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Hybrid cloud: ideal launch pad for learning management systems

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David Heyns - Group ITaaS – Education, Dimension Data

David Heyns – Group ITaaS – Education, Dimension Data

Institutions of higher education find themselves on a frontier for which thousands of years of education traditions have not prepared them

 

The scope and scale of institutions has been immeasurably extended beyond the physical campus by the universal uptake of digital, mobile, virtual, and cloud technologies.

The positives are that the institutions have entirely new teaching and research options – and, at last, the means to rapidly and exponentially expand their student base.

Taking control

The challenges, however, are all about management – of the opportunities and of the actual teaching tools and methodologies. Managing a class of students and or a body of teaching staff based on campus is very different from designing, implementing, and managing learning and teaching systems that straddle the borders of the campus, cross multiple campuses or geographies, or provide massive online, open courses in tandem with individualised computer based or computer assisted tutoring.

Also, the opportunities for collaborative education, either in concert with similar institutions or with third party content providers, call for a style of management of people and processes with which most institutions are not familiar. In order to deliver a cohesive, comprehensive, coordinated learning experience across distances and institution formats, institutions need extended-reach learning management systems (LMSs).

 

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LMSs enable the combining of on- and off-campus facilities, the use of online functionality that is supported by a blend of instructor-led and self-paced, self selected curricula, and the ability for students to self-register and collaborate.

However, the flexibility and scalability such systems need in order to operate optimally are deliverable only via the cloud.

 

Eliminating impediments

The cloud affordably and easily provides general accessibility by any method and from any location to any type of content sources and formats. It puts at an institution’s disposal big data capabilities that provide analytics related to student assessment and engagement, feedback on instruction, stakeholder collaboration, programme content evaluation, and delivery methods.

Specifically, a hybrid cloud enables linking of cloud resources with on-premise infrastructures, applications, and services – or, the combination of multiple cloud systems from different providers.

The cloud also makes possible the enforcement of content security policies that protect both instructional content and student identities, facilitating the meeting of regional, data sovereignty obligations.

 

The stakes are high

Today, the future of higher education institutions rides on their cloud platform’s performance, availability, security, and customisation capabilities. It’s new territory for most higher education institutions and, therefore, has the potential to distract leadership, students, and teachers from their main objective: education. So, it is essential to partner with an experienced and knowledgeable cloud service provider with a track record in education in general and the implementation of LMSs in particular.

To find out how to make an LSM work for your institution, read Part 1 and Part 2 of our latest thinking “New Higher Education Teaching Models Demand Innovation in Learning”

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