Higher-education winners

Canvas (Instructure)

Canvas is an easy-to-use, open-source learning management system that is used by more than 400 colleges, universities, and K-12 districts. “The Canvas LMS is head and shoulders above the crowd,” says Lisa Frazier, online education director at Great Basin College in Nevada. “Not only is Canvas intuitive for faculty and students to learn and use, but the way Canvas is designed saves instructors hundreds of hours creating multimedia content and grading. Canvas also excels in product support, [and] this has resulted in a 50-percent drop in help desk calls.”



Enterasys Network Access Control (Enterasys)

Enterasys Network Access Control (NAC) is a complete, standards-based solution for ensuring proper access to wired and wireless networks. “The University of New Hampshire uses the Enterasys Network Access Control and One Fabric to have a complete, real-time picture of … all devices on the network, and the ability to identify and contact people using the network-connected device,” says IT Network Manager Scott Kitterman. “This product provides security to the BYOD [bring your own device] bonanza.”



Google+ Hangouts (Google)

This free plug-in enables users to connect and have voice and video conversations across computers, Android, and Apple devices. “I teach online using a learning management system that does not have video conferencing, so I use Hangouts to meet with my online students and share my computer screen while I review the feedback on their written work,” says Joanne Heilman, a contributing faculty member at Walden University. “My students love the visual connection with the instructor and being able to see their paper while they hear my comments. … Adding the synchronous aspect makes them feel more connected to me and to other students when I hold virtual office hours with up to eight students [at a time] using Hangouts.”



Hobsons Retain (Hobsons)

Retain from Hobsons is a student retention solution that ensures students get the most out of their college experience. From introducing students to campus, to accurately mapping a clear path to graduation, to alerting advisors of potential warning signs, Retain allows campus staff to monitor the success of each student throughout his or her college career. “Retain has helped us reach out in various ways, which has [improved our] customer service,” said Dawn Prueter, director of academic services at Baker College Online. “The feedback I have received from students tells me that the product has been successful for us.”



Interactive Campus Map (NuCloud)

NuCloud’s Interactive Campus Map platform enables colleges to design and make easy edits to their campus map. Adding a map to a website is as simple as copying and pasting an embed script code—and because your map resides in the cloud, it’s hosted from multiple server locations to provide optimal speed and performance. “The nuCloud interface allows us to easily manage and customize components of our campus map and tour, including text content, photography, video, and audio,” says April Taulbee, webmaster for D’Youville College in New York. “The software produces web, mobile, Section 508 compliant, and Facebook versions of the map, which is a huge benefit to our users.”



Office 365 for Education (Microsoft)

Office 365 for Education provides students, teachers, and staff with enterprise-grade communication and productivity services, such as free eMail, websites, online document editing and storage, instant messaging, and web conferencing. “We are using [the software] to connect with teachers and administrators across the state for professional development, including a Lync TeachMeet that took place Feb. 28 and had an average of 85 people online at any given time,” says Patti Oakley, instructional technology specialist at Murray State University in Kentucky. “The product not only gives teachers and students free access to Lync, but also to Outlook, SharePoint, and the Office apps. It’s just another way to bring equity to students and schools.”


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