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Articles: Teaching & Learning

Switchers and Scalers

The VM0808H 8x8 HD matrix video switch from ATEN is capable of routing up to eight HDMI sources to a maximum of eight HDMI

What technologies and features do higher education favor for digital signage and video and web conferencing deployments? And what can be done to ensure that these technology purchases are used wisely? Here’s what is happening on the AV technology scene.

It’s been a surprise to see how eager many college trustees, foundation officers, and government officials are now for the same freedom students and faculty members enjoy on campus to try out new ideas. Many have become enamored with the idea of “disruptive innovation,” drawn from Clayton Christensen’s The Innovator’s Dilemma (1997). Arguing that incremental change is often inadequate when organizations face altered circumstances, he asserts that disruptive innovation is the best way to re-position an organization. His main examples relate to hard disk drives and excavators.

At Rollins College (Fla.), we’re always looking for new ways to enhance student learning experiences. A signature feature of liberal arts schools is the intimacy and strength of engagement in the classroom. With this philosophy, you might assume that virtual classrooms don’t have a place at Rollins. But technology’s role in higher education isn’t synonymous just with distance learning and online courses. Technology is a tool that can enrich the liberal arts learning experience and make it more meaningful.

Physical bookstores are in decline, and the signs of this are everywhere. Border’s demise was the most prominent recent example but countless small independent bookstores around the country are experiencing the same fate.

Anywhere Amplification

Indiana University sees an opportunity to capitalize on the growing market for nonprofit workers with a formal School of Philanthropy at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Officials say nonprofits already account for 9 percent of U.S. wages and salaries, and are expected to grow as government and corporation philanthropy declines.

According to one recent study, nonprofit organizations with revenues of more than $250,000 will hire up to 640,000 more executives by 2016.

When President Obama set the goal of increasing the percentage of the population that has some postsecondary education, the assumed focus was on two- and four-year degrees. A new report, “Certificates: Gateway to Gainful Employment and College Degrees,” from the Georgetown University Center on Education and the Workforce makes the argument that certificates should not be overlooked.

Apps help new students build social bonds and keep up on campus news.

Students and technology go hand in hand, especially when you hand out smartphones at orientation. Seton Hall University (N.J.) did just that with Nokia Lumia 900 smartphones during orientation in June. “It’s an exciting time here at Seton Hall,” says David Middleton, assistant vice president for administration and executive director of the university’s Center for Mobile Research and Innovation. “This is part of an ongoing effort we’ve been taking on for a few years,” he says, adding that students also receive a PC.

Now that we have all waved our classes of 2012 on their way with pomp and circumstance—and hopefully with sunny graduation days—it’s only natural to turn our attention to the classes of ’13, ’14, and ’15. But to read the headlines of the past few months, there’s still plenty to worry about concerning the graduates who are just entering the workforce and for whom the forecast is considerably cloudy.

Touch screens are taking over—and people expect to see them. In the years since Apple first popularized the technology with the iPhone in 2007, it has become almost rare to meet someone who doesn’t own a touchscreen smartphone or tablet. This is becoming even truer among the college-bound and younger generation. Take, for example, the viral YouTube video showing a toddler who could easily operate an iPad, but seemed perplexed when she touched the pages of a magazine and nothing happened.

While the systems can be programmed to take multiple locations into account, in some cases, campus culture prevents satellite locations from being leveraged. Students and faculty might not want to travel to a branch campus, especially if gas prices or parking are going to add to the challenge.

Gone are the days of standing in long lines waiting to register as an ever-expanding list of closed classes crawls by on a CCTV monitor.

Modern students expect to register online, probably from home, and at any hour of the day.

Building a livable schedule is hard enough for a residential student. It’s even more difficult for community college students who contend with work and family commitments, as well as a commute to campus.

Enter student-facing scheduling software to make life easier.

Through careful scheduling, leaders at Howard Community College have ensured more classes are offered throughout the day so that buildings don't stand empty.

A hallmark of community colleges is being nimble enough in their class offerings to respond quickly to the changing needs of their students. Additional faculty can be hired to teach the new courses, but classroom space is often a fixed resource that isn’t so easily added. “We would not turn down a new classroom building,” says Tony Honeycutt, provost of Somerset Community College (Ky.) with a laugh, “but we can meet our needs for classroom space through better scheduling.”

Imagine a learning environment where students can’t hear the professor—or the emergency notifications as part of a safety situation. The basic need of clear audio solutions in higher education impacts so much more than meets the eye.