Today’s students have grown up with technology constantly at their fingertips; which is set to develop even further in 2018 where personal devices are integrated into the working environment in HE, and students expect more collaboration opportunities and spaces within their university.
Collaboration tools are everywhere and the Microsoft Surface Hub is leading the way in developing the market and its possibilities for faculties. Students today game online with people on the other side of the planet as if they were in their living room and don’t expect location to hold up their learning. Tutors are increasingly based away from campus and rely on technology to create collaboration with students in real time and without them jumping on a train or flight.
Universities need to think globally as well as individually in creating collaboration spaces, creating connectivity to the outside world, organising secure sharing of files and encouraging an active working relationship within student communities, as well as with tutors and industry experts in a fluid and engaging way.
Here are the five spaces we predict will most benefit from collaboration technologies in higher education:
Libraries are no longer just spaces for dusty books, nor are they just internet cafes. They are evolving to suit the needs of the modern-day student, featuring research materials, electronic textbooks, interactive areas and dedicated study spaces for individuals and groups.
These group study spaces in particular are the ideal areas for collaboration tools. Groups can link their devices to the platform wirelessly, and access their own work files, that of the library and of their comrades to complete a group task. In a development which has only really come to fruition over the last 18 months, they can now collaborate on documents, speak to remote people through Skype and create meaningful presentations simultaneously.
When a student is logged into their profile on the platform, their list of Skype contacts downloads automatically, so for students who are unable to attend the group meetings; they can be linked through Skype at a simple touch of a button. Using Skype on the platform won’t interrupt other Office 365 applications; they run side by side and so remote students can share opinion and contribute to the group’s efforts as well.
Research centres in universities across the country are regularly combining their expertise with specialists and researchers in other institutions, both domestically and across the world. Even when research projects take place in Anguilla, Nigeria, or Thailand, collaboration platforms can be used to make the process seamless and stress-free.
Data can be disseminated and measured as a group, with experts from across the world all having access at the same time. The quality of the video and sound now possible on the Microsoft Surface Hub means that discussions can be uninterrupted and high quality, as well as recorded and used as agenda minutes that can be sent to the group immediately following the meeting; reducing cumbersome admin time.
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