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Articles: UB Archive

Sight and sound are crucial elements in the success of distance learning classrooms. However, there is much more to consider than just the types of audio and video equipment to be used. Proper classroom acoustics, good speech intelligibility, clear sightlines, proper lighting, and seating arrangements all need to be considered when developing an effective distance learning classroom, which will benefit students and instructors alike.

Pretty much everyone over the age of 15 knows the risks related to unprotected sex, so pretty much everyone takes precautions - including carrying effective protection that fits in a pocket or a purse.

But when it comes to protecting sensitive data, most people still act like they're immune. They leave their digital assets out in plain sight on their desktops and laptops, believing that a computer password is protection enough. Any half-competent hacker or serious identity thief can get it in minutes - maybe seconds.

Digital signage is an important link in campus emergency messaging efforts and can be more rapid than text or e-mail. "It doesn't matter what sign is up there, lurking behind every message is the emergency alert system," says Spencer W. Graham, manager of operations for West Virginia University's Information Stations digital signage network. Or at least that's how it should be. "If public safety triggers an alert, the signs change in nine seconds," he explains. Any changes to the system are tested to ensure they don't impact that response time.

Interactivity: It's one of the hottest trends on campus, at least according to Ryan Cahoy, managing director at Rise Display. Way-finding is the most common application. Once people locate their destination on the on-screen map, they can either print the directions or have them e-mailed to a smart phone or linked through a QR code. Another popular use of interactivity is donor recognition.

Based on Twitter, blogs, and web conferences, it looks like everybody in higher education is talking about check-ins, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla, and SCVNGR. No matter where they work, from liberal arts colleges to big state universities, many web communication and online marketing professionals have already adopted location-based services (LBS). More and more have been busy claiming the Facebook Place for their institution, creating a Gowalla tour, applying for the Foursquare University Program, or setting up their first SCVNGR trek.

Automating refunding and other billing and payments makes even more sense in this age of doing more with less. Those not in the business office may wonder about bursar operations. According to the team of five at Texas Women's University, that office is responsible for:

Computer equipment is an obvious category choice for institutions unfamiliar with leasing. Here are other equipment types worthy of a lease option look:

In a prior position within campus procurement, Gary Link of E&I Cooperative Purchasing did some digging and learned of departments that were leasing everything. "There were no controls over what they could and could not lease. If they didn't have the money to buy it, they were financing it," he recalls. "You have to be careful you're not financing the future of the institution." His department began putting parameters around what constitutes a lease and how much an expenditure would have to be for leasing to be an option.

With furloughs, layoffs, and slashed budgets becoming a "business as usual" occurrence in higher education, professional development is taking a hard blow. In some cases, it has been dramatically cut or eliminated for the foreseeable future. Yet, even in these trying times, a few proactive leaders have found new tools and creative tactics to keep people learning and growing. They are energizing their teams and raising morale with minimal expense.

Global education has been a focus in American higher education for several years. Recently, we have seen an increase in conferences, speeches, and papers encouraging us to think globally and prepare our students for a world where success may be dictated by one's ability to navigate varying cultures, languages, and practices.