Without improved content, digital signage could ‘ride off into the sunset’

Campus technology leaders are searching for ways to make digital signage more effective at their schools.

Smart phones and tablets shouldn’t be seen as competitors to a campus’s digital signs, but as companions, and colleges should make sure on-screen content grabs students’ attention, digital signage experts said March 7 at an industry tradeshow.

During a panel discussion at the Digital Signage Expo (DSE) in Las Vegas, campus technology leaders said digital signs run the risk of becoming irrelevant if decision makers don’t embrace new approaches to signage.

Higher education has seen a boom in digital signage usage. After 1,500 U.S. campuses added digital signs in 2010—displaying information such as course schedules, upcoming campus events, and weather reports—more than 8,400 digital screens were installed at colleges and universities in 2011, according to a report from Northern Sky Research, a market research firm.…Read More

How to handle campus crises in the digital age

Benton says media outlets often exacerbate campus crises.

Pepperdine University President Andrew Benton told higher-education officials March 7 in Washington, D.C. that they should be wary of contact with journalists covering campus emergencies such as fires and shootings. Instead, Benton said, students should rely solely on the university for updated information.

Benton spoke at the American Council on Education’s (ACE) Annual Meeting at the Washington Hilton during a session called, “Leading Through Crises in the Digital Age.”

Mass text messages, eMail alerts, and phone calls to students and faculty members have become key in response to campus emergencies, but Benton said assuring students that school officials will provide up-to-the-minute information on what to do during a crisis should be a top priority for decision makers in charge of planning for emergencies.…Read More

Viewpoint: No eMail left behind

Cary offers myriad ways for campus IT leaders to protect student information.

Colleges and universities have come to rely on electronic communication as a way to quickly collaborate, exchange ideas, and share data. For the more than 10,000 students, faculty, and staff at Pepperdine University, sharing information digitally–often in the form of large documents, media files, or data files–is a key function of the learning process and critical to our institution’s success.

For example, faculty at Pepperdine frequently collaborate with faculty at other institutions, sharing large data sets and running analysis on that data.  From the student perspective, instruction at Pepperdine University is highly collaborative and team oriented; many student projects involve collaborating on large media files.

Exchanging files in student work groups is particularly challenging for the almost 4,000 fully-employed students in the graduate schools, who often have no chance to meet in person until class time.…Read More

How to grow campus technology amid shrinking resources

Baker led CSU Northridge's conversion to Gmail, which saved the university $160,000 annually.
Baker led CSU Northridge’s conversion to Gmail, which saved $160,000 annually.

Being an IT official at a California university today requires a close look at any measures that can save the campus cash. But Hilary Baker, vice president for IT at California State University Northridge, has found ways to maintain—and even improve—technology services despite massive statewide budget cuts.

Baker, who came to the Northridge campus in 2006, said budget planning has taken on new significance during the country’s economic slump as university technology officials brace for a 5-percent budget cut this year and another 5-percent reduction next year.

“They probably are worse than any of us thought they would be,” Baker said, adding that open IT positions will be left unfilled this year as a cost-cutting measure.…Read More