The nature of education has been changing for a long time, enabling students from around the world to access learning from almost any other place in the world thanks to improvements in connectivity tools, conferencing tools and network quality. You could easily graduate from higher education completely via distance. Many people do.
But now, thanks to the school year being cut short due to Covid-19, record numbers of students from primary school to university level are becoming distance learners for the first time. According to UNESCO, over 80 percent of the world’s students have been touched by school closures, equaling approximately 1.37 billion students now at home. Organizations from governmental agencies and school districts to educational institutions themselves are seeking ways to ensure that learning continues despite widespread closures, however long these may last.
Long-term strategies coupled with robust, scalable technologies will be required to ensure uninterrupted, reliable access to all manner of tools that power distance learning, including:
- digital learning management platforms and sites
- mobile learning apps (some of which are designed for basic mobile phones and offline learning)
- Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) platforms
- digital video streaming, conferencing, and collaboration platforms
- university/institution primary websites and subsites, e.g., other administrative sites, such as departmental websites within complex university web systems.
In addition to enabling the performance and scalability of these services, organizations and institutions must consider transport and data security, secure access to sites (authorization/authentication) as well as solutions for problems that aren’t new per se, such as administering exams securely -- remotely. What if tens of thousands of students try to access the same exam site simultaneously for a timed exam and find that they are locked out or the site is down? Not brand-new challenges, but challenges on a whole new scale in light of current circumstances.
Varnish’s flexible, customizable solutions are perfectly placed to help tackling the issues academic institutions, schools, school districts and virtual education solutions providers face during the current crisis - and in the future because distance learning is here to stay. Some of these challenges include:
- performance and uptime at massive and unpredictable scale
- security, privacy and access control
- maximizing resource efficiency
Learn more about an academia sector implementation of Varnish.