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Articles: Software

Although universities are under intense pressure to keep up with tech trends, being an early adopter is not always the best option. The launch of Windows Vista is a good example. In 2006, many higher ed institutions jumped on the new operating system when it came out, only to find it loaded with security issues and bugs.

ASU often takes advantage of its size and substantial budget to pilot and adopt new technological solutions that may be out of reach for other schools. “We are always one of the first schools to attempt to do new things at scale,” says CIO Gordon Wishon. “Over the years, we have been fairly aggressive in challenging some of the long-held assumptions about what sort of technologies can be delivered in the university setting.”

Gary Nickerson, IT Director, Oklahoma Baptist University

A state-of-the-art emergency alert system that can reliably reach the entire student body is a must for modern-day universities. “It’s really imperative,” says Gary Nickerson, IT director at Oklahoma Baptist University, a 2,000 student school in Shawnee, Oklahoma. In implementing these alerts systems, university IT directors like Nickerson face an important choice: they can develop their own product or purchase a system from a vendor.

Jim Hall, IT Director, University of Minnesota, Morris

To fully engage students in on-campus life, in 2012, Morris’ IT director Jim Hall decided to develop an app that alerts students to the university’s events and on-campus programming. “The thing that helped us was to think like a student,” explains Hall. “We realized this generation doesn’t want to look for information, so we created a mobile app to bring the information directly to students’ phones.

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008.

Judith Shapiro, former president and professor of anthropology at Barnard College in New York City from 1994 to 2008, had been “happily retired” before assuming the leadership role at the Teagle Foundation in July. The New York-based foundation’s grant-making is focused on improving undergraduate student learning in the arts and sciences.

The team that first explored bringing a shared services model to the University of Michigan couldn’t help but notice some vast inefficiencies when it broke down the $325 million being spent on IT. Excluding the university’s massive health system, the analysis revealed multiple networks, data centers, and server closets, with 35 different email systems and more than 150 organizations maintaining computers for faculty and staff.

The State University of New York (SUNY) may have the most talked about shared services program in the nation. As part of an effort to try to reduce administrative costs and funnel the savings toward academics and student services, the system’s administration has been working to adopt a shared service model across its 64 campuses. That model has even included shared presidents.

Working in Groups
Vaddio’s GroupSTATION, designed for mid-to large-size meeting spaces, allows up to 20 people to share a PowerPoint presentation, stream a training video from YouTube, or collaborate with remote participants. Users can connect a laptop or tablet directly into GroupSTATION, which consists of two main components: a table-based MicPOD dock, and a wall-mounted sound bar that incorporates an HD camera in its center. The MicPOD Dock functions as a microphone, speakerphone, and user interface. www.vaddio.com

It’s hard to follow higher education news these days without seeing a reference to MOOCs. The online learning platforms from edX, Coursera, Udacity, and others were launched to great fanfare over the last two years. Proponents praise them for their potential to change education, while critics chalk them up as more hype than hope.

These days there’s a lot of attention on delivering content and services to the second, third, and now fourth screens - laptops, cell phones and tablets. One of these services is mass notification, or Emergency Alert System (EAS) messaging. While reaching all of these new screens provides extensive coverage, skipping the original first screen, the television, leaves a gaping hole in the plan.

Higher ed institutions driving courses online to meet increasing demand sometimes need outside help in developing or designing their digital curriculum. Of more than 2,000 colleges and universities with online programs, about 10 percent have used third-party vendors for any course development, estimates Richard Garrett, vice president and principal analyst for online higher education at the consulting firm Eduventures.

Rechargeable Comfort

Bretford’s MOTIV High-Back Sofa was designed to provide a semiprivate and comfortable space for students and others on campus who are resting or working, alone or in groups. The MOTIV High-Back Sofa has an optional power module with an AC outlet and USB charger, allowing users to charge laptops, tablets, and other mobile devices.

We know that conference programs offer a variety of topics for attendees who want to sample from some of the best and brightest ideas in higher education.

But there are times when deeper discussion is warranted, beyond a breakout session presentation. So this year, for the first time, UBTech (June 10-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort) is launching a program of pre-conference special interest groups (SIGs), on the opening day of the show. It will be a chance for like-minded higher ed professionals to get together and share ideas and collaborate.

Build Your Own Display

Christie MicroTiles

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