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On a late-August Sunday afternoon as many students headed back to their respective college campuses, Aaron Colley, Manager, Digital Workspace Services at Auburn University told a Higher Education Workshop audience, “The efficiency, mobility, and visibility VMware technology gives us is what allows me to be here today, speaking to you at VMworld in Las Vegas, when school is starting up in Alabama.”

Auburn is leading a growing list of recognized colleges and universities worldwide embracing digital transformation to improve learning outcomes.

Recent deployments of secure software-defined data center infrastructure, hybrid clouds, and digital workspace technologies are enabling institutions to attract and retain top student and faculty talent, improve the efficiency of learning and research for better outcomes, and grow revenue while serving new student populations.

Transforming Outcomes

Strong demand to meet the needs of non-traditional learners is proving to be one of a growing number of key catalysts for change in higher education agreed Workshop attendees. So, too, are renewed focus on student success and the complexity of technology and security threats in higher education.

For some, the digital campus is in sight. For others, it’s already here.

The California Community Colleges (CCC) Online Education Initiative (OEI) is a bold state-wide initiative focused on expanding student access to high quality, online learning opportunities that accelerate student completion and transfer across the 114 Individually accredited California Community Colleges has one mission:

 

Mission Statement: Increase student completion of transfer degrees by working together to increase access to quality online course and support services for students

 

Impressively, the OEI has an enrollment of 860,000 online students. But that’s not all. Since bringing together curriculum, performance, learning, and technology leaders, the CCC OEI has seen a 4.9% points improvement in course success—that’s a

 

benefit to more than 42,000 students! And…they are just getting started.

Speaking at the Education Workshop, OEI Executive Director, Jory Hadsell, put education technology efforts in perspective for attendees, quoting OIE Executive Sponsor, Joe Moreau, as saying:

“We are in the collaboration business.

We are in the trust business.

We are in the confidence building business.

We are in the teaching and learning business.

Oh…and we also happen to be in the technology business.”

Campus IT as a Center of Operational Excellence

University of Arkansas Associate Director of Enterprise Innovation, Jon Kelley, and Patrick McGraw, Virtualization Engineer from Western Carolina University, also stressed the importance of collaboration in accomplishing digital transformation goals.

Rogue IT groups used to be the way things got done, but not anymore. From the earliest stages of planning, Information Technology alongside teaching and learning experts and many other stakeholders is now essential to success.

 

Going All-In On Cloud

In February of 2017, Nathan Thaler, MIT Director of Cloud Platforms, remarked:

“How does one support the needs of legacy, business-critical applications, and provide flexible infrastructure to support new virtual machine-based applications or a migration to SaaS? The short answer is the hybrid cloud.”

MIT has taken those words to heart, holistically embracing the public cloud as it moved workloads first to what was at the time VMware’s public cloud offering and this year, seamlessly to Amazon Web Services.

VMworld Workshop attendees were treated to a deep-dive explanation about MIT’s journey using just .75 FTE (yes, you read that correctly) to move all of its cloud workloads to VMware Cloud on AWS in just five months.

These and other leading Higher Education institutions are sharing their innovation stories this week at VMworld.

If you’re at the show, be sure to visit the interactive Higher Education Digital Showcase in the center of the VMware booth in the VMworld Solutions Exchange. If you’re not able to join us this week, check us out on the web to learn more or reach out on twitter: @vmwareedu.