Today the University of Fredericton proudly announced it had successfully completed its first year as Canada’s first online university to exclusively use Cisco WebEx for its courses. This is not only indicative of the growing adoption of video conferencing technology, but also the changing face of education across Canada. Let me explain.
Over the last few years, Cisco has worked with a number of post-secondary institutions on projects that highlight how Canadian schools are transforming their approach to education and providing students with more collaborative, experience-based and smarter learning environments. Sometimes this means providing students with better, more reliable video collaboration tools for online courses, such as the case with UFred.
Other times it means physically constructing new environments for better learning, such as George Brown College’s new Waterfront campus or the new smart buildings at Carleton University. Sustainable building practices, including better control over lighting, ventilation, temperature and other energy-saving features, provide students with a vastly improved learning atmosphere. At the same time, they can benefit from innovative technology such as enhanced wireless connectivity, unparalleled access to research information and subject experts around the world, and multimedia, simulation environments.
Regardless of the solution, this remains the same: technology is transforming the delivery of education in Canada.
A lot of this change is driven by the evolving needs of a new, constantly connected generation embarking on their post-secondary education journey. Cisco’s Connected World Technology Report has charted how intrinsic technology is in the lives of Generation Y and how this has affected their views on work and play. These students are the most tech-savvy group ever. They demand innovation from the institutions where they choose to study. This means better tools but also greater flexibility in when they learn, which is why we see such a rise in schools offering online courses.
This need and desire to transform education in Canada and around the world is another great example of the Internet of Everything: connecting the previously unconnected and bringing together people, process, data, and things to make networked connections more relevant and valuable than ever before.
For our post-secondary institution partners this means new and exciting opportunities to grow and remain at the forefront of education. For students this means a more efficient, more constructive, and frankly, more exciting way to learn that will hopefully inspire them to have a positive impact in the future workforce.
And ultimately, this is something that will benefit all of us. By offering people a means to enrich their lives and give them new opportunities they otherwise wouldn’t have, whether it’s educational, social or economic, we open the doors to numerous possibilities that could transform our society for the better.
Are you excited about how technology is transforming education in Canada? Leave a comment below.