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Cloud-based learning for HE

Cloud-based technology has been around for a while, but many institutions were overly attached to their on-site data storage infrastructure and in-person teaching methods. 

The current pandemic, has turned this view upside down, forcing us all to adapt to new systems – this has generally been for the better.

As it happens, there are many advantages for educators to use a cloud approach

  • It’s cheaper. With the cloud you don’t need the costly up-front capital to purchase equipment. You can pay as you consume, and if you change your mind, you can walk away from it. This gives your institution agility and autonomy over your approach.
  • It’s safer. Despite misconceptions about data safety, cloud-based systems are actually safter than on-site hardware. If you concerned about hacking, just know the biggest risk is the human element (written password on paper, forgetting to log out, accidently sharing with others etc). 
  • It’s more versatile. The cloud approach means teachers and lecturers can operate day-to-day, from anywhere in the world. As this becomes the norm, we are suddenly realising how restrictive and clunky previous methods were.
  • It can be outsourced. Building & keeping a team with up-to-date, specialist, knowledge is difficult in-house – outsourcing is key for expert knowledge. It’s quicker, easier and produces better outcomes.

Insights from education

After a difficult start, teaching online is starting to yield unforeseen benefits. As educators become more familiar with technology, they are dramatically improving their teaching practice. Supported by an array of digital solutions, the learning experience has been upgraded.

  • Shy students benefit online, as many have admitted they feel more comfortable asking questions in a virtual environment. Introverts have traditionally not been catered to in this manner before.
  • Access to resources. By using digital approaches, educators and students actually have access to far more resources than in-person learning. Evolving and improving the learning process. This is also cheaper than buying text-books on mass (which also become out of date as the curriculum changes).
  • People are more open to trying. The pandemic has forced us into the digital world, and now we are open to its’ possibilities, this includes trying (and failing) to see what works. Never before would we have had this willingness to change.
  • Data evidence. Whether it’s interactive classwork, attendance monitoring or marketing campaigns, data analysis can give education institutions live updates on how things are performing. This can lead to better and quicker decision-making. Previously, many institutions still relied on paper data (which is easier to lose, longer to analyse, and more likely to become a GDPR issue).

Future directions

While there will be some difficulty to this new approach, the benefits could far outweigh the downsides, if we’re quick to adapt.  

We are currently seeing some really innovate solutions and use of digital technology for those with disabilities. The bar has now been raised, and we must meet this new standard.

  • Visual needs: adjusting font size or colours, and audio reading
  • Hearing needs: Subtitles, live auto-captioning.

These previously niche offerings were rarely available, it’s likely these will be developed further – providing a better experience for students. 

Key learning from 2020

Some Universities are still trying to recreate the in-person experience, online. This doesn’t work. Those who are resistant to change are trying to apply an out-dated model to a new virtual environment. 

Whether using this for teaching, data storage, student recruitment or marketing. The old approach is stale. Moving forward educators will need to be more flexible and digital with their approach.

At Unicom we’re highly knowledgeable about the education sector. For expert advice and support, for your digital marketing campaigns, get in touch with us today.

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