Categories: Collaboration Video Conferencing

‘Better Than Being There’ with Webex, and Enabling Teachers to Inspire Students with Hybrid Learning

4/8/22 update: As of 4th April, 2022, Webex Classrooms has been discontinued.

I have a tough problem as a parent. My daughter finally wants to go to school, and can’t. So many schools, like hers, are fully remote, and others are a ‘hybrid’ of some students on video and others in the classroom. At Cisco we’ve challenged ourselves to make Webex 10X better than in-person interactions. How do we make the learning experience 10X better for students and their teachers? Our blueprint for secure hybrid learning is a good place to start, and today we’re previewing Webex Classrooms.

Before we get there, I have some additional exciting updates for the entire Webex community.

Better Than Being There Experiences for all Webex Users

You should love the way you work with Webex. That means we need to make your experience even better than with in-person interactions whether you work remotely or are working from the office with your remote team. Check out a few new experiences below, with more coming soon.

Webex video meetings anywhere without distraction: Cisco’s intent to acquire BabbleLabs. Experience calls without noisy disruptions, like lawn mowers or barking dogs, so you can get on with your work. We’ll keep meetings flowing and professional with our planned acquisition of noise removal and speech enhancement technology leader BabbleLabs.

Breakout rooms in Webex Meetings. From planning sessions to training, breakouts allow for more focused discussions. Predefined or created on-the-fly, teams can meet face to face, share content, and easily move between sessions as needed. Timers and broadcast messaging help things move smoothly – maybe even better than the last workshop you hosted in the office!

Smarter experiences when remote. Webex Calling makes it easy to keep work flowing when you’re mobile, removing common friction points. Check out this video with more calling use cases and our latest mobile innovations.

Touch-free calls and meetings. With Webex, control your desk phone right from your laptop, and sync with Cisco intelligent headset devices for a completely touchless, hands-free experience. Walk into a meeting room with a Webex device and start the call touch-free with voice command or pairing your mobile. Even for boardrooms, with Cisco Webex Room Panorama.

Webex Rooms interoperability. Webex Rooms devices provide the best possible experience with Webex and can be versatile when connecting with other conferencing services. Webex is now a certified Microsoft Cloud Video Interop (CVI) provider. Get rich Webex Rooms capabilities and a simple join experience when joining a Microsoft Teams meeting. This functionality is also extended to any SIP-standard endpoint to support our customer’s needs for choice or support of existing hardware.

Keep customer experiences top of mind. Our cloud-based AI/ML-powered Webex Experience Management solution integrates with Webex Teams to improve collaboration within the enterprise. For example, automatically be alerted of a bad review so you can proactively solve the problem and “close the loop” with the customer. Result? The dissatisfaction that often hurts KPIs such as CSAT and NPS is prevented, revenue can be increased and customer lifetime value improved.

New data centers for Canada. We’ve expanded data residency options with new data centers in Canada for Webex Calling and Contact Center. Maintain configuration data, call data records, call recordings, and reporting data in region.

Making IT hum. Added efficiency and insights enable IT to be more proactive, and that’s what Webex Control Hub delivers:

  • Tailored Webex Calling features – simplify and present only those features users need
  • Expanded remote calling features with new bulk activation options
  • Consolidated view of call record analytics, media quality, and feature configuration
  • Organization-wide deployment of embedded web apps to Webex Boards and Webex DeskPro
  • Expanded security admin capabilities – from preventing file-sharing data leaks for remote users to improved compliance with expanded DLP and retention policy

Blueprint for Secure Hybrid and Distance Learning

Some schools will stay virtual, others will blend distance learning with the in-classroom experience. You need both secure distance learning and a safe return to the classroom, working together for a hybrid education environment. We’re introducing additional experiences for hybrid learning, such as “locking” the virtual classroom door and enabling instructors to use in-room video devices to engage remote students, making them feel equal participants to those in the classroom.

Highlights include:

— For Teachers –-

We’ve added new features to Webex Meetings that also allow you to focus on educating your students.

Lock your virtual classroom door. Auto-lock meetings so that only signed-in users and students can join. You set the policy – guests wait in the lobby until admitted, or are not able to join at all.

Breakout rooms for better learning. Build more dynamic learning into your online classroom. Place participants into small groups for more focused video discussions where they can share content and problem-solve together. Monitor and join breakouts as needed or send broadcast messages to let session participants know about important updates or the end of this portion of class.

An orderly classroom experience. With Webex hard-mute options, remove distractions, and better control your virtual class. Hand-raisers rise to the top of the list so you never miss a question. With Webex co-hosting capabilities, your teacher’s aide can help you juggle more than one class at a time.

Energize your class. With Webex devices, optimize classroom and teaching experiences for everyone. Standup, sit-down, walk around – Webex device presenter track keeps the focus on you and allows you to move naturally around the classroom. Remote students are brought into the classroom, keeping them engaged and energized.

— For Students —

Students learn best with an environment that is engaging, fun, and helps them learn – securely and without limits.

Learn at your own pace. Webex Assistant for Meetings enables live transcripts during the meeting so everyone can follow along no matter their learning style. Action items, highlights, and class sessions are recorded along with the full transcript, so it’s easy to go back and review anytime.

Stay connected to school friends. With Webex Teams, students can message, share, co-create, whiteboard, and call their study group – all within a single app, anywhere, on any device.

— Parents —

Parents play a huge role in successful learning and often serve as hall monitor, teacher’s aide, tutor, and more.

Virtual parent/teacher conferences. With Webex Teams, it’s easy for teachers to create virtual spaces with parents to meet 1:1, share learning updates, assignments, and more.

A better way to manage homework. Are you the designated homework monitor? Webex Assistant makes it easy to view classroom notes and highlights, or even review the class recordings to track progress and provide assistance.

— IT —

IT enables safe learning environments. We have some more good stuff for you.

Simple and secure right out of the box. Webex supports pre-defined education templates and security settings for virtual classroom experiences, so it is easier than ever to set up your virtual class safely and securely.

Works with more of the tools you use today. Webex Education Connector now seamlessly integrates with Schoology, in addition to other LMS like Canvas, Moodle, Blackboard, and more.

Webex Classrooms: Securely Engaging Students Before, During and After Class

Today we have a limited preview of Cisco Webex Classrooms, a secure go-to place for teachers to more naturally connect with students and parents, with automation that enables more time for teaching.

Many teachers are faced with administrative-oriented systems that can be too rigid for easy student or parent communications, so teachers send email links and worry about security. With Webex Classrooms, teachers can set up online classes, schedule virtual office hours, and automate note taking and attendance. Students go to a single space to connect with each other, view schedules, class recordings, notes, and assignments – whether they are at home, on mobile, or on campus. And parents can stay involved more easily.

Webex Classrooms works hand-in-hand with your Webex Meetings for video calling and can take full advantage of all of the Webex for Education capabilities. See how Webex Improves Secure Distance Learning Options [News Release].

We hope you’ve found a lot to love in these new capabilities. We’ve got velocity and each month we’ll be sharing more for you as we strive for that 10x ‘better than being there’ experience. Our goal is to help you keep thriving at home, in a secure office or in a classroom – no matter what the world throws your way.

Learn More:

Read More

Link to all Javed’s monthly update blogs

See how you can create hybrid learning environments and enable distance learning.

Remote Working Is Here to Stay: 3 Must-Dos to Achieve Effectiveness in the New Normal

Published by
Javed Khan

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