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Elevating the Learning Experience through Mobile Collaboration

It’s no secret that new technologies are changing the way students learn. The modern classroom is no longer confined to a physical space and students have access to greater educational opportunities than ever before.

Much like video has created new models for learning; mobile video collaboration is extending the boundaries of education even more. Imagine a school where students can instant message a professor from their tablet with an urgent question about tomorrow’s test and get an immediate response, or where a student athlete headed to a competition can join a lecture from their own personal mobile device. By overcoming space and time challenges, students and faculty can connect to the people and resources they need from wherever they are. No longer is education confined to the walls of the classroom. Read More »

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Napkins, Toolboxes, and IT..

What do these three things have in common? For Lone Star College System (LSCS), the fastest growing community college in the U.S., these items helped build a whole new technology foundation.

While at a higher-education conference, CIO of LSCS, Link Alander, and former VP of data center virtualization at Presidio, Steve Kaplan, began hashing out what it would take to deliver the best computing experience—on a napkin. They jotted down all the ways technology could deliver a customizable, optimal, and educational platform to students and faculty.

The vision was a toolbox, not just any one tool: an entire resource pool for professors to contribute to -- and students to pull from -- anytime, on any device, from anywhere.

Click here to read full story.

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Systematic Transformation in Higher Education: The Intersection with Technology in a Journey Toward the Future (Navigating Culture)

March 23, 2013 at 12:34 pm PST

AM73036Part 3 of A Six-Part Series: Transforming Higher Education in the US

This six-part series will focus on transformation of the traditional higher education system in the United States. The Need for Change and  Shared Challenges were the focus of the previous chapters in this series.

From Cisco’s experience with higher education institutions in the U.S., those that are implementing change well are laser-focused on three critical areas: the ability to address questions of culture, to modernize teaching and learning, and to scale and propagate change across multiple, often divided, siloes within their institutions.  Also, these institutions are using technology to manage each area more effectively.

Technology plays a critical role within each of these sectors, and if used wisely and artfully, can help to accelerate innovation and change. The rate and speed at which institutions need to change will never happen without technologies such as a solid core infrastructure, wired and wireless networks that enable ubiquitous connectivity, collaboration tools that provide seamless and robust communications, and new social collaboration platforms that support and extend the interaction of multiple communities, and ultimately, create a federated higher education society.

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Online Learning and MOOCs – passing fads or major game changers?

It is twenty years since Harvard moved into online learning, quickly followed by Rice, MIT – and the Open University. So it is worth asking what is new about Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs)? I think two things are new: First, the scale of the disruption: free learning, for hundreds of thousands of individuals, most of them outside the formal university system. Coursera claims to have 2.4 million students registered to their 200 online courses; these are pretty impressive numbers achieved in a relatively short period of time. Second, the nature of the learning experience: increasingly collaborative, and even peer-led.

But as a driver of real transformation, the impact of MOOCS has been limited, absent a viable business model. And specifically, absent a way in which providers can offer some level of teaching experience, that’s valuable and therefore chargeable to the learner. However, two initiatives we’re familiar with at Cisco suggest this sort of model is now starting to emerge.

The first initiative is the University Of The People. A global university, with 1500 students, remarkably from 135 countries. This is online peer-learning – chat-room technology – providing qualifications in business and technology at just $50 a course. A very affordable model offering mentoring of substantial value from volunteer faculty around the world.

The second initiative is the latest move by Udacity. Udacity as we know has 750000 students in all, 150000 registered to one course, Artificial Intelligence, alone. But as Sebastian Thrun recognizes, Udacity has been looking for a business model until the announcement last month of San Jose State Plus.

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Client Adoption for 802.11ac Wireless Technology

When it comes to the adoption of new technology such as 802.11ac, the industry becomes a farmer’s almanac of predictions when it comes to when and what devices and products will announce 802.11ac support.  Aside from Cisco, who boldly announced support for 802.11ac on the 3600 Access Point for the enterprise, there have been a number of consumer devices such as home routers, bridges, a selection of USB clients and a single gaming oriented laptop that are offering support for the new 802.11ac specification.

With HTC’s announcement of 802.11ac support for their HTC One smartphone, we would expect others to follow suit in the near future, setting the stage for the first series of devices to bring integrated 802.11ac to market sometime in CY13. As these device become available you can expect them to be connecting to your corporate networks as BYOD devices for corporate use. With the devices come the expectations where your end-users are going to be looking for that extra bump in network performance promised by the 802.11ac standard.

Next up, Tablet and notebook devices.

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