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Blended learning and teaching: What are the right IT choices?

Universities are a vital part of the UK economy. They generate more than £73 billion a year in output for the British economy, contribute nearly 3% of UK GDP, and generate more than 750,000 jobs. Making the right decisions to support a fluctuating mix of face-to-face and digital learning was more important than ever even before COVID-19 uncertainty, now those decisions have become critically important.

UK education technology priorities

Educational institutions are looking for digital solutions to offset the growing cost of tuition, and an increasingly competitive landscape. This landscape includes alternative digital channels and raised user expectations from both students and faculty.

One of the UK Department for Education’s goals is to support the education sector by embedding technology in a way that cuts workloads, fosters efficiencies, supports inclusion and ultimately drives improvements in educational outcomes. They have identified the need to solve challenges around slow internet connections, outdated internal networking, implementation priorities, buying decisions, and navigating privacy and security.

The role of IT in education

IT is increasingly crucial to continuing education, and it needs to work with a blend of teaching and learning modalities. Usually, students want both face-to-face discussion and collaboration on projects and the convenience of completing assignments online.

Education IT also needs to accommodate peak and trough fluctuations in demand, without costly over-provisioning. 

Whether on- or off-premises, in a public or private cloud, education IT must comprehend the full gamut of hybrid cloud possibilities. It must leverage a secure, common operating model to meet individual application and user requirements, while maintaining visibility and control over costs, security, and governance.

Both the approach and role of IT in education are close to my heart. I’ve seen firsthand the benefits of technology with respect to learning and productivity, both in my University days and in my career.  I was fortunate enough to have access to, and be interested in, technology during my degree in a time when most did not have that advantage. Indirectly it also led to my current role with HPE at a time when I was unsure of my career path (who really is at 20!).  I would love all to have that kind of opportunity and hope that we as HPE can help facilitate it, be it through technology, services or a combination of them such as found in HPE Greenlake.

Hybrid cloud solutions

Choosing the right blend of cloud solutions is the catalyst for changing and improving learning, teaching, research and administrative services in higher education. 

Hybrid cloud success needs a flexible, software-defined approach. And it needs a foundation of intelligence that begins with the server. HPE ProLiant with HPE InfoSight is the ideal intelligent compute foundation for hybrid cloud, delivering strong workload optimisation, security and automation, all also available as-a-service.

The advent of consumption-based fast cloud models like HPE GreenLake allow institutions to balance the need for short-term agility with a longer-term plan for increased capacity. HPE Greenlake delivers on-demand capacity with predictive planning, combining the agility and economics of a public cloud with the security and performance of on-premises IT. This capability has moved from beneficial to essential as higher education establishments look to plan in uncertain times whilst mitigating the risk introduced by unpredicatable pandemic restrictions placed on staff and students.

HPE can deliver the intelligent foundation that educational institutions need and is leading the move to service digitally transformed educational institutions where everything is connected. In the words of HPE President and CEO Antonio Neri, “we remain devoted to delivering technology that will powerfully enable both breakthrough and routine experiences,” and to “delivering for customers in new ways in these trying circumstances.”

Read our e-book to learn more about using hybrid cloud services to deliver responsive, flexible, secure and mobile education.


Alex Haddock
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

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About the Author

Alex_Haddock

I span HPE HybridIT solutions with a strong background in Compute and Composable infrastructure. Focus on partnering.

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