Classroom technology – what’s driving university investments?
Classroom technology investment is primarily being driven by innovation and faculty demands. These were identified as the two biggest factors driving investment in new resources for universities. The finding relates to AV and classroom technologies to support teaching and learning, media equipment available to students, as well as investments in learning space facilities. These were the key results from research carried out by Lorensbergs, involving 40 university decision makers from these areas.
Providing cutting edge resources takes high priority when deciding where to invest funds. Participants shared their views that investing in the latest innovations supports universities’ move from analogue to digital technologies. It also reflects and supports changes in course design and the introduction of new courses.
Many felt strongly about the need for technology investments to boost their institutions’ competitiveness with other universities, but there was less consensus here. 40% felt it was ‘very important’ as a driving factor, with 30% considering it only ‘quite important’. This was the most polarized view indicating that ambitions vary between, and even within, universities in using technology to increase student satisfaction and institution attractiveness.
A need for better systems
There is still much scope to improve how asset management is handled. At present less than 50% of institutions are using specialized systems to help them with tracking and lifecycle management of equipment. Of these, a third are still relying in part on spreadsheets or in-house systems. Overall, 50% of institutions are using spreadsheets to manage equipment with 20% of these still relying also on paper-based systems.
This situation is at odds with the investments being made in the resources themselves – often expensive, highly-specialized equipment which requires training before handling, plus regular servicing and maintenance. Relying on manual systems – that are often time-intensive when it comes to tracking and managing inventory – leaves less time for staff to maintain the equipment and prepare staff or students for using it. Usage levels can also be compromised for loanable inventory if systems fail to promote and enable access to the resources available.
Managing inventory while supporting students
Technicians are striving to find more contact time with students, seeing this as an invaluable part of the student experience – spending quality time with students builds their competence in handling the latest equipment. Only with the right systems in place are staff truly empowered to achieve this, so realizing the full potential of new equipment introduction. Investment in the right classroom technology systems can really pay off. Now it just needs to be incorporated in new inventory planning from the start.
Connect2 is an online solution designed for universities and colleges to showcase resources, manage inventory and offer students an easy to use reservation facility.
Connect2 enables academic institutions to support fair access, promote good borrowing practices while increasing resource utilization. The connect2 solution is integrated into the operations of over 100 universities and colleges.
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