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#HigherEdThursdays – Meeting the Community College Boom

For the past five years we’ve witnessed a surge in demand for community colleges across the U.S. The reasons for this demand are varied. There are professionals who have been let go from work, there are adult learners who desire new skills and there are traditional students continuing their education in greater numbers.

Much of the growth in enrollment can be contributed to students going online to get degrees. According to Instructional Technology Council, online enrollment is up by over five percent between 2012 and 2013, , and with that growth come several challenges.

Both traditional and online learners demand that education be cost-effective. These students include digital natives who have learned with technology since their infancy, and they want customized education. Standardized instruction across classes is becoming a framework of the past. Read More »

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#HigherEdThursdays: Virtualizing Dual Enrollment

May 8, 2014 at 12:25 pm PST

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: Current Trends and Challenges in Higher Education

April 17, 2014 at 7:46 am PST

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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How Next Generation WLAN Optimizes RoboCup at Bowdoin College

February 19, 2014 at 6:00 am PST

Bowdoin College is a liberal arts college based in the town of Brunswick, Maine. It houses 1839 students in about 100 buildings and offers 33 different majors and 4 minors. The Bowdoin IT Team are pioneering in nature as would be expected from the state whose motto, “Dirigo”, translates to “I lead”; adopting bleeding-edge best-in-class technologies to provide the optimal connected experience for students, faculty, staff and guests. This is counter-balanced with pragmatism in phasing the roll-out of these services.

This next generation pervasive WLAN network enables students to collaborate with each other anywhere on the campus and with the teachers in the classroom. In the previous blog in 2012, we described how Bowdoin upgraded to 3602 Access Points and used the innovative CleanAir technology tie-in with Event Driven Radio Resource Monitoring to optimize WLAN coverage. They also adopted the Cisco Prime and ISE 1.2 for manageability and consistent wired-wireless Policy respectively. In this blog, we will cover more details about the recent upgrade of the Wireless LAN Controller from the previous model WiSM to the new model 5760 and describe highlights of our conversation with Jason and Trevor about the WLAN deployment itself.

bowdoin1 Read More »

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Using Advanced Technology to Build a 21st Century University Experience

Tom Hull at TechConnect

Florida Polytechnic University Vice President and CIO Tom Hull joined Cisco Vice President Pat Finn via TelePresence at the CSN Tech Connection at the College of Southern Nevada on January 15th.

As Florida Polytechnic University’s Chief Information Officer, my job is to ensure the University uses modern and emerging technologies to offer our students experiential learning opportunities. The higher education industry is undergoing a paradigm shift in which technology for teaching and learning is a part of the educational ecosystem and something that students expect. At Florida Poly, we need to use these technologies to give students the best learning experience possible.

Our Vision for the Future

Florida Poly’s vision is to be a bright star in the high-tech corridor we’re building in Central Florida, creating a Silicon Valley-like environment. We’re going to accomplish this vision by building an extremely modern campus (probably the most modern in the United States) with technologically advanced features available to students and faculty. In addition to the features our campus itself will offer, we have applied research, a bright faculty leading advanced programs and higher education partnerships with industry organizations to help us accomplish our mission and vision.

Our university’s architecture will be student-centric, and our technological foundation will be a Florida Poly cloud that includes all emerging technology in the world of higher education. This cloud will be accessible to both students and faculty and will feature a student information system that will provide an easy way for students, faculty and staff to obtain resources. This cloud will also include a virtual library environment that has access to digital databases and research repositories, essentially replacing the traditional library system. Read More »

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