Alasdair McCormick from Ricoh UK discusses how technology can enhance the university experience for students across the country.
Some of the UK’s leading institutions are now competing on more than just academic credibility- attracting and retaining the brightest students for undergraduate and master’s degrees require enhancing the student experience. Providing the right technology is a key part of this and students are expecting a second-to-none experience as the cost of higher education soars in the UK.
Think of the deluge of essays that various subject departments receive from students every day. It’s no surprise that academic institutions form some of the most paper-heavy environments, which rely on print solutions to help manage vast amounts of information. However, the challenge facing IT decision-makers is how best to improve efficiencies and bring down costs across the university, without compromising its ability to deliver on quality education services to its students- the customers.
Setting the benchmark
The power of ‘good’ technology and solutions should not be underestimated. Technology has the potential to be the benchmark by which students select their top universities of choice. Implementing online learning seminars, offering remote working solutions such as providing single sign-on to portals and the introduction of dynamic access to information around academic performance, will become key differentiators as we move further still into the ‘digital age’.
Sunderland University is an example of an institution that is making steps to move into improve its overall IT. The university deployed managed print services (MPS) across campus. The MPS can be used on a wide range of print jobs including work for students such as handbooks and essays, and include software to manage and control print devices cross the university. This kind of technology has strong benefits- students can confidently print, copy and scan work when they need it, without compromising on quality. This may sound simple on the surface- but it is this kind of technology that can help to streamline processes and improve the overall student experience.
Time to collaborate
University should be a time for collaborative learning experiences, for both students and professors alike. Like in schools, technology such as interactive whiteboards has the capability to help professors and mentors deliver a more interactive teaching method. Moreover, greater use of technology can help students and mentors work more closely in the learning process. Feedback on dissertations and projects could be sent over to students at the click of a button via online portals. Not only will this help in reducing print costs, but will ultimately create a more personalised, engaging learning experience in the future.
Higher education institutions must adapt to the requirements and needs of their students in the digital age. Managed print services, simplifying processes with greater availability of technology and ease of access to materials through digital channels can help students with studying for their degrees. And ultimately help in retaining the brightest minds for post-graduate master’s courses.
Alasdair McCormick is national sales director, Ricoh UK
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