The student experience has changed a great deal in recent years with today’s students showcasing a particularly professional attitude when it comes to their studies. Driven by increasing tuition fees, high living expenses and the competitive arena for post-graduate jobs, students in the UK are not only increasingly selective about where they choose to study, but they’re equally serious about what they want to get out of their degree and are quite focused on getting the best value out of their time at university. To say the bar is high for universities to help them fulfil these ambitions is an understatement.
Finding the recipe for ‘the best student experience’ can require an element of alchemy – it has multiple meanings and the list of its individual characteristics is nearly endless. Whatever pieces ultimately form the puzzle, the best student experience is tailored to each student’s individual needs and aspirations across the totality of their interaction with their institution of choice. They can be centred around living in an environment that truly feels like a home away from home, having efficient access to a range of facilities and next generation learning material, and being offered an atmosphere where reliable social and support systems can grow and flourish.
A common thread that ties together all of these elements is the ability to provide access to the right technological tools and resources that facilitate all of these key areas, and the integrated installation of IP video and digital signage is a crucial component. No generation of students are more comfortable and fluid with collaborative digital technologies than today’s tech-savvy generation. They have grown up in an immersive, high-tech environment where smartphones, laptops and tablets heavily support their learning and living conditions at university. The implementation of integrated IP video and digital signage has significantly positive implications for higher education institutions, and there are three leading UK universities that exhibit proven and ongoing successes in these areas:
City of Glasgow College
To cater to its recent ‘super campus’ expansion, City of Glasgow College implemented a flexible and scalable system that delivers a range of high quality, live and on-demand TV and video content across its City and Riverside campuses. All students, faculty, staff and visitors now have access to relevant educational and entertaining content – including live TV channels, college corporate and news channels, as well as digital signage displaying event information, distributed to over 200 displays in reception areas, libraries, cafeterias, classrooms and hallways. Drama productions filmed in the college TV studio and Principal addresses can also be streamed live across both campuses. The system is also used to digitise video content to create a Video on Demand (VoD) library of resources for lecturers.
University of Surrey
The university’s School of Veterinary Medicine has deployed a large-scale Exterity IP video system to give its veterinary BSc, MSc and PhD students access to high quality live streams and recorded videos of livestock, equines, exotics and companion animal dissections and lectures. Offered in its Veterinary Pathology Centre to two lecture theatres for viewing by up to 250 students at a time, this enables more students to safely observe and learn from these dissections. The success of the deployment has resulted in future plans to extend the system to offer video recordings of more courses, accessible via a Video on Demand portal across the university campus.
University of Aberdeen
The University of Aberdeen recently implemented a comprehensive Exterity IP video system to advance and future proof a number of key areas. The Human Nutrition Unit, which conducts nutritional studies on the relationship between diet and health, has TVs installed in all bedrooms that offer a wide variety of entertainment offerings for research volunteers. Health information channels are also displayed in an effort to improve health literacy on campus, with the content available on demand. Lecture overspill rooms – used to accommodate the popular guest lecturers, seminars and workshops programme – are now equipped with screens to live stream these presentations for attending students when there isn’t sufficient space in the main lecture halls or classrooms, allowing for increased engagement. Live Freeview TV and radio channels are also streamed in reception areas, cafeterias and student unions, seamlessly integrating with the campus’ existing digital signage layout to provide important information to students, faculty, staff and campus visitors.
These three higher education establishments provide pointers to UK universities looking to further expand their educational and entertainment offering to deliver the best student experience, and an integrated IP video and digital signage system is an important step to getting there.