How To Equip Your Higher Education Collaboration Spaces For Student Success
Students in higher education usually have more than enough on their plates, juggling mounds of coursework with part-time jobs and forming the social networks that will help them in their future careers. Group projects and collaborative study sessions can be easily sidelined thanks to these varied schedules, and commutes in busy urban areas only complicate matters further.
Higher education is no stranger to turning to technological solutions for its problems, but the ability to conveniently collaborate has been a major sticking point in colleges and universities for decades. Thankfully, one solution has emerged that lets students easily collaborate even if it’s impossible for one or more to make it to the same location: virtual conferencing.
Let's Meet Up At The Library
The university or college library is the quintessential coworking space for students, with most being equipped with various collaboration spaces, including smaller huddle rooms for smaller teams and larger conference rooms for larger groups. These have been the traditional meeting spaces for students looking to work with one another on group projects, study sessions, or club events.
The student lifestyle has always been a busy one, however, and finding a time for everyone to be present for a meeting has been a consistent challenge. Higher educational facilities have been trying to alleviate these issues by incorporating more and more remote collaboration tools in their coworking rooms, including webcams, speakerphones, and an assortment of other DIY audio-visual systems.
These slapdash AV systems often leave much to be desired, with consistent audio disruptions and poor performance being a consistent complaint. Students also balk at the prospect of hooking up a complex conferencing system every time they need to make a video call, creating the need for a streamlined and intuitive method for students to use their own devices in a collaboration space.
Principle One: High Quality Audio Is The Real Key To Successful Collaboration
Remote collaboration only works if the participants can actually communicate with one another, and that communication usually depends on consistent audio. DIY sound systems are often marred by audio disruptions, including echoes, reverberation, and sound glitches. All-in-one systems can help alleviate these problems but are usually not enough to provide pickup for an entire room.
This is where audio ecosystems come into play. Audio ecosystems are a combination of hardware (speakers, speakerphones, and microphones) and software that allow each part of the audio system to work seamlessly together.
The Stem Ecosystem goes a step further by allowing IT teams to customize their device mix to provide optimal coverage for collaboration spaces of all sizes and layouts. Speakerphone devices like Wall or Table can be used standalone for huddle rooms, while Speaker and Ceiling provide the perfect coverage area for the larger collaboration spaces on your campus.
This alleviates common pain points experienced with subpar audio setups, where valuable time is lost to asking for repetitions or, worse, misinterpreting information due to glitches and unclear audio. The effectuality of high-caliber, crystal-clear audio cannot be understated in promoting an environment where ideas are exchanged freely.
Principle Two: A Hassle-Free Philosophy
While most higher education coworking spaces provide students with dedicated computers for their conferencing needs, the number of specialized software needs for different majors means students may have to use their own devices during meetings. If the conferencing system is a complicated mass of cable connections, there will inevitably be problems.
If there’s one thing students hate, it’s complicated tech accessories and gadgets that do nothing but complicate an otherwise simple process. Complicated AV systems that force students to participate in an involved setup process are just trading one hassle for another, encouraging them to find alternatives that may impact their ability to collaborate.
Simplifying the setup by offering BYOD conferencing systems like Barco and Airtame can drastically simplify this process. These systems allow for either a single wire or a wireless connection to the conferencing system hub to be used, letting students simply download an app or plug in an ethernet cord into their personal devices.
Simplifying each component of the conferencing system can also work. Each Stem Ecosystem device connects to the rest of the devices in the ecosystem through the room’s local network. This means any computer that is also connected to that network can seamlessly use the ecosystem to power its conferencing audio.
By creating a simple and high-quality conferencing experience, higher education institutions can make collaborative work engaging and rewarding for students. Even if they still struggle with heavy class loads and a punishing extracurricular schedule, by having hybrid coworking environments made available to them, you take away a significant source of stress and provide greater opportunities for success.