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Pre-Conference Conversations: Summits Summarized

University Business, September 2012

The Future of Video in Education Summit

Video is changing the way we teach, learn, and do business on campus. How can you harness the power of online video—from lecture capture to campus events to student-generated content—to create new value? That was the focus of the Future of Video in Education Summit preceding UBTech 2012. Sponsored by Sonic Foundry, the summit examined those questions in a series of presentations and panel discussions.

AV technology has become an integral part of modern education, but one presenter’s remark demonstrated how rapidly things are changing. In a presentation he called, “The Evolution Will Be Televised,” Scott Walker, president of Waveguide Consulting, told attendees, “I’ve been doing this for 23 years, and I’ve never been less sure about what I used to be so sure about. I used to be sure that if you hand me any audience size, I could optimize the room. I could perfect the sight lines, and perfect image size. I could get the depth and width of the students’ workstation right, I’d even figure out the aisle width behind them. That was all so crucial. I’m not so sure that’s where the ball game is anymore.”

The static classroom design, even when optimized for rich media technology, he said, is becoming obsolete as students move beyond a fixed location and adopt alternate learning styles. The new “lecture hall” will be anywhere you can sit down with a mobile device and watch. That’s a factor to consider whenever a school plans to build or renovate new learning spaces. 

Next, a panel took to the podium to discuss best practices in video implementation. What triggers a university to go from instructional video pioneer to a massive deployment of streaming video instruction? Clinton Miller from Duke University’s School of Medicine, John Davie of Penn State’s Dickinson School of Law, and John Carpenter of Georgetown University (D.C.) McDonough School of Business were on hand to talk about the road to lecture-capture success at their institutions.

Covering a range of subjects—from storage (do you keep everything or delete older video?) to intellectual property (who retains rights to recorded materials?)—the panelists and audience engaged in a lively discussion.

Wrapping up the day was another panel, this time on The Revenue Opportunity in Online Video Education. A number of enterprising universities are home to entrepreneurs who have forged lucrative university and business partnerships, accredited continuing education initiatives, and custom in-person programs, with video at their core.

Seán O’Donnell, formerly with the College of Engineering at Villanova University (Pa.), and Octavia Heredia, from the Ira A. Fulton School of Engineering at Arizona State University, explained how video assets can be leveraged for new and recurring revenue. O’Donnell, for example, told how he helped grow Villanova’s successful online program from scratch to an international engineering degree program, grossing $1.5 million annually in tuition.

Heredia explained how ASU cultivated relations with government and industry to build its distance learning program from a single professional development program to a global effort that now offers 11 video-based masters programs entirely online.

Connected Campus Summit

Sponsored by AMX, the Connected Campus Summit explored the integration of disparate and decentralized technologies, while incorporating AV into IT, cost-
effective learning environments, and being a leader in the 21st Century learning space and beyond.

John Owen, director of technology for the Schools of Business at Wake Forest University (N.C.), shared how, when the university opened a remote location, the IT department established the goal of ensuring students felt connected to the main campus, an issue a previous remote location encountered. Owen also wanted to ensure that technology at the new location could be remotely accessed in case the on-site staff member was unavailable.

Through careful planning and working closely with vendor partners, his team achieved the majority of its goals and came in under budget. Some challenges still need to be addressed, prompting him to remind the audience to involve the IT department in the planning process as soon as possible so situations can either be resolved before they become a problem or to allow more time to develop a work-around plan.

Casey Foulds, who handles instructional operations system administration at Texas Woman’s University, presented on creating a cost-effective learning environment. Information and technology and instructional technology are centralized at Texas Woman’s, which Foulds highly recommends. With a helpdesk that covers both, for the user, “one email or call can get you the help you need,” she added.

Foulds shared how, in the early years, the faculty drive for adoption wasn’t there. In addition, administration didn’t see classrooms as a priority, and her department was simply expected to go fix broken equipment. Without remote access control of projectors and other equipment, the lamps ran for long hours and the need for repairs was constant. “The rest of the world was going green. We were blue. You could drive through our campus and you would see projectors on in these classrooms at night. We’d run around and turn these off. The faculty was great about turning the computers off, but they wouldn’t turn the projectors off. It was driving me crazy,” she recalled. “We really wanted this blue to go away.” IT administrators also dreamed of a status beyond servitude. “We want to be your partner, we want to make it better,” they would tell campus administration.

Classrooms became smart and purchases standardized for quicker equipment fixes. Foulds’ team worked toward full campus integration, with remote projector control, power distribution and other capabilities. Classrooms were now saving time and money. Saving just $5 a room on power for 200 rooms equals $12,000 saved a year, for instance. “We were moving from that servant mode into more of a service mode,” she said, adding that remote helpdesk support allows for quick fixes in the five minutes between class sessions. And now, when faculty are asked what they want to do in their classroom, she explained, “the answer is ‘Everything!’ They want it all.” And Foulds’ team—with the full support of administration—acts as a partner to help them bring innovation to their classrooms.

In another presentation, David E. John, the safety and security supervisor and senior electronic technician at the University of Florida’s College of Veterinary Medicine, shared how his team designed the AV systems for a new LEED Gold facility. “It was this incredible, beautiful space. And we were told we want you to do the same with audio visual,” he shared.

They established focus groups with representatives from each group providing a service in the vet hospital to ensure the AV systems would be functional. “It’s not about what they want to get but about what they want to do when they’re with students,” he said. “It’s not about ‘spitting out products’ that they want.” After all, it’s not the faculty who will be held accountable if an equipment investment is a failure—“it’ll be you on the line.”

He advises looking at the AV budget as an initial cost assessment only, rather than letting it drive planning. “If it’s important enough to get it done, there’s a way to move money from different parts of the building construction,” he said. “Never let the budget plan what you need to do with the space initially. The plan should be based solely on functionality for what the system needs to do.”

CIO Summit

Today’s students were practically born with a cell phone in their hands. With the use of smartphones, tablets, laptops, and other devices growing, college and university administrators have started thinking of innovative ways to teach with these devices. And while that’s great for students and institutions, BYOD (bring your own device) makes the lives of CIOs a little more complicated—and the CIO Summit at UBTech, sponsored by GovConnection, delved into this topic in a day filled with expert speakers and lively debate.

In his session, “Avoiding the 3 Ds (Difficulties, Disasters, and Downsides) of BYOD,” Tom Gillis, CEO of Bracket Computing, focused on the changes in personal computing over the years and how disruptive technologies have improved everyday life. With students bringing multiple devices to campus, he urged the 35 CIOs in the room not only to accept the disruption of BYOD, but to embrace it.

“You have to accept the fact that you have lost control of the end point,” Gillis said. “The IT team can no longer assure that you have control of what operating system is running on the endpoint. And it’s not a bad thing; it’s a good thing.”

He also addressed some of the major worries about managing BYOD, like whose job it is to do so, and if people’s jobs could be jeopardized by students coming in with their own devices.

“BYOD in the enterprise is a huge question mark because who’s responsible for it? You have to realize that change can be hard and go into it with that attitude,” says Gillis.

Robert Ochoa, security practice specialist at Cisco Systems, focused on another very important security concern in his session, “Keeping Campus Networks Safe in the BYOD Age.” More than half of IT leaders say constituent-owned mobile devices are riskiest, he noted. Some threats they worry about include being difficult to control and secure, vulnerability to the organization, data loss from lost or stolen devices, access control breach, and policy compliance changes. If properly addressed, security threats can be reduced and an institution can begin to reap the benefits of BYOD.

What are those benefits? According to Allen Clingerman, technical solutions consultant for GovConnection who shared deployment tips with the CIOs, the main advantage of embracing BYOD, he says, is the ability to increase revenue while decreasing costs. The increased revenue comes from increased student satisfaction, increased enrollment, increased retention, and gaining a competitive advantage. Costs are decreased by reduced lab management costs, reduced desktop refresh, reduced power consumption, reduced campus classroom costs, and reduced student lab fees.

CFO Summit

Nicole Englebert of Ovum Industry Technologies, the opening speaker in this year’s CFO Summit, sponsored by Higher One, posed a challenging question: “If you needed to make cuts to a specific program, which one would it be, based on market demands?” For instance, how would closing two sections of organic chemistry impact graduation rates? How would retention be impacted if the tutoring center’s hours were expanded? “Few institutions could answer any of those questions without a six-month study and 14 faculty meetings,” she said, adding that the conclusion would likely be “it depends.” Yet, these types of questions are being asked daily, and “the answers need to be made in real time.”

She covered how business intelligence solutions can help, but any strategy invested in must be flexible. “I don’t just mean bend over and touch my toes flexible, but yoga-crazy flexible,” she said.

The summit also explored consolidating common functions to save money and streamline tasks. Yale began moving toward a shared-services model in 2008 with a benchmarking study, explained Ron Kolbash, assistant vice president for Yale Shared Services, noting that the model is still not widely adopted across any industry. He said their goal was to “sustainably improve cost structure, compliance, and service delivery.” Yale, he pointed out, doesn’t “exist to pay invoices and process payroll.” Implementing shared services would allow campus leaders to make administration more efficient and pass those savings on to students—but as a change management project, it’s not something that can be implemented overnight.

The seven colleges of the Claremont University Consortium began with the idea of shared services in the 1920s, primarily with the library. Individual colleges can pick and choose the programs in which they participate, explained Ken Pifer, vice president/treasurer and director of financial services. Costs are shared based on various formulas ranging from FTE to usage of the service. John McDonald, associate vice president and chief information officer of CUC, highlighted two successful recent programs, including video surveillance and emergency communications.

Thomas Dalton, associate vice president for enrollment  management at Excelsior College (NY.), spoke on the growing problem of financial aid fraud, which has affected his institution. A fraud ring leader will obtain personal information from participants, then use that information to enroll in college and complete the FASFA. These “students” participate in classes just long enough to get the aid disbursement, then withdraw. He said the rings particularly target online providers and community colleges.

Potential red flags include the same IP address for multiple students; the same home address for multiple students; and a pattern of enrolling then withdrawing as soon as aid is disbursed.

Building awareness on campus in the financial aid, admissions, bursars, and registrars offices is important for detecting fraud because those are the departments that will see the patterns. “Financial aid fraud will impact everyone,” cautioned Dalton, especially if you offer distance learning classes.
The summit’s closing session focused on emerging tech trends. David Stallsmith of ColorID, a supplier of ID products and services, spoke on biometrics technology. He suggested using a pilot program approach to see how the technology works with a particular segment on campus before deploying the technology in any significant way.

Laura Ploughe, director of business applications and fiscal control for Arizona State University, shared the success of a pilot program there that allows students to use near-field communication-enabled smartphones to gain access to buildings. ASU was the first institution in the Americas to test NFC on a phone for access control, she said. “We wanted to engage students, to make them successful with the tools they bring.” Villanova University has since tested a similar program, allowing for both door access and payment in food service areas.

What’s holding back NFC-device use? It’s a brand new technology, Ploughe explained, and so the industry is still immature. “The biggest challenge is getting it into your students’ hands.”

Register now for UBTech 2018

Register now for UBTech 2018, June 4-6 at the Mirage, Las Vegas. At UBTech 2018, you’ll network with a dynamic community of higher ed leaders who are shaping the future of campus technology and explore topics like cyber security, distance learning, campus learning space design, communications, personalized learning and more. Your UBTech registration also includes a free pass to the InfoComm exhibit hall.

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