9 essential steps to wi-fi innovation

Before mobility became essential for recruiting and retention, we deployed a wi-fi network at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock that was adequate for meeting institutional requirements and academic demands.

Fast-forward several years and our hodge-podge of antiquated equipment from multiple vendors couldn’t handle modern needs. Today, as we’re finishing up a major refresh, we’d like to share nine steps that were critical to wi-fi innovation and gaining the right outcome for us.

Related content: 2019’s top 10 wireless trends

Step 1: Articulate the primary goal – it’s more effective than it may seem
Despite sounding like a no-brainer, honing our business drivers into a concise primary goal proved effective because the exercise informed many of the ensuing steps. For us, the primary goal was modernizing our wi-fi to be a differentiator for attracting and retaining today’s mobility-empowered students by offering a home-like user-centric wireless experience to permit students to connect any device quickly, easily, and securely.


How to secure IoT on campus

If you’re paying attention to the development and proliferation of “smart devices,” it can seem like they’re everywhere: internet-connected thermostats, cars, vending machines, surveillance cameras, televisions, fitness devices, and even light bulbs. But the omnipresence of tiny, embedded computers in everyday devices also has a way of making them invisible to most people. What is a network administrator to do with this invasion of connected, and thus hackable, devices?

Which “smart” devices are in schools?

While the variety of connected devices on campus may seem overwhelming, the ones you might have to worry about are only a subset of the problematic devices that are out there. Internet-connected cars are more likely to be on a cellular network than a school’s wireless network, and network admins probably have some authority to opine about whether connected thermostats or household appliances are allowed to connect. Hopefully, if “smart” vending machines or surveillance cameras are implemented, you’ll have the opportunity to weigh in on which specific devices are allowed to join the network.

Related content: 5 ways we upgraded our campus Wi-Fi

The more prolific (and uncontrolled) types of “smart devices” on campus are likely to be those brought by students, and it’s possible they may not even think of these devices as internet-connected until someone or something stops them from being connected. So how are you supposed to protect your network against the tide of unsecured internet of Things (IoTs)?


Training the future workforce for a data-driven society

Our youth are inheriting the future in real time. Over the past decade alone, the explosion in data, automation, machine learning, and artificial intelligence has completely transformed the way we interact with the world – and it’s only accelerating. In fact, IDC predicts worldwide spending on AI systems alone will grow to nearly $35.8 billion in 2019 and will more than double to $79.2 billion by 2022.

All this means it’s more important than ever that today’s youth — and the newly-emerging workforce — are adequately equipped to work with these evolving technologies. Younger generations will enter a very different job environment than that of their parents, in many cases stepping into roles that may not even yet exist today. We’ll likely see some jobs disappear altogether, while others will evolve and adapt to meet the new climate.

Related content: How higher ed can better prepare students for the workforce

This environment will drive competition for job candidates with unique data-driven mentalities and skill sets. And we’re already seeing a shift. According to LinkedIn data, the top three “hard” skills companies noted needing most in 2019 all surround tech: cloud computing, artificial intelligence, and analytical reasoning.


Managing key challenges in an evolving higher-ed IT landscape

As institutions adopt new technologies, higher-ed IT leaders must be aware of the challenges accompanying these new trends. One such example is rapidly proving why IT teams must stay on top of new developments. Azure Active Directory is a web-based authentication and authorization platform based on Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform that is growing in popularity.

It offers many opportunities to higher education intuitions, including the promise of new collaboration tools, collaborative cross institutional authentication options, and enhanced security through technologies like multi-factor authentication. But there are several challenges that colleges and universities need to be aware of as they plan for and adopt this technology.

Related content: Helping institutions protect data

Microsoft’s Active Directory is a mature, stable technology that has been a mainstay of Microsoft Windows networks for more than 20 years. Higher-ed IT leaders are very familiar with how to deploy and manage this technology. Design patterns are well understood, and organizations are familiar with what goes into the care and feeding of Active Directory.


How shared leadership helps these institutions thrive

During a recent community visit some 250 miles away from our campuses, a man stood up to make a point. He said: “One chancellor overseeing two universities [was] a great idea.”

Our regular visits to Nebraska’s vibrant rural communities – including this trip to the towns of McCook, Gothenburg, and Holdrege, Nebraska – offer an opportunity for us to discuss their needs.

Related content: 4 priorities for community college leaders

From health to workforce, communication to transportation, questions and comments frequently cover the gamut, but this specific comment was a surprise. In a town of just 3,500, residents were paying attention to the shared leadership of the University of Nebraska Medical Center and University of Nebraska at Omaha.

And why not? In the last two years, the synergistic relationship between the universities – one that has continually strengthened the brand identity for both institutions – has evolved into something that is thriving and nationally unique.


Helping higher-ed IT teams create better digital support experiences

Today, current college students take at least one online class and almost half (48 percent) never enter the physical classroom, making it imperative for universities to incorporate and implement technology that brings students and teachers together, streamlines submission processes, and encourages a problem-solving mindset in all. Without this technology, universities will undoubtedly begin to fall behind both now and in the future.

However, advancing technology isn’t limited to the classroom – it has become a part of almost every facet of university life. This includes ID cards, meal point systems, class enrollment, sport event admissions, technology support, and the like. All of these new use cases require efficient, and oftentimes automated, IT service management.

Related content: How well do you understand your online students?

In order to fulfill the needs that evolving technologies bring, higher-ed IT teams must expand their existing purview to successfully support students, teachers, and staff. This means understanding that most students will be able to solve their own problems via self-service tools, but for larger, more complex problems, will need easy access to specialized support.


Do student success initiatives actually help?

Student success initiatives may not have as much impact as intended–a new study shows that just 60 percent of student success initiatives have a positive impact on student persistence, with 40 percent having either no impact or a negative impact.

An analysis of about 1,000 student success initiatives at more than 55 colleges and universities, conducted by Civitas Learning, notes that while institutions invest millions into helping improve student outcomes, they rarely have rigorous measurements of what, if anything, actually drives improvements.

Related content: 10 ways to use analytics to increase student success

“Today, however, many student services are based on confidence in an existing program or the implementation of a standard best practice, rather than the data-informed personalization of student experience,” according to the report. “Not surprisingly, this results in only 60 percent of student interventions demonstrating a measurable positive impact on student success overall.”

Insight gleaned from the report is intended to help higher-ed leaders close that measurement gap and pinpoint what does and doesn’t work when it comes to building student success initiatives that truly benefit students.


What Hurricane Florence taught us about emergency communications

Successfully preparing for severe weather events—like hurricanes—involves more than just sandbagging doors and securing windows. Hurricanes can cause significant damage, leaving people stranded and putting lives at risk. In these situations, good emergency communications and response plans are crucial for informing people how to keep themselves—and their families—safe.

In September 2018, Hurricane Florence barreled toward the Carolinas, promising 140 mph winds and 20–25 inches of rain. The hurricane motivated us at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) to employ the best and most effective strategies and solutions to keep everyone safe and informed while maintaining critical campus operations.

Related content: Your digital network needs more communication

With 23,400 members of the campus community spread across six colleges and an 800-bed medical center located in a city below sea level, our team knew that giving everyone the information they needed to stay safe would be no small feat.


Spreaker becomes the first podcasting platform to fully support Chrome OS

Spreaker Studio has become the first podcasting app to be fully compatible and designed specifically to work with Chrome OS. Now you can enjoy all of our best podcasting tools straight from your Chromebook.

To give you some background, Chrome OS is the operating system installed on the Google Chromebook. Launched 8 years ago, Chromebook has grown at a fast rate since its launch – with some 17 million units predicted to be in use by 2023. As a result of the products’ affordable price tag, Chromebooks have become the computer of choice within the educational field, and in 2017 Chromebooks and other Google products made up 58% of all devices purchased for US classrooms.

The perfect way to get students podcasting!

The notable presence within schools of Google products is exactly what pushed us to make Spreaker Studio, and all of our podcasting tools, available for the Chrome OS operating system. Our features have been specially designed with simplicity in mind – making podcasting accessible to all. We hope that by opening up our platform to Chromebook users podcasting will become increasingly integrated into the educational curriculum and in turn more students will adopt podcasting as a creative outlet.

What can Spreaker Studio do?

Spreaker Studio is our app available for desktop and mobile, offering podcasters of all levels the opportunity to record, publish, distribute and analyze their show with total ease. We give podcasters flexibility at their fingertips: record or go live, edit on-the-go or distribute speedily with our one-click distribution. Anything is possible, and we’ll be there to support you on your journey – ensuring that you always have the latest tools and features available to make your podcast sound amazing.

Installing Spreaker Studio App on your Chromebook

If you’re a Chromebook user and you want to get started, here is how to set Spreaker Studio up on your computer!

If your Chromebook already supports Google Play apps:

1. Make sure you’re using the latest version of Chrome – version 53 or later.
2. To check which version you’re using, select the Status area or the Settings cog. Then select About Chrome OS.
3. If you don’t have the latest version of Chrome click the Check for and apply updates in the About section and restart your computer.
4. Now you’re ready to download Spreaker Studio – just search for “Spreaker Studio” on the Google Play Store !

If your Chromebook doesn’t support Google Play apps:
Even if you’re not on the latest version of Chrome it’s a relatively simple process to get set up. However, it does come with some associated risks as you’ll need to switch to the developer channel which means you will be more liable to bugs and software issues. Be sure to do your own research and get a clear idea of what switching channels means exactly.

If you’re comfortable with the switch, here’s what you can do:
1. Open the Settings cog to open the Chrome OS settings page.
2. Select About Chrome OS at the top of the page to check which version you’re running on.
3. Click More Info and then Change Channel.
4. Here you’ll have two options, Beta and Developer – Unstable, click Developer – Unstable and read the warning notice. If you’re happy to proceed, click Change Channel.
5. Let your computer update and then Restart to make sure you’re running on the new version.
6. Once your computer has rebooted you’ll have the Google Play Store (beta) app in your apps tray and you’re ready to download Spreaker Studio – just search for “Spreaker Studio” on the store!

The best bit is that as soon as you’re up and running you’ll be able to access Spreaker Studio and all it has to offer. Also you’ll be able to use our CMS, which will allow you to take advantage of advanced options such as detailed statistics and our super simple monetization program.


Challenging students to see and achieve their unique potential

Higher education faculty, counselors and advisers all need an effective framework with a set of tools to assess, intervene and empower our students to see and achieve their own unique potentials, whether in the classroom, advising sessions, orientation workshops, or internship opportunities.

The Success Predictor is an effective framework to help educators guide students to make a transformation from the person they think they are “supposed to be”, to the person they know they are meant to be. The Success Predictor is typically used to: determine internal motivations to succeed, understand reference points of capabilities, diagnose internal states of well-being, formulate career aspirations, determine professional acumen, understand academic program interests, guide college selection and fit, guide life and career directions, understand personal paradigms of reality, and guide interventions, among others.

Related content: 2 actions to impact student wellbeing

Family and society constraints

Why don’t students more often take self-responsibility and self-initiative to tap into their inner drive to create a better world and a better self? Most often it is because they are trapped in their own minds, with unexamined beliefs and assumptions about who they are “supposed to be.” This false self is learned through family systems that permit only certain values, customs, and behaviors that are deemed acceptable, while emotions deemed somehow unacceptable are repressed and suppressed by the family culture.