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Four Ways Social Software Collaboration Technology Can Change Higher Education

New media and collaboration technologies have the potential to transform higher education in terms of the classroom, the learning process, the relationship between students and instructors, and how institutions conduct academic research. While much of the industry discussion revolves around use of consumer tools and social network sites like Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn, Cisco’s educational customers also see tremendous opportunity to increase student engagement and drive their own institutional strategies with “enterprise class” social software as well.

Since Cisco first announced Quad, we have had conversations with dozens of colleges and universities regarding the role enterprise social software and Cisco Quad can play in transforming education. Cisco Quad is an enterprise collaboration platform that brings people together to share ideas and content, collaborate on projects, and interact using chat, voice or video, regardless of where people are located.

Below, we’ve outlined four ways in which educational institutions are telling us enterprise social software is helping, or can transform the way learning, research, and academic advisement is crafted, delivered and consumed:

1. The 24/7 interactive classroom: Instructors often struggle to deliver a collaborative environment for their students that is secure and supports multiple access methods such as mobile.  Technology like Quad can enable students to interact in a secure, policy-based manner that extends the classroom conversation beyond physical walls. Courses partially or wholly targeted at off-campus students can similarly benefit from enhancing the class-like experience for remote students. For example, at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, the cross country MBA students based in the US, England, India and other countries are using Quad to create virtual working groups, find people with common interests, share files or videos with other students working on similar projects and instantly start video conferences or chat sessions. Quad provides students with the ability to interact, ask questions and share ideas with professors/faculty/tutorial assistants anytime, as opposed to only during fixed faculty office hours. It can also drive improved accountability on team projects, as content and comments are tracked in activity feeds and in project communities by both participating students and faculty leads.

2. Serendipitous Research: Quad contains several features, such as an activity feed that compiles microblog posts from students and staff and allows a snapshot view of a person’s current activities. These dynamic updating functionalities can facilitate broader cross-departmental collaboration, for students and researchers alike. Security features ensure that research that needs to be confidential is shared in a secure and safe manner.  As researchers update their statuses with exciting discoveries or frustrating problems, or create posts, upload videos or otherwise document their work, this content becomes accessible to hundreds of fellow university researchers through activity feeds and searches, making it possible for providential inter-disciplinary connections to be made and new insights to be generated. Read More »

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Virtual Velocity Broadcast Recap: Tips and Tricks for Leveraging LinkedIn for Business

October 21, 2011 at 11:18 am PST

Fun LinkedIn Facts:

  • LinkedIn operates the world’s largest professional network on the Internet with more than 120 million members in over 200 countries and territories.
  • Professionals are signing up to join LinkedIn at a rate that is faster than two new members per second.
  • LinkedIn counts executives from all 2011 Fortune 500 companies as members; its corporate hiring solutions are used by 75 of the Fortune 100 companies.

With statistics as impressive as those, can your company afford not to be utilizing LinkedIn in its marketing strategy?

I’ll admit, LinkedIn is not a service that I check several times a day like I do other social media sites. But after sitting in on our latest Virtual Partner Velocity broadcast, which fellow Channels blogger Alex Krasne hosted and moderated, I think I’ll be changing my social media tune.

During this informative broadcast, guest speaker Heather Margolis, Channel Maven Consulting President and Founder and Everything Channel contributor shared tips on how to use LinkedIn to brand yourself online, increase your network, engage with prospects, drive marketing tactics, and build your thought leadership platform.

She gave key pointers on simple things you can do today to spruce up your LinkedIn profile and how to correctly use the features the powerful platform has to offer. Then, Heather answered questions that our audience tweeted in during the broadcast.

Couldn’t tune in to the broadcast? The video replay is available now.
The replay is available on the Partner Velocity site. Look for Heather Margolis in the list of events and click “View replay” to access the On Demand broadcast.After you watch the replay, complete the event survey on the Partner Velocity site to be entered into a sweepstakes to win a social media assessment and consulting from Channel Maven Consulting (US $1800 value).

After Heather presented, we took questions the audience submitted. Keep reading to check out the useful advice Heather had. Read More »

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10 LinkedIn Groups Lessons Learned

October 17, 2011 at 2:30 pm PST

In the B2B world, LinkedIn offers marketers a wide array of different resources that they can use to enhance their social media efforts. A vast majority of people use LinkedIn as a viable platform for uncovering business information. Due to the nature of the site, on LinkedIn people are more inclined to provide detailed professional information than on Facebook or Twitter. You, as the marketer, have the advantage of leveraging this very rich profile data to target your messages to people on a very specific basis! Essentially, LinkedIn allows you to engage with a very particular target niche population that is strictly relevant to your core business needs.

Did you know that LinkedIn Groups is one of the most widely used activities on LinkedIn with over one million different groups (Source: LinkedIn Groups Directory)? Specifically for B2B companies, people may use professional interest groups to share knowledge and find answers to tough questions. A regular LinkedIn user, David Deans, Digital Marketing Manager in Cisco’s Service Provider organization, shared some of his experiences to make the most of LinkedIn Groups participation. These best practices will surely take your own social media efforts to the next level, so read on to learn more. 

Read More »

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Manufacturing Social Media

October 10, 2011 at 12:59 pm PST

Manufacturing Social Media

In 2011, only 30 percent of global manufacturing companies plan to increase spending on social media and community marketing, according to a March report from Forrester Research titled Bigger B2B Marketing Budgets Come With Great Expectations. That compares with 53 percent of pharmaceutical companies and 50 percent of business and professional services companies.

At Cisco, we’re leading the way to change all that. Also, you may have noticed that Cisco manufacturing also has a presence in other social media outlets, but you may not know how or if they are linked together – or even if they are part of the same effort. To that end, I wrote this blog to describe and link to all of our social media efforts in one place.

Blog

You’re reading it right now… Read More »

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Here be Dragons

October 5, 2011 at 3:07 pm PST

Hic Sunt Dracones

Centuries ago, medieval mapmakers used to draw dragons and other mythological creatures on maps to indicate areas that were uncharted, and therefore potentially dangerous. One particular map, the Hunt-Lenox Globe, contains the phrase: “HC SVNT DRACONES,” Latin for “here are dragons.”

When examining social media and the potential effect it can have on one’s professional and personal landscape, I sometimes feel that all social media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. should, somewhere near the copyright, contain the phrase “here be dragons.”

The amateur Art Historian in me would also like to see a beautiful image like the one above accompany the warning, too, but that’s less important.

Potentially Dangerous

For all its wonders, Social Media can be a dangerous thing. Read More »

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