Life in print
Print specialists Canon have teamed up with HE institutions to implement efficient and cost-effective printing solutions
We spoke to Lorna Mckanna-Maulkin, Print Service Manager at the University of Brighton, and Canon’s Head of Graphic Arts & Communications, Wayne Barlow, about the role of print in education, and how implementing well-designed and considered technology can mean more efficient costing and time management.
How has the way students use printing and their expectations evolved over recent years?
Lorna Mckanna-Maulkin (LM): Access is a big issue. As a University we are a multi-site campus and students shouldn’t have to travel far to fulfil their print requirements. With the support of Canon, we have been able to open a print facility at our Grand Parade campus, where our art students are based, meaning we can offer them varied, reliable printing right on their doorstep. After location and reliability, cost is the next biggest concern for students. Our partnership with Canon represents great value and we’re able to pass those savings on to our students.
Wayne Barlow (WB): Higher university fees have raised expectations, and students now demand the best standards of teaching, facilities and technology. Students today expect technology to meet a variety of requirements from supporting their learning to realising their creativity. Print illustrates this point perfectly; with art students needing to print intricate designs, and architects printing incredibly detailed, accurate and large-scale plans. One institution excelling in this area is the University of Loughborough, which has installed a solution that allows art students to print their designs onto wallpaper.
What is the role of print in supporting education?
LM: In order to support students, we have worked to provide a wide variety of printing services across the campus. At our Grand Parade Print Facility we have a Canon imagePRESS C700 which means students can print at an exceptional 2,400 dpi resolution. Our current fleet supports up to A0, affording students the opportunity to create prints in a vast range of styles in great quality.
WB: The role of technology in education is two-fold. Firstly, to support both students and faculty members in completing the work they undertake. Secondly, and just as importantly, is to help give students the skills they will need in the working world. For example, access to technology such as 3D printing can give future architects and designers real-world skills that will increase their employability. The University of Nottingham introduced 3D printing to meet high student demand in its Department of Architecture and it is now regarded as a world leader.
How has student feedback informed the facilities you provide?
LM: The student experience and feedback are very important to us at Brighton; we regularly survey our students and really listen to what they are telling us. Following the success of our Grand Parade print facility, we are looking to open a second print facility in Eastbourne. We’ve taken these steps after consultation with our students to provide them with facilities that they want and will use.
How can institutions stand out from the crowd when it comes to technology?
LM: At Brighton we employ students to work on our print counters. This enables students to gain valuable, on-the-job skills and work with the technology they’ll be using during their careers. It also allows for a more collaborative environment. We have architecture students working on the counter and they are able to help other students when they come to print, allowing knowledge to be shared. We also offer a one-to-one print while-you-wait service meaning students are served in the fastest possible manner.
WB: The technology industry is working hard to make sure both the institutions themselves and students can benefit from the latest technologies. Printing should be reliable, affordable and accessible 24 hours a day. Students in fields as varied as architecture, engineering and art should have their different needs catered for. The latest technology, from wide format print to mobile connectivity, should be available to aid students learning and mark out establishments as truly innovative.
How can print technology help ensure the smooth operation of a university?
LM: Graduation time is a high-pressure period for our print department. It places a greater demand on our infrastructure than any other time of year, as we need to produce certificates, wristbands, degree ceremony programmes, and various other documents. To support this, Canon offers us a Temporary Speed License, something no other supplier does. The license boosts print speed for a limited time, helping us accommodate peak activity periods. Canon also provides engineers on standby to clean and check the machines during these peak periods. Our environmental goals are supported with products such as the varioPRINT 135 and Océ ColorWave 650 and Canon’s ‘No Ozone’ imaging technology, which reduces consumption of energy and resources. By working closely with Canon, we have a very reliable service that can only benefit our students and our staff and help the University to run smoothly.
WB: Both back office staff and tutors rely on technology to ensure the smooth running of courses. The University of Glasgow’s print production department was struggling to control its print strategy, management, and cost. The introduction of a fully managed print service has allowed the university to operate more efficiently. Documents are now produced much more reliably and consistently, and at a more cost-effective rate; the university expects to save over £5.5m over five years.
How tech can be harnessed to improve student experience
By Wayne Barlow, Head of Graphic Arts & Communications, Canon UK
Since 2006 and the rise in tuition fees, the UK has seen a shift in power from universities to students. The landscape today is a buyers’ market, with greater choice meaning selection decisions are more considered and informed than ever. Universities have to constantly review their offering to ensure they stay ahead in a competitive market. Students are now paying more and expect a higher level of experience. They not only research and compare courses but also the facilities, using peer feedback and student satisfaction surveys to make their decisions.
Students also rely on technology now more than ever before. This means everything from laptops to printing resources is coming under scrutiny. Universities are expected to have everything a student needs to explore their creativity and to learn; and all at a cost-effective rate. The technology on offer should now match the standards of teaching, and ultimately provide students with the most holistic experience possible.
And it is not just students that use technology at a university. Technology can also help universities manage their organisations better, enhancing the student experience. Everything from student applications to course timetables is impacted by the efficient deployment of technology.