Major pushes toward enabling ubiquitous, anywhere-anytime education were underway before the current COVID-19-driven lockdown, which has effectively brought education to a halt, closing down schools at all educational levels on a global level. Now the promise - and challenges - of virtual education are top of mind as educators and academic institutions look to the future to ensure that education continues both in the face of crisis and beyond.
A number of institutions have leapt into action to develop and enhance their sustainable virtual learning infrastructure, despite the challenges, including the University of Wuppertal in Germany and ETH Zurich in Switzerland.
The road to sustainable virtual learning
Universities and academic research institutions, with business models that align more closely with non-profits than corporations, face dueling challenges of rising costs, ongoing digital disruption and demand for online learning options, and delivering high-quality education to students who require more, particularly as the value of ever-higher university costs is being questioned.
The coronavirus crisis has accelerated the move to virtual learning - making it an imperative both for responding to immediate need as well as building up infrastructure and services for the long term. This moment - and universities’ response to it - may determine how the face of education looks for years to come. The greater the agility and responsiveness, the more sustainable the result.
Real-world, real-time implementations
The University of Wuppertal in Germany was already using Varnish for caching, and in light of the new remote-learning challenges, enlisted an expanded Varnish feature set for streaming video content.
Great folks are working at @varnishsoftware They got us equipped in no time with a varnish cache setup for our @Mediasite farm. Right at the moment we are serving over 90% of our video content from the cache. #myhomeismycampus @gquintard_ @bsdphk pic.twitter.com/alvyaQw9Hd— ZIM der Universität Wuppertal (@ZIMUniWuppertal) April 24, 2020
They, like many academic institutions facing these challenges, have acted quickly to embrace technologies that let them scale up and deliver learning content in new ways - scalably and affordably.
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