2. Simpler classroom technology
The touchpad on the wall has twenty “simple” buttons, yet a faculty member still can’t figure out how to get the screen to come down from the ceiling—while the cords to connect their laptop look like the world’s largest ball of twine. It makes sense for a college campus to have an auditorium or two equipped with specialized technology based on need, but there should be a push toward a standard layout for all standard classrooms that epitomizes simple, straightforward, plug-and-play technology.
3. Virtualization, cloud-style
Often there is a “daisy chain” effect to campus technology. Do you have students chained to particular labs for one or two high-capacity software programs (think: SPSS)? Are your online students required to visit campus to use these systems as well? Are you forced to refresh dozens of computers on a routine basis to keep these labs stocked, solely for a handful of students needing to access a handful of specialized programs?
If you’ve hesitated to embrace desktop virtualization, think again. Only this time, think about virtualization minus the massive up-front costs, the high-power hardware, and the perpetual maintenance. Cloud My Office is one solution (among many) that has allowed Fairfield University to jump nearly overnight into a desktop virtualization pilot. It’s relatively economical, it’s easy to set up, there’s help for faculty and students, and you only pay for what you use. This effort also ties in with any BYOD initiative, as the cloud-based virtualized environments run the same from any device.
4. Printers: The elephant in the room
Do you own your campus printers? If so, ask your staff how much of their time is spent maintaining the printers—the paper, the toner, the jams. If a high-volume printer breaks down, is there outcry? At Fairfield University, we took down decades of resource-draining printer maintenance with a one-two punch.
For student printing, we outsourced the process entirely. We opted for the Wireless Everywhere, Print Anywhere (WEPA) system. The company provides the hardware and all support except for loading paper. When the paper runs low or if there is an issue, technicians receive automated alerts. In addition, students’ print jobs are tied to their student IDs. They can wirelessly print a homework assignment from their iPad sitting in the cafeteria, then swipe their ID card an hour later at a WEPA station in the library—and out comes their selected print job. Secure, seamless, convenient.
For staff printing, we went a more traditional route and contracted with a local company to supply and maintain our network printers. Slightly less innovative than the WEPA system, but more adaptable for our office environment—and a significant improvement over owning and maintaining our own machines.
(Next page: Francis’ final tip)