Thursday, 05 March 2020 23:43

Alibaba Cloud assists Chinese students, unis with online coursework during coronavirus crisis Featured

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The data intelligence arm of China’s Alibaba Group, Alibaba Cloud says it is delivering solutions to local Australian university partners providing critical relief for Chinese international students affected by novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

In order to facilitate students’ distance learning needs, Alibaba Cloud has leveraged its Cloud Enterprise Network (CEN) solution which allows universities to establish fast cross-regional connections for students - enabling them to engage in online course work via intranets while overseas.

“We are very aware that a large number of Chinese students studying in Australia are unable to return to their studies due to the current travel restrictions,” said Raymond Ma, General Manager, Alibaba Cloud Australia and New Zealand.

“With both universities and students impacted, Alibaba Cloud wanted to develop an innovative solution to provide ongoing access to educational platforms,” said Ma.

Anne Kealley, Chief Executive Officer of the Council of Australasian University Directors of Information Technology (CAUDIT) says the council has worked with Alibaba Cloud and their global security partners “which will allow Chinese students access to online learning platforms such as intranet portals and live streaming to classrooms with low latency and high reliability”.

To date, Alibaba Cloud says it has been working alongside 20 universities across Australia and New Zealand, including The University of Sydney, University of South Australia, The University of Adelaide, University of Canberra and The University of Melbourne, with the aim to get students back online as soon as possible.

Ma said that currently, there are up to 100,000 students in China who need access to coursework and intranet portals in order to continue their studies, and Alibaba Cloud is delivering universities with a high-speed link into China in order to connect these students to the educational institutes while overseas.

“The solution can be deployed within 48 hours, effectively reducing complicated IT processes, offering cost-effectiveness and easy maintenance for universities and schools,” Ma said.

Alibaba Cloud cites Australian Bureau of Statistics figures showing that in 2018-19 education exports from Australia to China contributed $12.1 billion to the Australian economy.

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Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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