Instructional studios are great space-saving resources for teaching online-only courses or recording lectures for distribution. With a small footprint and minimal equipment, instructors can reach hundreds of students with a few clicks.
But despite the small amount of equipment required, instructional studios still add tech resources to the overall university ecosystem, and with these added resources comes added management, maintenance and troubleshooting. Here are three tips for ensuring that instructional studio management doesn’t overburden your technical staff.
FIND OUT: How colleges and universities can use instructional studios.
Make Detailed Planning a Priority
The process for maintaining and managing instructional studios begins before the space is even designed.
Selecting a location for the studio can be the most challenging part for some institutions where space is at a premium. Whether you’re planning to convert an unused classroom or a supply closet into an instructional studio, assess its current state and determine what will need to be installed to make the space function as an instructional studio. Are there enough outlets? How is the internet connection? Will you need better lighting or acoustics? Addressing these questions early on will help eliminate headaches later in the process.
Take stock of your current technology inventory and determine whether you’ll need to purchase new equipment. Just because you have unused equipment, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will work well in an instructional studio. CDW•G can help evaluate your current tech ecosystem to select products that will easily integrate.
Before you commit to space design or equipment, we can provide product demonstrations and share examples of other instructional studio configurations. By being as prepared as possible before deployment, you can eliminate pain points down the line.
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Standardize Technology for Ease of Use
When adding new technology to your institution’s ecosystem, make sure your setup is as user-friendly as possible. To accomplish this, it’s best to stick with what the instructors already know how to use.
Simplicity is key. Keep technology as consistent as possible between classrooms and minimize the number of steps it takes to accomplish any task to create a seamless experience for instructors.
A solution provider like CDW•G can help evaluate the technology your campus currently uses to design a system your instructors will feel immediately comfortable with.
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Provide Clear Faculty Training and Documentation
Even if your instructional studio uses the equipment instructors are used to, there still may be a learning curve for teaching in this new environment, so training likely will be required.
Training faculty to use an instructional studio doesn’t always have to involve in-person sessions. Detailed documentation and instructional videos can go a long way toward teaching faculty how to get the most out of the equipment in the room. Creating an instructional video will take up some of the IT staff’s time up front, but it will create efficiencies in the long run and minimize service requests for potential problems that faculty can easily fix on their own.
In-person trainings can be helpful as well, but conduct them as a group rather than individually. Only include the faculty members who will be using the studio and consider getting them together once a quarter to go over any new technology and troubleshoot issues in a group setting.
When designing an instructional studio, combining effective training with proactive planning and equipment standardization will help minimize the burden on your university’s IT staff. The expertise of a partner like CDW•G can provide proactive planning advice and guidance for extra peace of mind.
This article is part of EdTech: Focus on Higher Education’s UniversITy blog series.