Microsoft | February 14, 2022
Nanyang Technological University, Singapore, a research-intensive public university ranked among the world's top universities, has partnered with Microsoft to fuel innovation and transform the future of education with its cloud-enabled Smart Campus. With a digital-first strategy and the adoption of technologies such as Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone, NTU Singapore is set to accelerate innovation and thrive amid the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond.
As of January 2022, NTU has successfully converted over 2,600 fixed phone numbers, to the Microsoft Teams Phone system. With the cloud-based phone system, calls become richer and more collaborative, as NTU employees can make and receive calls on their business number from all their internet-enabled devices, while using the same tool they use to chat and host video meetings. In addition to cost savings for the University, employees remain productive, as they can also seamlessly transfer their calls across multiple devices, including laptops, PCs, tablets and mobile phones.
The cloud-based phone system was adopted in 2019, when NTU rolled out Microsoft 365, which includes Microsoft Teams Phone, enabling hybrid learning and remote work. At the height of the pandemic in the first quarter of 2020, the transformation to Microsoft 365 enabled the University to successfully shift within one week from more than 1,000 in-person lessons weekly to online learning for 30,000 students.
Ms Tan Aik Na, Senior Vice President for Administration at NTU Singapore said, "Innovation has always been core to the University's DNA. This digital transformation in partnership with Microsoft marks a significant milestone in our commitment to embrace a culture of innovation, promote maximum efficiency, foster sustainability and improving the lives of our students and employees through empowered learning and living experiences."
Technology plays a key role in powering the 200-hectare campus, which includes a living lab of digital experiments - from running an autonomous electric bus to testing drones for Singapore's airspace. This forms part of the global university's 2025 vision in equipping its Smart Campus with cloud-first technology and agile infrastructure. As the university adapted to respond, recover and reimagine its future during the pandemic, NTU Singapore partnered with Microsoft to create and sustain an environment that fosters flexibility and innovation on and off-campus.
"Fostering a culture of continuous learning in the education sector for our future is key as we keep pace with global changes that shape our education sector in Singapore. Universities like NTU Singapore are stepping in the right direction as they accelerate their digital learning ambitions, embrace change, transform our education system and ensure the readiness of our future workforce," said Lum Seow Khun, Director, Public Sector Group, Microsoft Singapore.
Embracing trusted technology for quality learning and teaching experiences
Before the onset of the pandemic, the institution marked its first step in cloud enablement, having embraced online collaboration and communications by adopting Microsoft 365. This foresight enabled NTU Singapore to swiftly adapt to changes brought on by the pandemic, and allowed the university to pursue uninterrupted learning and teaching experiences through virtual meetings and online lessons on Teams during the nation-wide lockdown in April 2020.
The institution also recognised the importance of seamless collaboration between the faculty and students as they worked from the safety of their homes. Paving the path toward a future of education where agility is the norm, NTU Singapore's deployment of Microsoft 365 strengthens the University's future-readiness while creating student-centric learning environments.
"We previously deployed Microsoft 365 to enable productivity on an intelligent and secure cloud. As it turned out, Microsoft 365 became indispensable during the COVID-19 circuit breaker season and now serves as the foundation for hybrid learning and teaching experiences that benefit both our faculty and our students."
Alvin Ong, Chief Information Officer at NTU Singapore
Connecting the NTU community – anytime and anywhere
Microsoft Teams Phone, Microsoft's cloud-based phone system add-on for Microsoft 365, which links local landlines to Teams accounts, was another factor that enabled NTU Singapore to adapt quickly to remote teaching and learning experiences. Campus staff had the flexibility to take calls on their Teams-integrated mobile phones with the help of Teams Calling, a modern voice platform built on Microsoft Cloud, allowing them to make and receive phone calls from anywhere – including their desk and video phone, mobile phone, computer, or modern Teams displays.
By eliminating the need for existing physical phone infrastructure, NTU Singapore enjoyed cost savings in equipment, maintenance, and international call costs from cross-border research center projects and the provision of online exams and classes for stranded students overseas.
Aligned with NTU Singapore's 2025 vision to harness the power of digital technology to enhance learning, teaching and research, IT managers also leveraged Microsoft Teams and other integrated tools within the platform to create an asset tracking system for IT asset reviews and pre-emptive checks to be conducted more efficiently. The university is now able to allocate resources toward higher-value tasks and innovation, accelerating the institution's broader mission to be future-ready, agile and resilient.
Facilitating change by empowering users
With varying departments and different ways of working, NTU Singapore needed a flexible solution that could meet diverse needs from campus staff to local and foreign students. To address this, the institution opted for Microsoft 365 and Microsoft Teams Phone as it catered to two extreme types of users.
These include tech-savvy professors who can program software and non-technical administrators who need simple tools, such as email and instant messaging. NTU Singapore also employed flight path planning, a friction-reducing strategy to help users embrace technology that could enhance their campus experiences.
Transforming and shaping the future of education in Singapore
Beyond Microsoft Teams Phone and Microsoft 365, the university plans to roll out its new cloud-based student management system built on Microsoft Azure, amongst other ongoing initiatives to leverage technologies like chatbots and AI. "With a partner like Microsoft, we are confident of achieving our ambitious agenda in our NTU Singapore 2025 vision," said Alvin Ong.
With a successful user-empowered change management program and cloud enablement roadmap in place, the digitally connected university is well-equipped to realise its 2025 vision, leading the way in fueling innovation while shaping the future of education.
About Nanyang Technological University, Singapore
A research-intensive public university, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore (NTU Singapore) has 33,000 undergraduate and postgraduate students in the Engineering, Business, Science, Humanities, Arts, & Social Sciences, and Graduate colleges. It also has a medical school, the Lee Kong Chian School of Medicine, established jointly with Imperial College London.
NTU is also home to world-class autonomous institutes – the National Institute of Education, S Rajaratnam School of International Studies, Earth Observatory of Singapore, and Singapore Centre for Environmental Life Sciences Engineering – and various leading research centres such as the Nanyang Environment & Water Research Institute (NEWRI) and Energy Research Institute @ NTU (ERI@N).
Ranked amongst the world's top universities by QS, NTU has also been named the world's top young university for the past seven years. The University's main campus is frequently listed among the Top 15 most beautiful university campuses in the world and has 57 Green Mark-certified (equivalent to LEED-certified) buildings, of which 95% are certified Green Mark Platinum. Apart from its main campus, NTU also has a campus in Novena, Singapore's healthcare district.
Under the NTU Smart Campus vision, the University harnesses the power of digital technology and tech-enabled solutions to support better learning and living experiences, the discovery of new knowledge, and the sustainability of resources.
Engageli | February 16, 2022
Engageli, a purpose-built comprehensive learning environment designed by leading educators to foster active, collaborative learning, and deeper peer-to-peer connections, today announced the launch of version 2.0 of its platform. The new version includes a browser-based instructor application, in addition to the native application for Windows and macOS, and contains a suite of new features to enable multimodality learning, as well as allow for seamless instructor adoption and an improved user experience for both instructors and learners.
While digital learning expanded in response to COVID, it’s increasingly becoming a must-have for students and educators who demand flexibility. Colleges and universities around the world that recognize virtual learning is here to stay and requires a modern, purpose-built approach have adopted Engageli for in-person, virtual, and hybrid, flexible (“hyflex”) environments that include both in-person and online.
“Since Engageli launched in 2020, we’ve been continuously investing in improving the platform based on partner feedback. We are proud to expand access and continue delivering exceptional, flexible learning experiences that are personal, engaging, and rooted in learning outcomes. Our partners in higher education have been testing version 2.0 for several months and have shared positive feedback on how easy it is to get started, how flexible the platform is, and how the new reporting allows them to better measure engagement and identify at-risk students.”
Dan Avida, Co-Founder, and CEO
Engageli 2.0 allows instructors to teach directly from a web browser, without downloading and installing an application. This makes the platform usable on more devices while optimizing bandwidth use, and greatly simplifies the onboarding experience. Learners can join an Engageli session via a browser or a native iOS app.
“First and foremost, we are a teaching and engagement-focused platform, and all product improvements are in service of improving learning,” said Dr. Andreina Parisi-Amon, VP of Learning & Teaching. “Engageli 2.0 integrates a number of features that educators have been looking for to deliver a seamless and rich learning experience and power a true transformation towards a more flexible and inclusive environment.”
New features and capabilities of Engageli 2.0 include:
Playback rooms for flexible content engagement: Learners can engage in an asynchronous class session individually or with a cohort of their peers. They can answer polls and quizzes, take time-synched notes, capture screenshots and annotate for personal reflection. Or download the session from the Engageli cloud for asynchronous learning.
Simplified audio modes that make class management easy:Table Mode, the primary audio mode, fosters community and collaboration by allowing learners to be in small groups while still hearing the instructor and being connected to the full class. Room Mode allows instructors and all students to hear from each other regardless of where they are seated and is ideal for smaller, full classroom discussions.
Native integration with the whiteboard platform Miro for collaboration and group projects:Instructors now have the ability to seamlessly integrate Miro whiteboards in class for easy collaboration, ideation, and brainstorming.
More tools for co-instructors and reporting to improve learner engagement:Improved engagement markers deliver better insights into student activity, improved tools to handle class recordings, and enhanced tracking and reporting capabilities.
Improved record-keeping and technical troubleshooting to improve class efficiency:Students now have the ability to easily download class chat history for later reference and can troubleshoot issues with a self-test capability for audio, microphone, camera, screen share, and connectivity, allowing for common technical problems to be solved before classes start.
“In the past two years, multimodal learning has become part of the new normal,” added Avida. “Engageli is powering the transformation towards a more flexible and inclusive learning environment and is the premier tool delivering digital solutions to educators.”
Engageli is advancing the higher education industry globally by improving virtual teaching and learning experiences. Its premier cloud-based, multimodal digital learning technology creates flexible, inclusive, secure environments optimized for student connections and active learning. Recognized for these innovations, Engageli was named to the 2021 HolonIQ EdTech 200 list, highlighting the most promising education technology companies in North America, and earned honorable mention in the 2021 Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Award program, which honors companies and initiatives that inspire better and more equitable learning. Founded in 2020 by Dan Avida, Dr. Serge Plotkin, and Dr. Daphne Koller, Co-Founder of Coursera and Insitro, Engageli has raised over $47 million in funding.
Pluribus Technologies | August 25, 2021
Pluribus Technologies Inc. ("Pluribus") announced today the completion of the acquisition of Pathways Training & eLearning Inc. ("Pathways") in Toronto, ON.
Founded in 2006, Pathways is an agency that supports its blue-chip clients through the design and programming of learning technologies, including live action video, eLearning, mLearning, gaming, animation and simulation along with traditional instructional design, corporate training and change management.
Richard Adair, CEO of Pluribus Technologies states, "Pathways represents our fifth acquisition in the eLearning vertical and brings an impressive client base of Fortune 500 companies. As one of Canada's leaders in the provision of gamified mobile learning and virtual reality enabled 360° video, we are excited to introduce these leading-edge offerings to the Pluribus customer base."
Pathways has always strived to be at the forefront of training in the Canadian marketplace, including being the first in Canada to offer virtual reality enabled 360° video for learning.
"We are thrilled to join the Pluribus team." says Kurt Tiltack, Managing Partner of Pathways. "It will be wonderful to witness Pathways current client offerings both support and be amplified by the amazing companies in the Pluribus portfolio. Our collective capabilities will ensure learning successes for our clients now and into the future."
About Pathways Training and eLearning Inc
Pathways Training and eLearning Inc. (Pathways) is a Toronto-based learning and development agency. Pathways specializes in the design of learning technologies and traditional classroom programming, including eLearning, animation, simulation, gaming, live action video and 360° virtual reality. For over 15 years, Pathways has had the pleasure of working alongside some of North America's most celebrated brands, as their trusted learning and development partner.
About Pluribus Technologies Inc.
Pluribus Technologies (named from the Latin term meaning "from many, becomes one") was founded in 2018 with the goal of consolidating the smaller players in the B2B software industry. Pluribus helps entrepreneurs exit their businesses by providing them with a liquidity event when they are seeking a succession plan. The management team of former owner-operators builds upon the legacy created with loyal customers and employees, taking businesses to the next level of success.