Higher education is poised to disrupt and transform the educational experience by leveraging blended learning to drive student outcomes, equity, and accessibility. How prepared is your campus network?
For years, traditional, synchronous, and asynchronous learning modalities have been conceived of in discrete buckets. The concept of remote learning has been plodding along as a cool idea or convenient add-on for schools with the time and resources to think about it. It's been far from a critical need. Until now.
For small to midsized colleges and universities looking to compete with larger land-grant institutions for students and to attract, retain, and graduate today's digital-native students, enhancing traditional learning with online modalities is the key.
Align Technology to Pedagogy
In 2020, Apogee analyzed 491 college and university strategic plans to understand the state of strategic planning in the pre-pandemic world. We found that the industry is not technologically prepared to shift to blended learning despite schools of every size seeking to make that shift.
Only 66 percent of campuses explicitly called out technology initiatives in their strategic plans. While schools increased pedagogical initiatives from 76 percent to 84 percent over five years, technology initiatives dropped from 71 percent to 64 percent over the same period.Footnote1 Our data suggests that schools took their foot off the gas and may have found themselves technologically unprepared for the emergency shift to remote learning during the pandemic or unready to respond to the demand for improved equity in higher education that blended, multimodal learning models can deliver.
Emory and Henry Put Blended Modalities to Use
Apogee customer Emory and Henry in Virginia is putting blended-learning concepts to use. Through a partnership with a local health sciences center, Emory and Henry created an "internship-plus" model to make it easier for working health care professionals to receive more education and training without leaving their current jobs. Under the model, a full-time nurse can pursue additional study or training to enhance their career (e.g., becoming a specialized nurse anesthetist with a higher pay grade) or to achieve other career goals. The school's interactive curriculum allows working professionals to participate between shifts and, as the school sits just a few miles down the road from the health sciences center, attend in person when their schedules permit. Enrollment at Emory and Henry has since skyrocketed, and Apogee manages the campus network to ensure the school can focus on these types of strategic initiatives.
Modernize Your Campus Network Now
While the technology underpinnings of asynchronous learning are simpler to manage, synchronous learning is intricately linked to the performance of your campus' Wi-Fi network.
Imagine a student enjoying an incredible experience from your institution's synchronous learning platform, only to see it fall apart the first time your Wi-Fi cuts out during a livestream. It's impossible to envision a future in which a ten or even a five-year-old network infrastructure will get the job done.
Take a closer look at your network's existing ability to scale and provide the reliable performance Gen Z demands. Also, look at whether you're able to predict your budgetary requirements in this new environment. Outsourcing your network to a higher education specialist can help manage your uptime, availability, and support so you can stay focused on the specific modalities and delivery mechanisms that are critical to students' user experiences. As these concepts and technologies aren't yet fully refined, it's important for your time and energy to be focused there. You have no time to waste.
- "The State of Higher Ed Strategic Technology Planning," Apogee (website), accessed March 8, 2021. Jump back to footnote 1 in the text.
Teresa de Onis is the VP of Marketing at Apogee.
© 2021 Apogee.