The Connected Campus
In the 21st century, what we need and expect from education is evolving. In a rapidly changing social and learning environment, universities have found themselves requiring a shift to online connection and the need to find new ways to attract students to increase, or at the very least, maintain attendance numbers.
In response, higher educational institutions are quickly transforming into smart campuses that create new services and facilitate operational efficiency in order to improve the environment for students academically and socially. In addition, new network technology installations can mitigate security and environmental issues and reduce spiraling operating costs.
The integration of digital technology into the learning process allows students to use their devices to access homework assignments and grades or attend classroom lectures remotely. Network technology also enables using a digital device to pay for meals at the cafeteria; or finding the time, location, and cost of various student activities.
Students, who are now increasingly dependent on both the physical and digital environment in which they study, expect technology as a standard part of the college experience. Digitally connected campuses boast improved student learning and quality of life, lower operating costs, greater security and safety, and more in order to avoid becoming obsolete.
Additionally, the use of cellular and WiFi technologies has made great strides in providing greater campus security and safety in recent years. Networked video cameras, digital identification card readers, geofencing, and other technologies are being employed on many academic campuses.
For example, ASU partnered with the Amazon Alexa team connecting students to voice-enabled learning. The university also boasts a secure, scalable network that manages the thousands of connected devices in each building, as well as the data generated from research labs.
Villanova started a wireless expansion program to accommodate the growing population of connected devices.
Rowan University, in conjunction with Intenna Systems, installed and implemented a comprehensive new network to boost the wireless environment for First Responders increasing the overall safety for the Rowan University community and ensuring the delivery of Emergency Alert Notifications. A network structure like this provides increased bandwidth and higher throughput for mobile devices increasing student satisfaction and providing the foundation for 5G.
At Virginia Tech, the study of math is converting to computer-based learning programs. Virginia Tech’s Math Emporium welcomes 8,000 students a year to a cavernous computer center where they take self-directed courses online and can work on homework 24 hours a day.
Online lectures, 3D math homework, flipped classrooms and massive open online courses accessible to anyone for free are just some of the ways colleges and universities are gathering new technology to educate students in new ways.
Today’s college students are hyper-connected and expect the same connected and effortless experience on campus. If universities are going to create a truly engaging environment, they must be able to measure impact, not just action. They must also be able to use this data to improve the lives of their students, workforce and businesses that function together to create a cohesive blend of live and virtual environments beneficial to all.
A digital campus should offer students seamless access to online information, learning and teaching tools enabling them to produce the work required of them, and software allowing them to stay connected to and collaborate with each other and the university. Using a DAS or Private LTE network structure can help educational institutions generate real time analytics, increase productivity and provide continuous threat protection in an ever-evolving digital world.