Classroom tech is reshaping the campus experience

Centralized management software lets universities streamline tech usage across campus

In the rapidly evolving world of science, universities are creating a standard of technology in the classroom. Technology not only produces high-quality education through time-saving applications and effective communications, it also makes life easier for the user and can ultimately be incredibly cost-effective.

Centralized management technology is one area seeing increased adoption in classroom settings. By creating a centralized management system, universities can simplify the monitoring and management of on-campus technology.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) has implemented a centralized management system and standardized technology usage across campus. Streamlined and easy-to-use technology offerings help students and faculty achieve their academic and professional goals while making troubleshooting and maintenance easy for the IT department. “As the unit responsible for supporting multimedia across all of our sites and rooms, it was critical for us to have the ability to deliver the quality of service that’s expected of us,” says Don Merritt, director of the office of instructional resources.

UCF turned to a central control system because it was looking to establish and maintain a level of workflow consistency throughout the university’s 750 spaces, including lecture halls, event halls, and laboratories. Each room has an integrated AV system that works hand-in-hand with enterprise monitoring and management software. One central-management system provides a unified control platform, helping the AV design and support unit to have better visibility into the technology used on campus. “Central monitoring and reporting software allows us to easily extract data and analyze it to determine the usability and preferred sources of technology within each room,” says Bradley Jones, assistant director of the office of instructional resources.

3 benefits of central management software

1. Control from anywhere

UCF’s classroom hardware and devices are managed more efficiently through a central management web portal. Via a single computer, UCF can control, manage, and report on classrooms and associated equipment across the campus. If a piece of equipment malfunctions, staff can be notified automatically through the central-monitoring software so they can quickly address and correct the problem.

Real-time alerts allow staff or student workers to proactively manage events, so rooms are fully functional and ready for the next class. All of this aims to minimize technical difficulties or scheduling oversights to maximize the time of UCF’s students and faculty.

2. Technology to fit any teaching style

At UCF, faculty have access to state-of-the-art collaboration technology to supplement their teaching style. Many professors are beginning to ditch traditional methods such as PowerPoint in favor of more collaborative and interactive options that engage the entire class. Faculty can easily design and execute interactive courses, both online or in-person, via high-quality AV, lecture recordings, video streaming, and remote presentation. Class materials can easily be shared across laptops and mobile devices.

Better collaborative technology has helped UCF create active learning classrooms in which students can experience a traditional lecture, yet easily break off into small groups with access to their own displays. “Our faculty should not have to think about how to work the technology in the room,” says Merritt. “They should have the ability to come into the room and immediately connect their device and begin.”

3. An eco-friendly alternative

Across the country, campuses are looking for more energy-friendly alternatives—not only because it’s good for the environment, but also because it can dramatically decrease utility bills. Central-monitoring software can detect when a room is not in use and turn the systems off. UCF is using this system to cut its electric bill by powering only the rooms that are in active use.

Technology has always been a key part of education. The introduction of laptops for students radically shifted the learning experience, and now increasingly advanced technology is reshaping the learning environment as a whole. UCF’s fully integrated and monitored campus is spearheading the push toward technology-friendly classrooms, creating a foundation not only for future technological advances, but for future education practices.

eSchool Media Contributors