How Cisco Webex Transforms Your Distance Learning Schedule
Did you know the online education market will be worth $350 billion by 2025? A reassuring stat but it doesn’t help with kick starting your distance learning schedule.
This information shows us that the educational industry is changing. People are (or will soon have to be) more comfortable learning online, and businesses are jumping at the opportunity to serve their needs in remote environments.
Cisco, through its Webex productivity tools, is leading the way in online education through its core video conferencing platform and tight ecosystem of education partners.
In this post, we’ll look at the following:
- How Cisco Webex has already helped with distance learning schedules
- 10 Cisco Webex partners and tools to help with distance learning
- How you can immediately benefit from using these tools
How Cisco Webex helps with distance learning schedules
As we move to a world of online learning, you need to figure out how to transmit knowledge to students in a way that’s easy to absorb and scale.
In this digital environment, learning facilities must think about how to teach students in the most clear and efficient way possible.
Though Cisco Webex Teams is often thought of as a business tool, it has changed the way that people work in education too.
For example, The Pennsylvania school district recently used Cisco Webex software and Cisco Meraki hardware to deliver a unique one-to-one digital learning environment for students.
Cisco Webex has the capacity to bring students and teachers together, just like colleagues in a workplace.
With an integrated set of products for messaging, calling, and meetings, Cisco Webex goes beyond basic communications and delivers immersive experiences.
In a classroom setting, Webex offers:
- Virtual classrooms: Students attend lectures remotely, no matter where they are. Webex spaces serve as virtual classrooms where students can collaborate.
- Project-based learning: In Webex spaces, teachers organize students into groups based on educational needs. Everyone can ask questions and receive answers without disrupting the flow of other lessons.
- Cloud sharing: Webex exists in the cloud so students and faculty can answer their spaces at any time, using them to share work and offer feedback.
Webex spaces are further transformed by the use of things like virtual whiteboards, built into the Webex Meeting environment and Webex Teams. These boards allow experts to draw and explain complex ideas, just like they would in a traditional classroom.
Cisco Webex transforming the classroom
Currently, the Cisco collaboration team is working harder than ever to open the benefits of Cisco as a collaborative hub to not just the business world, but the educational environment too.
Part of achieving that goal means working closely with dedicated education partners.
The Cisco Partner ecosystem includes a host of partners, as well as independent software vendors and technology partners.
Working together, these unique teams can deliver a great educational experience to anyone using the Cisco Webex environment.
Let’s walk through 10 of the best partners and tools for starting your distance learning schedule.
Top 10 tools for distance learning
Cisco’s effort to open collaboration tools to the masses has inspired a host of ecosystem partners building within Webex productivity tools to deliver their own solutions.
While distance learning is not a new concept, it’s changed from something that is largely done in rural areas to provide greater access to education or as a gateway to specialized courses to the standard operating procedures for many global education institutions.
Here are just some of the leading tools in the Webex marketplace that are transforming the way that educators and students connect in the remote landscape.
1. Distance learning monitoring with Vyopta
Vyopta provides institutions with visibility into their distance learning programs that help in a number of ways, both in terms of attendance and engagement for compliance reporting, as well as to ensure the institution is delivering a quality distance learning experience.
With Vyopta, K-12 and Higher Education gain deep insights into their distance learning programs like:
- Video usage among students
- Technology growth needs
In addition, institutions are able to monitor and ensure that online learning events meet optimal quality standards including:
- Status of instructor video endpoints
- Quality for audio, video, presentation modes
- Real-time and historical data on class quality
- Status of instructor and student call links
- Troubleshoot call issues for up to 30 days
Kjierstin Layton, Director of SLED at Vyopta recently hosted a webinar on the topic of scaling distance learning with James Hodges of Utah Education and Telehealth Network (UETN) and Dr. Lance Ford.
All are seasoned experts in the distance learning space and had a great deal to share about how COVID-19 has changed the needs of the learning community.
One area of particular interest was the lack of internet access faced by many of the students with distance learning as their only option for the remainder of the school year in many places.
“The ability to measure the user experience is critical now more than ever.”Kjierstin Layton, Director of SLED at Vyopta
With monitoring and analytics provided by Vyopta, areas without internet access could be identified and alternate strategies put in place to support those students. In one instance, Wi-Fi enabled school buses were deployed to serve as hotspots.
If you are an educational institution in need of deeper insights into your distance learning program, Vyopta offers a free trial of its monitoring and analytics tool.
2. Collaborate with external contacts via Mio
If you’ve chosen Webex Teams for collaboration, you’re in safe hands. You can chat with colleagues – and even external guests that use the same platform.
But, what happens when you need to chat with external contacts that don’t use Webex Teams?
Historically, you’d revert to email, or track that person down. Without the luxury of being able to walk down the hall or cross-campus, the latter is removed here.
Reverting to email is, well, historical. Archaic even. If you’re now spending your collaboration time in Webex Teams, the chances are you’ve realized the benefits of real-time and asynchronous communications. The chances are that your external contacts have realized this too.
Email will always serve a purpose. But, it no longer needs to be a hindrance.
If you spend your collaboration time in Webex Teams, stay there. Using Mio, you can create a universal channel between your Webex space and your contacts Microsoft Teams channel. The same is possible with Slack.
You stay in Webex. They stay in Microsoft Teams or Slack.
Let’s say you’re prepping a seminar. You have a scientist who uses Webex Teams for presentations, but a consultant who prefers Microsoft Teams. How will you keep everyone connected?
- Force students to log into different apps each time they need to interact with an educator.
- Ask your educators to use different tech, and risk lessons being confusing.
- Find a complicated workaround where you all use your own app.
With Mio, you don’t have to navigate those scenarios. You and your students and educators all communicate using your favorite tools. No compromise necessary.
You can manage your faculty without leaving Webex Teams. That includes not just sending messages, but editing, deleting, threading, and even GIFs and file sharing.
You can install your first three (free) universal channels here.
3. Digital whiteboards for distance learning with Appspace
Sometimes you need to go beyond audio and instant messaging to deliver the best learning experience. Maybe you need access to a whiteboard you can share with your team, or presentation software?
A traditional university offering distance learning experiences for external academics might want to use signage elements and digital whiteboards for both in-house and remote students. In a legacy environment, this would mean taking pictures of whiteboards and putting them on the cloud for remote learners to use.
With Cisco Webex and Appspace, there’s an alternative.
Appspace integrates with Cisco endpoints, room kits, and whiteboards to help schools share in-classroom experiences with people who can’t visit the school.
- Digital signage and video walls.
- Room scheduling technology.
- Collaboration displays.
You can install Appsp ace into your school at the touch of a button, create content, and push it across a series of displays remotely.
This means internal and external students get the same seamless educational experience.
You can even share scrolling signage from inside a school with people overseas using a digital playlist. Appspace launched a free Coronavirus playlist for signage on Webex devices as part of the COVID-19 outbreak.
For teachers that need to plan webinars and broadcasts in a lecture hall environment for distance students, Appspace also provides booking and reservation technology. Teachers can set up automated reminders for their overseas students to let them know when homework and projects are due.
With AppSpace, you can save time by creating immersive and cohesive educational experiences for their students, wherever they are.
4. Data-driven remote campuses with Involvio
Involvio concentrates on revolutionizing how colleges explore the student experience. According to Ari Winkleman, the CEO and founder of Involvio, the company is focused on “creating a data-driven campus”.
Involvio achieves this goal by providing a Remote Campus kit. The Remote Campus is available at a discounted rate for Cisco customers, and provides a rich community environment through Cisco technology, where students can stay connected with their peers, and teachers.
Available through the Cisco Webex Education connector, the Remote Campus gives information to educators about each individual student, so that they can provide a more relevant learning experience.
- Personalized planners with unique to-do lists and deadlines to help students stay on top of their projects.
- Easy 1:1 video calling and meetings through Webex Meetings technology.
- Messaging and file sharing through Cisco Webex Teams, enhanced with privacy and compliance in mind.
- Booking and office hours built-in with an included calendaring experience.
- Real-time collaboration with white-boarding and extra features like automated tools for tracking attendance.
From roll-call technology that helps you see which of your students are most engaged with your classes, to in-depth student and teacher data protection, Involvio has a lot to offer. You can even access full reports to show them how engagement and attendance are changing from one week to the next.
Involvio helps you deliver consistent and engaging experiences to students who are stepping into the virtual world. With a dedicated resources environment, it’s easy to ensure students have the information they need to complete their tasks.
5. One-touch meetings with Approved Contact
One of the primary focus points of Cisco’s strategy to deliver better distance learning is opening the door to simple one-touch meeting experiences. Cisco Webex believes launching a digital lecture or discussing a class with a student should be as quick and easy as possible.
However, if a learning facility needs to communicate with students from different parts of the world at once, it can be difficult to find a time when everyone is available. That’s where Approved Contact comes in. This Cisco Webex partner integrates with leading calendaring solutions, like Office 365 and Google Calendar. The result is an easy scheduling experience for all contacts.
- Integrated voice response for meeting scheduling.
- Visual calendar comparisons with the Approved Contact bot.
- Communication and collaboration within Webex.
- Sync and archive crucial calendar and meeting data.
You can access information on students and their available times, while students can book meeting slots with specific educators to get one-on-one help.
Approved Contact has also developed integrations within Cisco Webex Teams using APIs. This means students can ask the Approved Contact bot when a teacher is free when they want to book a one-on-one meeting.
6. Distance learning compliance via Theta Lake
Theta Lake is a purpose-built compliance and supervision suite that works alongside the Cisco Webex portfolio. Enterprise companies aren’t the only groups that need to keep an eye on the security of their collaborative strategies. Schools and universities need safety too.
Theta Lake addresses the security, privacy, and compliance concerns of distance education. The company wants to make sure that students and faculty members are protected, whether they’re learning on the web, or in person.
Currently available with a 3-month free trial to help remote educators, Theta Lake provides a full compliance suite for Webex Teams.
- A full archive retention policy management system for storing documents.
- 500GB free storage with simple add-ons for Webex Meetings and Teams.
- A compliant storage system hosted in SOC2 Type 2 certified data centers.
- Meta-data searching with full playback for voice, video, and text meetings.
- Simple upgrades, individual recording supervision, data exportation, and additional storage.
With Theta Lake for the Cisco Webex environment, you capture conversations with students and use information to update their lesson plans and strategies. You can also store lesson information using secure data centers and track down crucial information from lessons too.
The AI-based supervision technology built into Theta Lake also ensures that only approved individuals can access the information in your digital environment.
Theta Lake’s purpose-built compliance product comes with tools for the automatic detection of regulatory risks, and extensive archiving.
As a Cisco Webex partner, Theta Lake is working to address standards like MiFID II, FINRA, and SEC for educational institutions. The compliant collaboration archive module makes archiving voice, video, chat, and content as easy as possible.
7. Keep distance learning secure with Smarsh
After its merger with Actiance, Smash created a Cisco solution focused on compliance and security. The app captures information and activities in Cisco Webex Teams in near real-time.
This makes it easy for you to retain important data, archive lessons, and even stay compliant with educational governance requirements. The high-speed data capture capabilities from Smarsh allows educational facilities to get a real-time overview of how data is being preserved and protected in a digital landscape.
Smarsh believes that Cisco Webex Teams is already one of the most secure and reliable cloud collaboration tools on the web today. However, Smarsh provides extra support for customers that require things like context-preserved discovery, cloud archiving, and real-time governance.
You can access Smarsh as an integration for Cisco Webex Teams. Once the technology is installed, educators will access:
- Near real-time data capture abilities across all Cisco Webex Teams content.
- Contextual snapshots for data preservation as conversations happen in Webex Teams.
- Full fidelity and contextual replay of Cisco Teams experiences.
When security and compliance are crucial to protecting your students, Smarsh provides an extra layer of support.
You can even use Smash to create training and webinar sessions for new teachers joining a team. Contextual replays of previous lessons help new educators to see how they continually improve sessions.
8. Integrate your LMS with Cisco Webex via CirQLive
CirQLive allows schools to integrate their Cisco Webex suite with their LMS (Learning Management System).
Through CirQLive MEETS, you can enhance the Cisco Webex Meetings suite and tap into important information about student work and collaboration. Modules in the service include attendance records, private meeting scheduling, and lesson scheduling.
Integrating CirQlive MEETS into your CiscoWebex experience is as simple as clicking a button on the Cisco Webex app hub.
Once the solution is installed, you can unlock features like:
- Scheduling meetings with individual students.
- Creating group learning sessions.
- Organizing and managing recorded Webex sessions.
- Organize and view accurate attendance records.
- Implement office hour modules for private tutoring or counseling meetings.
- Personalized notifications with personal calendar synchronization.
CirQLive helps you access a better connection between collaboration tools and your LMS. This way, you can track accurate data about student engagements, and book more efficient sessions between teachers and students.
CirQLive MEETS also provides access to analytics and data that highlight the adoption rate of online learning programs. You can see which of your students are using which learning services the most.
9. Distance learning workflows with Flow.io
Flow.io is an end-to-end integration service for educators using Cisco Webex.
You can use the connectors within Flow.io to link various products, services, and devices, for a more manageable workflow. The result is countless options to collaborate better and gather in-depth data from your online learning environment.
Schooling facilities can use Flow.io to build bots that automate crucial processes, like arranging meetings with students or setting deadline reminders for tasks. There’s also the option to connect the digital and physical world with reminders and notifications sent to in-school devices and signage.
The end-to-end integration suite from Flow means you can automate entire workflows in minutes using a simple drag-and-drop interface.
For example, you can:
- Design bots that transform Cisco Webex Teams into your hub for learning.
- Build high-level demos and tutorials that show other teachers and students how to make the most of new technology.
- Connect the digital and physical world so you can send content from your in-school devices to people tuning in over the internet.
Flow.io helps you connect aspects of your online learning environment together in one space, so you can keep track of what’s happening.
10. Record distance learning sessions with Rec.VC
The Rec.VC application makes it easy and affordable for video conferencing teams to record and live-stream video calls and meetings. This service offers a quick and simple way for today’s educators to re-issue lessons and lectures whenever students are available.
You can even record a week’s worth of lessons in advance, and let your students access them whenever they choose.
Features of Rec.VC include:
- High-quality anytime, anywhere rapid playback and downloading.
- Video conferencing recording support for Cisco, Pexip, and Skype for Business.
- One click access that’s easy to use for all educators.
- Integration with your client and MCU for better security and compliance.
- 100% white-labelling, so you can add your educational facility’s brand to the recordings.
Whether you need to record lessons for training purposes, or you just want a way of sharing your classes with the students that miss them, Rec.VC can help. There’s even a free trial available so you can test the technology first.
Use the Cisco Webex ecosystem to create your distance learning schedule
By using Cisco Webex, and the extended partner ecosystem, you are one step closer executing the perfect distance learning schedule.
If you’re not already using Webex Teams for online collaboration, see it in action here.
For more information on any of the apps featured, and to take your Webex experience to the next level, use the links below:
Continue Reading: Will these 35 Webex Teams Integrations Transform your Business?