Education

Making Higher Education Future Ready

By November 3, 2016 No Comments

There was a time not too long ago when few students brought their laptops to campus and hooked them up to the college network. Today, one would be hard pressed to find a student who doesn’t tap into the burgeoning ecosystem of smartphones, tablets, cloud storage, processing, and other similar individually owned technologies that have become ubiquitous. In fact, until recently, bring-your-own-device (BYOD) had been the buzzword in education. However, in the recent past, it has rapidly transformed to include more than just devices; it now includes networks, cloud services and much more, so much so that the D in BYOD is now an E for everything.

It’s not just the younger demographic that values speed and the ready availability of communication tools. Staff and faculty too possess multiple devices and are linked to multiple connections as they stay on top of responsibilities like grading papers and communicating with students and their own peer groups. With the flipped classroom model, teachers can take their lectures up a notch with the ability to build more interactivity into their course materials.

Students now prefer reading their course material in a digital format. According to a vital technology survey, nearly three in four students think more technology would improve their educational experience.[1] Bringing devices to the classroom opens up possibilities in learning that couldn’t be imagined earlier. From access to 24/7 virtual classrooms and the ability to work on shared projects to instant unlimited access to a plethora of knowledge from myriad sources, the benefits of Wi-Fi connectivity are many for both students and faculty.

What’s more, personal device domination has benefits for institutions. When students bring their own devices, budgets that had been hitherto been allocated to setting up computer labs and buying desktop computers for classrooms can be rerouted towards more relevant needs, such as increasing wireless density.

Benefits of Using Mobile Apps in Higher Education

There has been a growing trend of using mobile apps in higher education. Not only are these more user friendly, they form a truly effective access point to the always connected demographic by facilitating instant contact.

Every college or university has its own culture and unique character. Colleges can create branded apps based on their specific needs. These apps can then be used for both academic purposes and for as a payment tool for books, fees, food, and so on.

Digitalization Translates into Data Consumption and Security Concerns

Bandwidth is the first to be impacted when the number of devices increases dramatically.

With the inevitability of BYOE on every campus, strategic alterations would have to be made in overhauling the infrastructure and security and fortifying support.

More chances exist for owners of smaller portable devices to lose or misplace them. This makes the device owner vulnerable to identity theft through apps, Bluetooth signals and even via a scan of their likes and dislikes, friend list, etc. Users may store sensitive information or confidential data on their device, the loss of which can harm not just the individual but the institution. The growing trend of BYOE makes it vital for the institutions to look into mobility governance and system security for large-scale mobile-based deployments.

Addressing Growing Needs. Being Future Ready

Connected and mobile experiences are non-negotiable needs for life on campus, and aging infrastructures and dated equipment are unable to handle the ever-increasing demands.

It is imperative to design a campus wireless network that supports and adapts to the ever-changing technological needs of its digital denizens. This era of near-total digitalization has placed clear requirements on the wireless system. It requires ubiquitous coverage, the ability to expand capacity, security and complete real-time support.

[1] https://www.vitalsource.com/press/fifth-annual-vitalsource-wakefield-survey-finds-college-students-want-more-and-better-classroom-technology

Image Credit: bikeriderlondon/Shutterstock.com

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