Cisco and Swinburne University team up on education tech

Cisco and Swinburne University of Technology are teaming up to leverage collaboration technology to integrate teaching practices, facilities, and technology in order to support student collaboration and distance education infrastructure.

Melbourne's Swinburne University of Technology and networking giant Cisco have signed an agreement to collaborate on new research initiatives integrating innovative teaching methods, facilities, and technology in a bid to increase student participation rates and other educational objectives.

The new partnership, which follows an agreement between Swinburne, Cisco, and Logicalis Australia to provide networking, software, and services for the university's IT infrastructure overhaul, will see Cisco provide its online collaboration tools to help facilitate research collaborations and distance education.

"Using Cisco collaborative solutions, we are better enabling research collaborations and making distance learning more meaningful," said Swinburne acting vice-chancellor professor Jennelle Kyd.

"Cisco and Swinburne share the common vision of enhancing educational outcomes through the effective use of technology to improve lecture practice, underpin modern facilities development, promote more effective university and system management, and improve student and community engagement in learning.

"Technology trends at Swinburne have included greatly increased adoption of mobile and tablet devices by students and staff. These require significant bandwidth, increased video chat between students and teachers, and greater demand for high-performance applications," she said.

Tim Fawcett, general manager of government affairs and policy for Cisco Australia and New Zealand, said that the right technological enablers need to be in place if universities are to thrive and prosper in the digital economy.

"Embracing the power of technology in all aspects of its operations as Swinburne has in its administration, teaching, and learning and research is one of the most critical enablers, as it provides the platform for innovation," said Fawcett.

Swinburne University of Technology's deal with Cisco comes as an increasing number of technology companies strike partnerships with universities to help facilitate the burgeoning market of online educational courses and materials.

In June, Central Queensland University employed Australian education technology startup Smart Sparrow's adaptive e-learning platform to save distance education students the need to travel to campus to undertake laboratory learning.

Meanwhile, Victoria's Deakin University struck a collaboration deal with Samsung Electronics Australia in May to help develop new industry solutions while also employing the company's technology for e-learning and research purposes.

"Deakin University has a strong commitment towards using digital technology to help deliver superior learning, and Samsung is pleased to enter into a collaborative relationship to assist the university in fulfilling this vision," said Samsung's vice president of the enterprise business team for Australia, New Zealand, and Southeast Asia Craig Gledhill at the time.