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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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Happy Holidays: The Best of 2011 in One Blog Post

As 2011 comes to a close and 2012 begins, we continue our commitment to partners: to your profitability, to building the best partner programs, and ensuring that Cisco remains at the forefront of technical innovation.

What happened this year? Glad you asked! Watch this one-minute video recap of 2011.

Keep reading for event highlights, news links, replays of broadcasts, and notable quotes from this year. Plus, share your holiday traditions with us!
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Get Ready For Gamification: Announcing Cisco Social Rewards

We are excited to announce the launch of a new program called Cisco Social Rewards! Through gamification, the program is designed to recognize and reward users for their ongoing participation! What is gamification you ask? Gamification is the integration of game mechanics within a marketing campaign, program or tool designed to increase engagement, loyalty, recognition and fun! Sign up for the program via a social connection by clicking on the Join Today banner in the right column of the page and start earning points, badges and a reputation for your activities across the blog site!

Here are just a few activities that you can perform to earn points on the site:

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The Social Soap Box: The Year of Twitter

Twitter recently held its “Come See What We’re Building” Press Conference where it unveiled a new, simpler version of Twitter. While my Cisco blogger credential was not enough to get a press invitation to the event, I was able to attend their Twitter for Marketers Conference where I was joined by other corporate brands such as @Disney, @Starbucks and @Intel. As part of the opener, Twitter CEO Dick Costolo and Co-Founder Jack Dorsey highlighted some of the year’s major events that happened on Twitter first. From the most heartfelt stories like how Twitter connected people affected by the Japan earthquake, to Burberry’s innovative Twitter campaign,  I was reminded why marketers and communicators alike love and care so much about Twitter.

At Cisco, we also have our own milestones and major events made possible by Twitter. Here’s my first attempt at an “info” graphic of Cisco’s Twitter Year in Review:

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Meet Jennifer Halim: The Story of a Cisco Social Media Ambassador

At Cisco, we are focused upon internally and externally sharing social media best practices and lessons learned from individuals who have successfully integrated social media into their day job.  We recently sat down with one such social practitioner, Jennifer Halim, a subject matter expert (SME) on the Customer Support Team, to learn more about how she incorporates social media into her job at Cisco.

Jennifer joined the Cisco Technical Assistance Center (TAC) in 2007 and focuses on security products in Australia. In 2010, she became a Technical Account Manager with ScanSafe, Cisco’s cloud-based web security service. Even after the move, she managed to keep up to date with the technology that she used in her previous role by actively participating on the Cisco Support Community. With over 322,000 registered users and 11 years of history, the Cisco Support Community is a platform on which technical experts and Cisco customers can interact with each other by asking and answering questions in the discussion forums, commenting on blogs, rating videos, and more. While spending an average of one to three hours per day contributing to the discussion forums regarding Cisco Security products, she participates completely out of her own will during after business hours. Through her engagements on this website, Jennifer states that she is constantly learning from other contributors to the community, and she enjoys the satisfaction of being able to help customers by answering their questions and resolving their issues.

Community participants like Jennifer who have responded to customers have contributed to Cisco’s $80 million in annual cost savings that is attributed to the Cisco Support Community and is a conservative estimate based on TAC case deflection. Based on the number of customer cases resolved, Jennifer has been one of the top contributors since she joined the community in 2010.

How does she manage to integrate her Support Community activities into her day job?

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