What is a campus?
A hub for student activity. A place of learning. A center of research and innovation. A home for students away from home for the first time. A workplace for faculty and staff.
When we think of the campus, we think of a physical location and its parts: the library, residential living, a student union, research facilities, labs, the campus green, and classrooms. But what if we were to think about the campus differently?
Over the course of the last year, the role of the campus has changed significantly – moreover, it has shifted from being a physical location to a digital and hybrid one. Students commune via collaboration technologies. Professors hold office hours in digital spaces. Administrators provide services like career centers and mental health services through virtual means.
As we look to the new year and universities around the world prepare to return to campus, 2021 dawns with new possibilities for what that campus can be.
The next campus is …
Hybrid and flexible
Above all, the next campus is hybrid. Prior to 2020, colleges and universities around the world had started to offer distance learning and invest in the technologies necessary to provide remote course offerings. COVID-19 accelerated this trend dramatically. In the future, students will expect the choice to attend courses and access university services through in-person, remote, and hybrid environments. Not only will these hybrid learning environments provide more personalized learning offerings for students, but they will also provide greater flexibility and access for students from diverse geographic and economic backgrounds.
The benefits of a hybrid campus are not limited to students. Faculty and administration will benefit from the flexibility of remote work offerings. Professors will be able to choose how they teach best, and develop new ways to engage with students and provide innovative learning experiences. Universities can assess capacity needs and space utilization, then scale investment in physical infrastructure accordingly. Researchers can engage with other researchers from around the world to solve the world’s most pressing challenges.
Where to Start
✅ Assess your institution’s collaboration technology.
✅ See how you can update classrooms to be inclusive for virtual learners.
✅ Integrate your Learning Management System with your collaboration technology of choice.
✅ Assess how comfortable your faculty and staff are with collaboration technology and provide development opportunities.
Safe and secure
When we think about the campus, we have to think about both safety and security.
Today, in the face of a global pandemic, student and faculty health and well-being are more important than ever. Investments in smart spaces that can monitor density and provide location services and analytics are crucial to build student and faculty trust in the institution, and to ensure social distancing and space requirements are met. Collaboration technologies such as Cisco Webex and the Cisco Webex Board enable professors to continue teaching however and wherever they are most comfortable – be it in the classroom or from home. These technologies enable students to attend courses both in-person and remotely. As students face new physical and mental health challenges, secure collaboration technology also powers student health services to reach students wherever they may be with tools like telehealth and virtual care.
With student and faculty devices more distributed across geographic spaces, and less centralized to the physical campus, network, endpoint, and device security is critical. For a more secure tomorrow, campuses need to invest today in technologies that can detect network traffic anomalies and extend data protections and monitoring – no matter where services and courses are being provided. Multi-factor authentication like Cisco Duo allows universities to maintain security in a decentralized environment, while making it easy for students to access the resources and applications they need to learn.
Where to Start
✅ Understand your security landscape: What are you doing well? What could you improve?
✅ Gain an understanding of current space utilization using tools like Wi-Fi location-based services and Webex meeting room analytics