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Online Learning Rises in Response to COVID-19
As the world responds to the spread of the novel coronavirus COVID-19, closed schools in some affected areas are turning to eLearning and web conferencing to maintain continuity in course delivery and/or studying. Vendors reported to be used for this purpose include the following:
- Google Hangouts, Google Classroom, and Zoom Video Communications are being used in Hong Kong at the primary level. Dingtalk, a communication and collaboration app by Alibaba Group, has been widely adopted in China to stream instruction and facilitate assessment (CNN, The Jakarta Post, Bloomberg).
- Zoom and VoiceThread (a cloud collaboration application) have been provided to NYU Shanghai faculty as they develop online versions of their courses (Inside Higher Ed).
- Duke Kunshan University in Kunshan, China, is using Zoom, the Sakai learning management system, and the Coursera instructional platform to shift all in-person learning to online (Duke Today).
If the outbreak continues to spread and necessitates a longer-term adoption of online learning, some questions to consider include:
- What best-practice transition and training plans can schools put in place to manage the transition to online classes?
- What barriers to internet access undermine the shift to online learning?
- As Carlos Perrotta of Monash University asks, will the current increase in the adoption of eLearning delivery products result in a continued uptake of online education after the current public health concern resolves?
On March 30, 2021, HCL Technologies briefed Info-Tech on the roadmap for Connections. For 2021 and 2022, users can expect Connections to have seamless Microsoft 365 integrations, enhanced user experience frameworks, landing pages for user engagement (with tailored notifications and updates), and broader integrations with third-party applications.
On March 11, 2021, Verizon provided updates to BlueJeans’ product vision and direction for FY2021. BlueJeans experienced dramatic adoption in 2020, particularly for webinars and events, and seeks to offer advanced breakout room features in the future.
On February 24-25, 2021, Zoho held its annual ZohoDay – a conference aimed at communicating the state of the business and product roadmaps. The event coincided with Zoho’s 25th year as a company, testament to Zoho’s long-term business approach: grow organically, have zero debt, zero external investments, remain cashflow positive, and plow cashflow back into the business and customers.
This note highlights the top three trends to watch for in the 2021 UCaaS market.
On October 29, 2020, Verizon briefed on BlueJeans’ product vision and direction. This note outlines the new and upcoming features that users can expect from BlueJeans for the rest of 2020 and into 2021. However, with the table stakes margin for features rapidly increasing in the web conferencing marketspace, BlueJeans’ new features are less a way to stand out from the crowd and more as a necessity to keep up.
On November 5, 2020, Cisco briefed on its upcoming virtual legislative session tool Webex Legislate. With a range of features that governing bodies around the globe have desired throughout the extent of the pandemic, Webex Legislate surely becomes the must-have tool for conducting virtual and hybrid sessions – especially if an agency is already leveraging Cisco products.
On October 6, 2020, Cisco introduced a slew of updates for Webex software and hardware, coming October and early November. This briefing predominantly featured the release of Webex Room Navigator with of IoT technology, which seeks to reduce COVID-19 spread and optimize office footprint.
Student retention, already a major concern at higher education institutions, is an even greater concern as students are unable to learn in person and on campus.
On September 4, 2020, Info-Tech briefed with Zoho about current and upcoming features of Zoho Workplace, a global enterprise collaboration platform. Organizations, especially SMBs, that want to look outside of Microsoft’s and Google’s office productivity suite duopoly should consider shortlisting Zoho Workplace as a viable option.