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Articles: Hardware

More than a quarter million hours—that’s how much time students at the University of Arizona collectively spent watching recorded lectures, flipped classroom presentations, and other academic video just last year.

But it wasn’t always this way. In fact, just a short time ago, the University of Arizona was like many other institutions when it came to supporting lecture capture and academic video: Different departments experimenting with different solutions to support different objectives.

Equipped for Response—In 2015, more than 600 instructors and 20,000 students used clickers at  The University of Arizona. The Office of Instruction and Assessment’s resources page offers a primer with clicker best practices and strategies, including tips on writing good questions.  Photo: Thomas Veneklasen Photography/Arizona Board of Regents

Colleges and universities have used student response systems for years to take attendance, administer pop quizzes and register informal polls in larger classes where verbal discussions are limited. But as technology improves, student response systems are becoming more versatile than ever—and instructors are increasingly creative in using them.

“I know the idea of bringing your own device is becoming more prominent, but I still think pulling out a phone, tablet or laptop is distracting. You always lose students for a measurable amount of time, and that’s the primary concern.”

Dwight Farris, instructional technologist, The University of Arizona

UNC-Chapel Hill’s Center for Faculty Excellence has experimented with alternative classroom designs that make it easier for instructors to use interactive learning methods—including in lecture hall-sized spaces.

Students enrolled in media ethics at The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill this fall walked into a lecture hall that looked radically different than two years ago. Gone is the stadium-style seating. Now the room, used for a wide range of courses, has 100 rolling swivel chairs with adjustable tables and nine mounted video screens.

High-capacity classrooms: The collaborative BioSciences West classroom at The University of Arizona holds up to 112 students.

Active learning should allow students in traditional lecture halls to work in small groups solving problem sets or developing presentations. That can be accomplished without renovating the space, but the layout does present challenges.

Lecture courses can be made more interactive by breaking up class time with small-group activities.

The tiered education department classroom at McGill University in Montreal can accommodate up to 96 students.

What would you say to someone who needs convincing that lecture halls and other large spaces can also be active learning environments?

“Large, active learning classrooms support the largest number of students efficiently. The classroom can also be used outside classroom hours for collaborative activities. You’re really increasing the use and efficiency of the real estate.” —Andrew Kim, manager, WorkSpace Futures, Steelcase

Thanks to a concept called the Internet of Things, anything—really, anything—can and will be hooked up to a network.

While little pockets of IoT are springing up in higher ed—both in the form of institution- and student-owned devices—campuswide installations are predicted to be a few years away. That’s not an excuse for sitting back and waiting for smart coffee makers to pop up in every residence hall, however.

More than 1,100 campus tech leaders and innovators from across the nation flocked to Las Vegas for the June 6-8 event, descending upon The Mirage Convention Center for three days of insight and inspiration.

The first new academic building added to Trinity’s historic Washington, D.C. campus in more than half a century, provides much needed instructional space for the school’s growing nursing and health programs as well as a step into modern architecture.

Kelly Walsh, CIO of The College of Westchester in New York, is a UBTech conference speaker. He writes the “Emerging Ed Tech” blog.

The growing availability of custom and commercial software applications allows colleges and universities to transform classroom laboratory experiences into virtual equivalents that offer advantages over their physical precursors.

Thanks to a new VoIP-based phone system, Eastern Oregon University no longer needs outside consultants to work on system infrastructure.

Have you ever made a call with a soft phone? You have if you’ve ever Skyped or used FaceTime. It also means you’re on the cutting-edge of phone communications.

Oral Roberts University students have to walk an average of 10,000 steps each day.

All first-year students must buy and wear a Fitbit fitness-tracker. While some critics called this requirement an overreach, school officials say Oral Roberts has long had a fitness component as part of its “Whole Person Education,” which focuses on mind, body and spirit.

Michael R. Nelson, a professor of internet studies at Georgetown University and former White House staffer, will deliver at keynote speech at UBTech 2016 in Las Vegas.

Michael R. Nelson, a professor of internet studies at Georgetown University, says innovation is about much more than just a good idea. It requires finding new ways to combine existing ideas, products and services into something that people will want. At the heart of that process is collaboration.

Built in high-traffic areas around campus, The Zones at Boise State University have walk-up help desks where students can get their technology questions answered.

From stand-alone help desks to spaces in bookstores and other high-traffic areas, technology services are becoming more visible on college campuses. Many colleges and universities have modeled new help desks after the Genius Bar in Apple Stores.

UB Top Products

University Business is proud to announce this year’s Readers’ Choice Top Products. College and university leaders from across the country have nominated the products they are using to operate their institutions more efficiently and enhance students’ experiences.

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