Aug 21 2012

How to Ensure Technology Supports Learning and Teaching

Examples of technology powering modern college campuses.

Sometimes, IT staffs are so focused on deploying new systems that they lose sight of the real effect they have on teaching and learning. This issue showcases several examples in which backbone networking and storage, software products and classroom technology all play a central role in shaping the modern college campus.

The issue’s lead feature, “Flipping the Switch," is based on the CDW•G Learn Now, Lecture Later report, which examines how new learning models, such as the flipped classroom, are having an impact on learning at K–12 schools and colleges. While nearly half of surveyed faculty are moving away from the lecture model, what’s significant from an IT perspective is that for the flipped classroom to succeed, 87 percent of IT professionals say they first need to upgrade their institution’s infrastructure.

Lassen Community College in Susanville, Calif., overhauled its IT infrastructure extensively to support the flipped classroom. “We need to reach our students with the methods that they are accustomed to,” says Elaine Theobald, Lassen’s IT specialist. “Our current generation is very electronically adept. That’s how they want to do everything. We have to appeal to their learning style.”

Fiber Power

At Columbia College Chicago, a private arts, media and film school, a dark fiber ring delivers a tenfold increase in bandwidth speeds. Now, as media projects at the college grow more video-intensive, the IT department can add the bandwidth that’s needed to support students, staff and faculty. Learn more about Columbia College Chicago’s network in “The Bandwidth to Perform."

Managing video to support student projects also was a major focus at Florida Atlantic University. For the IT staff at FAU, the solution was installing a virtualized NetApp storage area network. The system can accommodate larger video files, which means faculty can run lecture capture in high definition. To learn more about FAU’s new storage system, read “Center of Attention."

Technology truly is driving positive change at colleges and universities. As you move forward with IT project deployments, never lose sight of that message.