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Articles: Internet

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.

Can you remember the times when PDF files were placed (dumped?) on your website to make their content available online? As you know, those days are gone. PDF-powered websites just don’t cut it anymore—if they ever did. While the file format battle has been won on the web, the content format war is raging in higher education and elsewhere.

Are there any people at your institution who still see writing for the web or social media as a copy-and-paste job from your brochures, viewbooks, or other catalogs? Hopefully not.

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.

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.

Have you heard about the analytics revolution in higher education? Ready or not, it’s coming to your institution—if it isn’t already there. Whether you work in an academic, business, IT, marketing, or web office, the data-driven movement is slowly but surely making its way in to the hearts and minds of top executives faced with serious strategic and financial challenges.

Think this is just wishful thinking from the higher education online analytics evangelist I’ve become over the past two years?
Educause begs to differ.

As with anything that sounds too good, there’s a catch with 4G. The towers and antennas that provide it require backhaul support, typically leased fiber that can cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to install. The good news is there is a much cheaper solution available.

Faster than 3G and not range limited like Wi-Fi, 4G is very attractive to campus administrators and technology users alike.

"Students, faculty, and staff expect quick communication wherever they go," says David Morton, director of mobile communications at the University of Washington. Upgrading to 4G is about participating in the expansion of faster broadband mobile coverage and reaping the benefits. Early adopters and experts reveal the benefits campuses with 4G are realizing today and how they are achieving them.

At The University of Vermont­, a small public research university, officials had realized that mobile would become very important to our stakeholders. It was 2007 and mobile adoption rates had begun to skyrocket. Smart phones had begun to proliferate nationally and at the institution, which has an average combined enrollment of 12,500 undergraduate, graduate, and medical students.

While a federation might sound like something out of Star Trek, it’s actually the next big step in identity management.

“I think where the real action is today is federation,” says Rodney J. Petersen, managing director of Washington office and senior government relations officer for Educause. “That is not just allowing students and staff into a single system, but allowing them to log in to a different system or a government system.”

Social media gurus and CRM providers share a vision for a future where CRM and social media go hand in hand. But the idea is in its early stages.

“The CRM system assumes that everything is data, whereas most of what you’re talking about is people and conversations with people,” shares Michael Staton, founder of Inigral, creator of the Schools App. The goal? “A CRM where the entire premise is that you’re interacting, you’re not just logging data about accounts and tracking potential revenue,” he says.

Last August, when a 5.8-magnitude earthquake shook Virginia, people in offices up the East Coast were reading about the quake before they felt their desks not-so-mysteriously begin to wobble. How? Chalk it up to another feat of Twitter (by this time it had already helped topple unruly regimes in the Middle East). During the earthquake, users tweeted at a rate of 5,500 tweets per second, with 40,000 tweets hitting Twitter timelines and TweetDecks in just one minute.

Published at the end of January, the Noel-Levitz study on the mobile browsing behaviors and expectations of prospective students provided this list of six items considered to be the most valuable content for mobile experiences: academic program listing, cost/scholarship calculators, calendar of important dates and deadlines, specific details about academic programs, application process summary and online applications forms.

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