What are Student expectations of a Smart Campus?
We asked our technology intern Olivia Elstone to share her views!
As a modern student, working and learning with technology plays a key role in my education. Using Smart Campus technology enables me to effortlessly interact with my teachers and peers, as well as providing the flexibility to easily study off-campus. This innovative IoT creation demonstrates the future role of IT in education – from early learning to graduate degrees.
For those who do are new to the notion of a Smart Campus, the objective in creating a ‘Smart Campus’ is to create services and applications to improve the learning experience and create a safer environment for citizens/students. To do so, Smart Campus uses next-generation technology to link devices, applications and individuals together to create new experiences and improve efficiency. This technology is woven seamlessly within a well-architected infrastructure. Having this seamless connectivity allows students and teachers to connect with one another with new interactive learning models. It achieves this by using digital augmented reality and virtual reality technologies.
Why Universities are turning to Smart Campus
Universities are constantly looking for new ways to further engage students in campus life and introduce more efficient ways to facilitate connectivity between students and teachers. Through smarter technology, universities can find methods to reduce the costs of resources and then redirect those savings to launch new research programs, as well as expand campus facilities and services.
To achieve this Universities are:
- Increasing the connectivity of indoor/outdoor lighting and Smart Lighting, which drives down power costs;
- Increasing Smart environmental controls, which reduces their carbon footprint;
- Using IoT for building automation, which reduces their power consumption while making buildings more responsive to people;
- Looking a Smart water and power management, which creates a greener campus
Universities are also looking at options for delivering Wi-Fi coverage, Students rely heavily on the reliability of Wi-Fi connection and speed. By having widespread connectivity, hassle-free access, personal student networks and five bars of cellular coverage, students and teachers can seamlessly connect with one another.
Students also rely on Wi-Fi for Smart ID cards/smart payments and will soon will be relying on Wi-Fi for Smart transit and parking. Smart transit and parking are location-based services that reduces traffic congestion, thus making it easier to navigate around campus.
Exploring new paths to student engagement
Two more key aspects are the way in which students and teachers connect in class and how students can learn content if they cannot attend university.
Distance learning and lecture capture allows students to have the flexibility to learn and stay up to date with content in an off-campus environment. However, Smart Campus is trying to increase university attendance by introducing flexible learning spaces. To achieve this, universities need to run classes which can be taken outside the traditional classroom, as well as enabling teachers to able to reconfigure rooms to help students benefit from different learning methods and to increase student collaboration.
Universities are investing in collaborative learning in the forms of videoconferencing and digital collaboration tools to create ad-hoc work sessions and attracting experts from across campus or around the world.
How Smart Campus is already benefiting me as a full-time student at RMIT University:
- RMIT University utilises an app called Canvas to allow students to access the information from lectures on our smartphones and tablets. Another app called QLess allows students to book ahead for tech help session, or for student ID help. This app enables students to skip the wait line on campus and quickly resolve their problem.
- RMIT University utilises student cards to allow students to access the University’s classrooms or the library at any time.
- RMIT University utilises Lecture Capture technology and allows students to learn from home if they are unable to attend class. All this information is accessible on ‘Canvas’, an interactive site that allows students and teachers to connect with one another effortlessly.
Smart Campus is currently directed at university campuses, however the IoT technology will soon flow down to high schools, primary schools and potentially kindergarten. Therefore, Wi-Fi connections and security need to be improved as soon as possible to truly create a Home-away-from-Home experience. This experience will allow students and teachers to work with one another effortlessly in a stress-free environment, where everyone feels protected while using smart technology.