The Integration and Advancement of University Technologies
As the of use of technology rises in everyday life, so does the usage throughout universities. Whether or not you agree with the increased use of technology in universities, it is only set to expand.
Universities have been using online workspaces for many years, with students being able to access lecture slides, emails and coursework deadline notifications. Universities are now turning to new and unfamiliar developments to set themselves apart from their competitors.
QR Codes and Online Portals
Traditional forms of marking attendance, like putting a tick next to someone’s name or getting students to sign in, is being overtaken by new tech innovations. They are moving towards technologies such as scanning QR codes to mark attendance electronically. On large courses, physically taking attendance during lectures faced some drawbacks due to the extensive efforts for both teaching staff and students. This, however, could be resolved by large scale implementation of QR code technologies. Although it has its benefits, opposing views are inevitable, for example all students will need to have access to a smartphone and there must be constant access to the internet. Nonetheless, if any of these fail, the ‘old fashioned’ paper and pen can still be put to use.
The use of online portals has become more extensive, not only in universities but also secondary schools. The implementation allows easy access to data and information at the click of a button. With students able to access timetables; featuring live updates, module information and employability services, students have constant access. Although this may seem like a good idea, university courses are gradually moving towards students submitting all work, including dissertations, electronically. Whilst this does save printing efforts and money, the sense of pride and self-achievement of handing in a physical, bound hard copy of the dissertation might be lost.
App-lied Learning and Student Cards
There has also been a shift from online web based portals to university phone apps. With access to the same services provided through the web based portal, apps also provide new benefits. The ability to check PC and library room availability and access employability services has made university life quicker and easier for all those involved.
Student cards have also developed new technological uses. As some university buildings are only accessible via a swipe of a student card, universities are able to gather more data on specific students via their card. Analytic resources, like student dashboards, to benefit student and staff members are being put in place. This measures student interactions with various resources, presenting an overall picture of student engagement. Although there are positive benefits for such systems, some students disapprove as staff can ‘check up’ on what buildings they have been in, whether they are attending lectures and how often they access online resources.
Other tech advances for recording lectures are being put in place throughout universities. Lecture capture is used to automatically record lectures, with students able to access this through their online portal. This service could be used in two ways: 1) for those students who attended the lecture who want clarification on a topic or, 2) for students who didn’t attend the lecture and want to catch up on what they have missed. Does this mean students may stop attending lectures as they know they can access the recording at a later date? Will technology replace or change the role of lecturers?
Here at Roller we understand the ways in which universities can benefit from new technologies. The use of mobile phones and thus mobile applications have become a big part of everyday lives especially for the Millennials.
With a combination of modern and forward thinking, the Huddersfield University Application provided more than just another app taking up phone storage. This app offered prospective students to access different kinds of information, from live campus tours to course information. In order to access information on the app, students had to sign up using their personal email addresses. As well as allowing access for prospective students, it also provided university admin teams a record of people interested in different courses. In order to further engage students, the app also provided a platform for students to ‘live chat’ with university professors. This allowed students to ask questions about anything from course details or specific modules to just day-to-day life at university.Along with the ability to chat with lecturers, students could also go on virtual tours around the halls of residence and the campus. There was also access to information about the local area, from pubs and bars and places to visit at weekends. The app enabled the students to become familiar with the university as a whole and the local area and gave them a feel as to what it would be like if they became students there.
Whilst signing up, students had to provide information as to what course they were interested in. Subsequent to this information being provided, the university could then give suggestions about other related courses that they might have an interest in. For most students, going to university is the first time they will be living away from home and budgeting for themselves. The university app provided a budget tool for fees and finance in order to help students budget on a monthly basis.
Whilst the benefits of technology usage in universities is undeniable, there is still a place for face-to-face contact.