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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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Cybersecurity 101: Assessing the Threat & Mitigating Cyber Risks in Higher Education

Cybersecurity threats in the higher education community continue to rise at an alarming rate. Poor security strategies and the need for open learning environments make securing these institutions an even harder problem to solve. It is no longer a matter of whether or not you will be hacked, rather when. Higher education leaders are recognizing the need for a cybersecurity strategy that encompasses responsibility across the institution, from the boardroom to the classroom.

Join The Chertoff Group and Cisco on June 24th with a panel of higher education security experts to learn about:

  • The current higher education threat landscape
  • Trends and observations in higher education cyber threats
  • Methodologies on threat assessment
  • How to identify your unique areas of vulnerability
  • Best practices for enterprise risk management

We have convened an esteemed panel of subject matter experts to discuss the cyber risk confronting higher education today, including:

  • Pat Hogan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, University of VA
  • Brian J. Tillett,  Principal and Director,  Cisco Cybersecurity Practice
  • Michael A. Wertheimer,  Former Director of Research, National Security Agency

Please be sure to attend the webcast where the panel will share their experiences and insights as well as answer questions. Register now and join us on June 24th to understand the current threat landscape your institution is facing and how to build a comprehensive security strategy to mitigate your risk.

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Why We Need Diverse Perspectives in IoT – Experience from the University of Wisconsin-Madison IoT Lab

We need to create more effective mechanisms for attracting and engaging a diverse group of students in technology.  In my work as an educator and collaborator with leading companies in a variety of industries, I have noticed a trend: that including women, minorities, and those pursuing non-STEM disciplines in Internet of Things (IoT) technology-related learning is a critical issue that needs to be addressed to yield the greatest benefit from IoT.  I am personally very passionate about this topic.

IoT-800x800-ImgWhen we launched the University of Wisconsin-Madison, our Internet of Things (IoT) Lab in February 2014, one of our primary objectives was to provide students unique interdisciplinary learning and innovation experiences with IoT technologies. The IoT Lab is not associated with any course – the students who are participating in the IoT Lab are doing so because they are intrigued by and excited about IoT technologies and potential applications. This hub also serves as a campus technology sand-box and innovation community where students from diverse disciplines come together and engage in fun, social, collaborative learning and hands-on experimentation.

The IoT Lab has adopted a novel approach for successfully engaging students.  It has fostered participation by dozens of undergraduate and graduate students (a large fraction being women) representing a range of disciplines including not only engineering and computer science, but also other “non-technical” disciplines such as business, human ecology (retailing and consumer sciences), nursing, economics, journalism and mass communications, mathematics, physics, statistics, and philosophy.

There are several key insights that we have gained through our experience in engaging students with IoT.  Here are two: Read More »

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In Education, The Internet of Everything is Really a Thing

When talking about whether or not something is important in modern-day life, my Millennial sons often ask, “Is that really a thing?”  For example, renting a dog on Craigslist, is that a thing?

I’m here to tell you that the Internet of Everything (IoE) is really a thing in Education, and the use cases for IoE are bound only by our imaginations.  Imagine facial-recognition software for online courses that will be able to monitor and determine student engagement and provide that feedback to teachers.

Andrew Barbour in his eCampus News article, “How to prepare for everything,” discusses in great detail how the Internet of Things and the Internet of Everything is helping colleges and universities to decrease costs, increase efficiency, and improve student outcomes.

Barbour explores the importance of creating the right foundation to support the Internet of Everything, which is the integration of people, process, data, and things to make things intelligent.  And, he shows that IoE is already here.  Read the full story here.

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