Ask any average person on the street about the issues in K-12 education, and it’s likely they’ll have an opinion, whether it’s about funding, teachers, or curriculum. But ask about the challenges facing higher education and chances are, they’ll have less to say. This does not mean post-secondary education’s problems are any less pressing, however. Higher education holds the key to workforce development, professional credentialing, and, on a grander scale, the furthering of human knowledge. And yet, institutions of higher education across the world are dealing with budget strains and identity crises in the face of shifting markets and ongoing questions about access and relevancy. Administrations are looking for ways to increase efficiency while engaging 21 becomes increasingly digitized, security is also a growing concern for students and faculty alike.
“What all share in common is the opening up of unprecedented amounts of knowledge to virtually anyone in the world.”
One factor playing a role in the higher education paradigm shift is the widely-discussed Massive Open Online Course (MOOC). MOOCs are essentially course material uploaded to the Internet for anyone around the world to access. Some originate from universities, some do not. Some are free, some are not. Some include interactive coursework, group projects and quizzes, some are simply series of video-recorded lectures. What all share in common is the opening up of unprecedented amounts of knowledge to virtually anyone in the world.
Hand-in-hand with the development of MOOCs, a growing number of universities are offering online coursework to students currently enrolled in their brick-and-mortar campuses, as part of a trend to encourage blended learning at the tertiary levels of education. Blended learning is essentially the mixing of in-person and online learning, often with students directing their own learning choices.
University-level students today are digital natives—they’re more fluent in digital devices and tasks than any previous generation. More and more students come to campus with smartphones and tablets, constantly connected and interacting with the world at large in a sphere once considered the “ivory tower.” Rather than banning these devices, pioneering universities have found success in engaging students by leveraging mobile technologies to enhance the learning experience. Read more here about how Samsung worked with the University of East London to provide students and staff with 4,000 Galaxy Note 8 tablets for access to digital textbooks, online learning sources, and campus-based counseling and career advising.
For administrators and faculty—who are taking on increased workloads with less time on their hands—time efficiency and smooth workflows are vital. New technologies can help streamline processes that previously involved the hassle of unwieldy stacks of documents and paper cuts.
“With the amount of time saved, faculty and administrative support staff can focus their efforts on the craft of teaching and learning.” Users can easily select the parts they want to scan by simply marking desired sections with a red pen.
Creating course materials no longer needs to involve carrying stacks of heavy books to the copy machine. Samsung Workbook Composer with Smart UX helps educators develop, print and share engaging course materials more efficiently. After selecting and scanning the materials you need, they’re automatically converted into editable documents. From there, instructors can use the files in a variety of ways to suit their needs, from creating tests and reports to course materials. The files can be easily printed, faxed or emailed. With the amount of time saved, faculty and administrative support staff can focus their efforts on the craft of teaching and learning.
Business Core™ Printing Solutions (BCPS) is another solution package provided by Samsung to streamline work processes for both instructors and students, enabling them to directly preview, scan and print from the cloud. First, instructors upload and share class material through Samsung Cloud Connector to a public cloud. Then students can access and choose which materials to print on cloud-connected printers, where and when they want.
With the hundreds and thousands of students and staff enrolled or on hire, institutions also have the duty of protecting large amounts of personal information. Samsung SecuThru™ Lite 2 secure document output solution ensures privacy when managing student and faculty personal data. Instructors can scan graded documents and feedback reports, which are automatically classified, and send them to students. The file security guaranteed by SecuThru™ Lite 2 is also essential for sharing unpublished research and writing amongst university colleagues.
These aren’t easy times for institutions of higher learning. Shifting markets, new perspectives on the role of higher education and changing government policies all mean that universities and colleges have to be more nimble and flexible than ever. We believe that digital technologies are helping negotiate these shifts, and can help institutions stay relevant and stay true to their values.
Come find out more and get a free guided tour of Samsung’s solutions at CeBIT 2015.