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How Virtual Learning Tools from Nexis Solutions Enable Academic Research in Today's Hybrid World

August 01, 2022

The COVID-19 pandemic turned the world upside-down, moving working, learning, and socializing from physical to digital almost overnight. Like others going through this transformation, higher education institutions struggled to keep up with this sudden shift. The question of how to move tens of thousands of students from a physical campus to an online learning environment while maintaining the same high standards and classroom experience was incredibly daunting. Many institutions rose to the challenge and over the two challenging years, adapted to provide their students the closest thing to the campus experience from home as possible. Campus librarians played a key role in this shift, utilizing and upgrading virtual learning tools to meet the challenge head-on.

Virtual Learning Tools: Anytime, Anywhere Access that Students Want

Such tools have played a pivotal role in maintaining the campus experience from home in the last two years. With 75% of higher education institutions continuing to offer hybrid or virtual learning options for students (2022 Higher Education Trend Report), virtual learning tools have cemented their value for developing and teaching the growing population of students that enjoy the flexibility of home-based learning.

Nexis Uni and Nexis Data Lab are two of these digital tools that thousands of institutions worldwide relied on during COVID-19 and still rely on today to support student learning on and off campus.

So why do higher education institutions still need more virtual learning tools and options after the pandemic has ended? With the social changes that occurred during the pandemic lockdown period, more people realized they could do the same things that used to require on-location travel from the comfort of their home.

While this likely won’t be taking away from the number of students that populate college campuses year-over-year, it opens the opportunity for many more people to get the same robust education that would typically be limited to an on-campus program at home. This helps working parents, full-time employees, and other individuals who don’t have the time to commute to campus, or are far away from a program they really love, to access the same degree options as anybody else.

How Nexis Solutions Helps Bridge Gaps in the Student Experience

While the convenience of remote learning is attractive, virtual students face several frustrations:

  • Feeling disconnected from campus life
  • Lacking access to all the same resources as on-campus students do
  • Limited collaboration with their peers through email or video calls

Higher education institutions that provide remote students best-in-class virtual tools have a higher chance of empowering student success—wherever they are learning. The best virtual learning tools democratize the academic research experience, allowing students to access the same sources whether they are working remotely or in the library itself. They also enable convenient collaboration opportunities for remote and on-campus students, giving them a taste of future hybrid careers.

Nexis Solutions is committed to supporting students with easy access to a wide range of research content from anywhere in the world. Nexis Uni® and Nexis® Data Lab are two virtual learning tools that help student researchers succeed whether they’re sitting in the library on campus or sitting on a beanbag chair in their living room.

Making Academic Research More Intuitive

Academic research requires as much access to information as possible, especially in the world of big data analysis, and campus librarians are challenged to not only continually add to their physical library but to expand their digital offerings as well to meet the needs of student researchers.

Nexis Uni helps librarians rise to this challenge, offering an easy-to-implement content database and search platform that can be used by students on and off campus. Built specifically for college students, Nexis Uni helps higher education institutions expand their content offerings for students with over 15,000 news, business, and legal sources. With global sources and a deep archive, our content collection brings together highly-relevant, premium sources for academic research, content that would be difficult and costly to acquire outside of a higher education program.

Nexis Uni provides remote students access to the same exact content as any on-campus student, as well as easy to use search filters, citations, and collaboration tools for virtual student teams to work on research projects together even while apart. This focus on reliable content and collaboration helps students feel more connected to their projects and more empowered to be successful.

Enabling Real-World Data Science  

Data science students and researchers need the ability to easily move back and forth between their sources and their coding environment. Nexis Data Lab, a cloud-based solution that bundles content searching with a flexible coding environment, offers the ideal setting for data science novices and experts alike. With a huge amount of data available, built-in R and Python libraries, and a Jupyter Notebook environment, students can test and visualize hypotheses faster. This also allows professors and teaching assistants (TAs) teaching remote courses to have students use Data Lab as a consistent source of content and analysis. This helps to standardize research assignments and limit how frequently students need to request additional sources or troubleshoot different coding environments, which is particularly challenging when students exist in multiple locations and time zones.

Both Nexis Uni and Nexis Data Lab are well-equipped to support virtual and hybrid learning models for higher education institutions. Providing powerful virtual learning tools connected to a vast array of content empowers academic institutions to expand virtual programs and keep students connected to campus from wherever they want to learn.

If you’re building out your virtual learning programs and want to explore how Nexis Uni or Nexis Data Lab can benefit your remote students, contact our sales team today.