8 Keys to Bringing a Connected Campus to Life
The learner experience is about more than just the learner’s direct, conscious experience of campus life. A truly connected campus integrates so seamlessly that learners are unaware of the myriad connections being relied upon to make their experience a reality.
There are three broad areas to a connected campus, and there are eight components within these three areas, that an educational institution should activate to bring the connected campus to life.
Physical Safety and Security
Learners, faculty, and staff’s physical safety and security are the basic requirements of a living and thriving campus. This means protection from criminal activities (including sex crimes), natural disasters, fires, accidents and health-related hazards. It requires investment in three main connected components:
- Monitoring and Emergency Notifications
Video surveillance can deter vandalism and more serious crimes, and it is an essential supplement to limited security personnel. Today’s video cameras observe real-time, out-of-place actions and individuals and alert/dispatch security staff.
Digital messaging services that provide instant messaging on tablets and computers are also becoming popular campus security (and general) communication tools.
- Access Control
Physical checkpoints comprising of security officers, metal detectors and x-ray machines have been in place on some campuses for a while now. However, smart cards and biometric systems more effectively secure buildings and provide a valuable footprint in emergencies.
- Social Media Mining
Threat tracker software is increasingly being used to track concerning social media posts. With the reasonable use of these powerful tools, potential threats ranging from suicide and cyberbullying to mass shootings and terrorist attacks can potentially be avoided.
The Learner Experience
Although learners see safety and security as a given, the direct learner experience is the attraction and retention factor that higher education institutions strive for. There are three components of tech investment in this area:
A smooth and streamlined infrastructure experience relies on:
- Robust, reliable and high-performance connectivity
- Best-in-breed network optimization tools
- Back-end data center support, including appropriate networking, processing, and storage (cloud or in-house)
Collaboration and productivity tools have long been a draw-card for learners and faculty alike. Since the Covid-19 pandemic, they have become non-negotiable. Learning Management Systems (LMS) like Pedagogue provide a platform that allows educators to live stream, make audio or video conference calls, share their screen, files, or a virtual whiteboard, and much more.
- Data Security
The move towards digitization and learners’ digital footprints requires institutions to ramp up cybersecurity to facilitate their connected campus plans.
Facilities Management and Energy Efficiency
The efficient use of resources is top of mind for all institutions required to balance ever-tightening budgets. However, learners are increasingly demanding that their spaces be “green.” A connected campus invests in “smart buildings” that make use of energy-efficient tech to do the following:
- Reduce Energy Consumption
Reducing energy is concerned with using less energy and creating, using and re-using the right kinds of energy.
- Predict and Detect Faults
Sophisticated condition-monitoring systems can help detect faults and prevent minor disasters.
When first conceptualized, the connected campus seemed like a utopian dream. Still, the Internet of Things (IoT) has insidiously made it a nearly complete reality on most of our campuses. With some minor tweaks and sensible investment choices, it can be within our control to make the campus experience the best it can be.