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What will higher education look like in 2020?

Gary Newbold Vice President, Asia-Pacific and Japan of Extreme Networks | Feb. 5, 2015
Universities who partner with network vendors who can help lead their digital transformation will have a strong advantage.

Era of a global student
To make it easier for visiting students and faculty to access the network and Internet when they are at other schools, more campuses worldwide will be connected by eduroam. The eduroam system enables visitors at participating campuses to use their home-campus credentials to log onto the network.

Eventually, Student Retention Systems -- which are already helping some colleges identify students who are at risk of failing or leaving the school-- will improve and gain more widespread usage. These systems will become a vital part of the student dashboard available to advisers and professors. In the future, network analytics is also expected to be used to compare student study patterns with those of successful students and provide alerts whenever problems are discovered. Such tools will help reduce student attrition, increase student graduation rates, and help with fundraising.

Learning 2020 and beyond
By 2020 learning will take place literally throughout the campus. The look of classrooms will continue to evolve and may not be recognisable by 2014 standards. The emphasis will be on flexibility and configurability, enabled by pervasive wireless. Content will be displayable on devices ranging from wireless panels and projectors to personal and wearable devices includingGoogle Glass and 3D full immersion virtual reality displays. Real-time digital content including video will be constantly sharable among global classrooms worldwide.

University IT departments can ensure they are prepared for this future by building flexible, scalable, open standards-based network infrastructure.

To be future-proof, the infrastructure must be capable of providing reliable, high density Wi-Fi and should provide comprehensive application usage analytics. Network coverage has already been extended to athletic facilities and sports stadiums to enhance the student athlete and fan experience. In the future wearable athletic sensors will provide data to athletic trainers and coaches. As the year 2020 approaches, universities who partner with network vendors who can help lead their digital transformation will have a strong advantage.


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