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Cisco Unveils WebEx Social Tools for Higher Ed

Cisco has launched a package of cloud-based social networking, online communication, and content creation tools for colleges and universities. Cisco WebEx Social for Higher Education was announced at Educause 2012, taking place Nov. 6-9 in Denver, CO. It is available now.

Cisco WebEx Social for Higher Education includes WebEx Social (formerly called formerly Cisco Quad), and WebEx Meetings, and WebEx Messenger integration.

WebEx Social lets users customize their page views and layouts through the addition of RSS feeds, portlets, OpenSocial-compliant gadgets, and suggestions. It also allows users to update their activity streams, create online groups for class projects, and filter streams of individuals and communities. The Watch List helps users monitor new, shared, and commented-on content.

WebEx Meeting provides voice, video, and Web conferencing of up to eight participants through VoIP and integrates with WebEx Messenger for instant-messaging functionality. Faculty can use the tool to provide virtual office hours; create virtual workgroups; or launch discussions between departments, schools, and individuals.

Cisco WebEx Social for Higher Education also provides Active Directory synchronization and Shibboleth authentication.

Duke University, North Carolina State University, and Case Western Reserve University are piloting WebEx Social for Higher Education. Duke is planning to fully deploy the platform to students, employees, and administration in the next few weeks.

"We're always looking for open, affordable and easily extensible collaboration tools that can help to bring our vibrant and diverse community together, even when they are separated by time or place. Cisco was willing to work closely with us to truly understand the needs of the Duke community, and to find ways to meet those needs through the WebEx Social for Higher Education offering. As a result, we're bringing something unique and powerful to Duke, and by extension to higher education more broadly," said Tracy Futhey, vice president for information technology and CIO at Duke.

WebEx Social is compatible with a variety of operating systems and mobile devices such as the iPhone and iPad.

Cisco WebEx Social for Higher Education is available now; site licenses are also available. Cisco is exhibiting at the Educause conference in booth 1114.

For more information, visit cisco.com/go/Webexsocial.

About the Author

Tim Sohn is a 10-year veteran of the news business, having served in capacities from reporter to editor-in-chief of a variety of publications including Web sites, daily and weekly newspapers, consumer and trade magazines, and wire services. He can be reached at timothyjsohn@gmail.com and followed on Twitter @editortim.

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