As higher education institutions have worked to address the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic — including lockdown restrictions, financial pressures and the need to deliver online instruction — many have found a silver lining of innovation. In a conversation with EdTech, three experts say the pandemic has provided a new perspective on long-time challenges and, in many cases, spurred creative solutions.
The Northeast Ohio CyberConsortium, launched in 2015 by Case Western Reserve University and the Cleveland Clinic, has grown into a multimember, multi-industry information security analysis organization. In addition to sharing threat intelligence, members engage in peer-to-peer education and support and are developing a pipeline of new cybersecurity talent. The consortium also creates opportunities for members to share resources and leverage IT spending.
As higher education has shifted among remote, in-person and hybrid learning experiences this year, many leaders believe flexible learning environments are here to stay. To that end, Cisco this fall debuted Webex Classrooms, a collaboration platform that can provide learning management system functionality or integrate with an existing LMS. To facilitate on-campus learning, Cisco's DNA Spaces uses network-based location analytics to provide insight into networked devices for a variety of use cases.
On many campuses, openness and independence are among the traditional cornerstones of academic freedom. Yet in the technology-driven environments of today's colleges, particularly at research-intensive institutions, IT leaders must strive to balance that openness with the need to keep data secure. Similarly, colleges must achieve a balance between the emphasis on data-driven instruction and decision-making and the imperative to protect privacy. Automated tools are making it easier to address both aims, even as colleges dramatically scale the amount of data they process.
While many collegiate athletics programs have been forced to go on hold as campuses closed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, esports has been able to carry on — and in some cases, thrive. Because esports is already dependent on technology, there was no need to rethink the core of the model. Adjusting became more about accommodating esports activities from a distributed set of locations as opposed to a single location, such as an esports arena, which many colleges and universities have invested in building as part of their nascent esports programs.