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Are ‘cloud-based learning systems’ here to stay, and what do they mean for educators?

At Catalyst we collaborate closely with partners to absorb fresh and new approaches to digital learning. We have significant knowledge and experience from our 20+ years of operation in this space, and that has been tested and confirmed by circumstances over the past year.

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"Having a robust and resilient platform, particularly during peak periods of access, ensures confidence"

We are working towards facilitating our partners requirements every step of the way as they rapidly try to move traditional face to face learning to a purely online experience. The full depth and wealth of experience across our global operation of 350+ staff, along with the collective knowledge available in our many hundreds of education sector partners, will help us.

“We are examining how online learning systems need to adapt rapidly”

And this is important given current trends in online learning systems.

IT staff enabled remote operations for just under three million students, lecturers, researchers, academic leaders and support staff at a pace never witnessed previously across the UK in March 2020, a recent Microsoft/ ucisa report found.

We are examining how online learning systems need to adapt rapidly and what the best solutions to the technical and pedagogical challenges are, what worked well and what didn’t in 2020, to help every client move forward with their digitisation strategy.

Institutions will be looking to maximise the flexibility and individual control of online learning combined with all of the stimulus and interaction of face to face learning and being on campus.

As Nick Hillman at Higher Education Policy Institute recently wrote, “while new innovations have very often changed education for the better, they have rarely changed education in precisely the ways predicted by those behind them”.

“We mustn’t forget the pedagogy because proper tools are only half the job,” he said.

Catalyst has dedicated learning technologists and expertise on hand to help prepare institutions and their teaching staff to adjust to what is currently the only available methods of teaching and learning. Our close and on-going partnerships promote and support all the possibilities of hybrid teaching and learning.

Asynchronous learning has shown to have a positive on engagement, we can help with customisations to the platforms or training and consulting for the teaching stakeholders to deliver a personalised and engaging learner journey. Communication and interaction via video conferencing facilitates group responses and feedback, and learning anytime, anywhere.

Having a robust and resilient platform, particularly during peak periods of access, ensures confidence. It is essential for all institutions to have enough resources provisioned to run their platform. Further than this, it is important that delivering the required resources is also cost efficient, and that wastage is considered and minimised at all times.

Catalyst and AWS have the world-leading services and mature approaches to make this happen.

“There are many misconceptions around data security in the cloud”

There are many misconceptions around data security in the cloud. Catalyst and AWS have all of the security and certification in place that demonstrate best practice is being applied. It is our belief that cloud based platforms benefit from significantly increased security when compared to on-premise hosting for a number of reasons, not least access and encryption.

As an example, no engineer at AWS or elsewhere is able to access or observe data upon hardware inside an AWS datacentre. Catalyst is ISO27001 certified, to deliver that additional peace of mind guarantee that our practices and processes are secure and privacy is always a strong consideration.

The current results can clearly speak for themselves with our partners UCL, who are now supporting 48,000 active students upon the largest Moodle instance in the UK in terms of traffic. The university was receiving 700,000 page views a day, prior to Covid and since moving to Cloud is now frequently receiving 1.5 million page views a day.

Within this period of extreme disruption and uncertainty the continued and valued excellence of each of our partners’ institution is large part of what we do at Catalyst. Supporting each institution’s digital strategy, safeguarding their brand and reputation and ensuring student expectations and outcomes are consistently met.

About the author:

Joey Murison is Director of Catalyst IT for Europe and UK.

 

 

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