This post comes from Marissa Liu, a collaboration product marketing specialist at Cisco. As a recent graduate of The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, she has seen firsthand the evolution of digital education and is optimistic about its future.

Whether you’re in fourth grade or grad school, collaborating on group projects for a class can be a real hassle. You have to plan where and when to meet with your classmates, decide how to divide the work, and figure out how to track progress, deliverables, and deadlines. These days, both students and instructors are constantly on the move — and usually have a million things on their minds. They want the tools they use to be easy to access, quick to set up, and simple to use.

In surveys from Ovum and the National Center for Education Statistics, researchers found that:

  • 78% of students agree that technology contributes to the successful completion of courses.
  • 49% of institutions rate increased operating efficiency as a first or second priority.
  • 46% of students are more actively involved in courses that use technology.

Collaboration shouldn’t have to be hard. Schools at all levels are finding that collaboration technology can help students and teachers connect -– whether for group projects, online lectures and coursework, or spontaneous ad-hoc sessions. With the Cisco Digital Education Platform (DEP), institutions can provide a secure and seamless integration of collaboration technology including Cisco WebEx and Cisco Spark with other learning-management systems (LMSs) to ensure their students and faculty are able to do their best work.


With the world becoming increasingly digital, it’s easier than ever to collaborate with people globally. For example, California’s San Jose State University is using Cisco WebEx to partner with universities around the world to foster curriculum development and global learning through video conferencing. Embracing a digital learning environment allows universities like SJSU to:

  • Extend reach to new student populations by offering online classes
  • Bring in more expert instructors from anywhere around the world via video
  • Collaborate with other schools around the world

Video allows you to have face-to-face interaction with your peers, even if you’re in different locations. It allows you to see emotions and reactions, something that is hard to pick up through pure audio. Using video in your meetings also helps you build personal trust and closer connections with your students, instructors, and peers.

Digital education doesn’t take away the importance of personal interaction. On the contrary, it reinforces the necessity of the human element in education. Learning requires understanding perspectives from different points of view, and with collaborative technology, students can practice that in real life from their peers. Collaboration should be a natural and easy component of education, and that’s something that Cisco is actively driving with our innovations.

Learn more about Cisco solutions for education:
Cisco Digital Education Platform
Education Industry Solutions
Cisco WebEx



Kim Austin

No Longer with Cisco