system is facing crushing pressure from increasing student loan debt, rising costs, and expectations of hyper-connected students who want to learn anytime, anywhere from any device.

While the MOOC movement raised eyebrows and started people thinking differently about new delivery models, the sort of cataclysmic change some thought would happen with the advent of MOOCs didn’t.  Most institutions, while including some form of virtual learning in their course line-ups, have remained doggedly tied to the traditional, in-person lecture-hall format for the majority of their classes.  Talk about the need for a major revolution.

We believe that the Internet of Everything (IoE) is the catalyst for a revolution that we necessarily need to see in higher education. In fact, I believe that IoE will take the industry by storm.  Successful universities will quickly learn how the IoE can and is helping to create compelling, Connected Learning Experiences for faculty, staff, and students, and then they will begin leveraging this important trend to transform how they’re educating students now and in the future.

IoE is the networked connection of people, process, data, and things and represents the confluence of multiple technology trends: mobility (ubiquitous, high-speed mobile networks, smart devices, and apps); cloud computing, social networks, instant collaboration with anyone, anywhere; data analytics, and finally, an explosion in connected “things,” via inexpensive, intelligent sensors.  IoE brings these elements together with standards-based IP networks, and Cisco projects that it will generate a staggering $19T in value over the next ten years.  Of this, $258B of the IoE value-at-stake will come from solutions for Connected Learning alone.

The network, which is at the heart of IoE, must be stable, scalable, reliable, and capable of handling the increased rate of traffic from the explosion of mobile devices, the use of video, and the implementation of new applications for communications and collaboration.   It must be safe, secure, wired, and wireless, easy to manage and administer, and it must be designed to meet future growth requirements.

A number of universities have embarked on major change initiatives that take advantage of the IoE shift, and they are yielding concrete results: San Jose State University, Duke University, the 4-Virginia Universities, and others.  These institutions are providing ubiquitous wi-fi, access to a world of experts, immersive learning environments, collaborative workspaces, blended learning environments, and a sharing of courses, content, professors, and credit.  They have acknowledged that change is coming and that new technologies are accelerating change.

We are kicking off Educause today in Orlando, and we will undoubtedly be hearing a lot about IoE this week. Come by and visit the team in our booth at #Edu14, and check out this SlideShare to learn more about how IoE is transforming Higher Education.


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