How our campus supports active learning and collaboration

Here’s how West Chester University used branding to scale, standardize, and implement a complete tech solution to drive its BYOD initiative

Active learning continues to be a hot topic in higher education and we have had many requests to help design spaces with technology to support that teaching style. Most instructional spaces at West Chester University in Pennsylvania are designed for bring your own device (BYOD) so that students and faculty can bring in their own computers, smartphones, or tablets. We wanted to provide tech that faculty, staff, and students can access from their personal devices, regardless of hardware platform, including our learning management system, Office 365/OneDrive, virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI), cloud printing, wireless presentation, mobile on-demand lecture capture, and mobile videoconferencing.

People can access all the tech we’ve implemented, but our concern was how would we help them recognize and adopt this tech? Although we send mass emails, host faculty and student orientations and training programs, and use digital signage and our webpages, we know this can lead to communication overload and the message can get lost.

The beauty of brand names
We all know what people are talking about when we say Kleenex, Band Aid, or Xerox—all brand names, not the actual products. We see the same thing in technology. Some classic examples are Google (web searching), Smart (interactive whiteboard), and Skype (for web conferencing). To make our technologies more recognizable, we used the branding approach.

Since we are the West Chester Golden Rams, most people are familiar with the Ram name and our mascot Rammy. We all have RamCards for ID and we can load them with RamBucks to pay for things on campus. Here are some of the names we’ve used to brand the technologies particularly useful for the many BYOD devices:

  • RamNet (wireless network)
  • RamCast (wireless presentation)
  • RamCloud (VDI)
  • RamPrint (cloud printing)

RamNet, our robust wireless network, is the foundation for the success of many of our new technologies that can communicate wirelessly. We needed to support an average of three devices per person and the concentration of devices is always much higher in classrooms so a dense wireless network is a standard in classrooms.

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