READING, UK – 4th April, 2012 – The University of the West of England has invested in communication and collaboration technology from Microsoft in partnership with HP, Polycom, Juniper and Schneider to transform its teaching environment. The university is using technologies including Microsoft Lync and SharePoint to extend its learning environment beyond the four walls of the classroom and is giving its students the opportunity to learn in a variety of environments as well as the classroom.
The new teaching methods include using Microsoft Lync to stream lectures online and to multiple lecture theatres at once, enabling the university to use its estate in a more efficient way and eliminate double-teaching. Lecturers will have more availability for consultation through instant messaging, while students are given the option of viewing lectures at their convenience by accessing video files via the University’s e learning environment.
The move reflects the increasingly competitive nature of the university marketplace. “Universities are striving to offer the best facilities and environments to attract prospective students,” said Steve West, the Vice-Chancellor at the university. “Students are now thinking more carefully about the financial investment required for their education, so their expectations have increased greatly. It will be through new and innovative learning methods, like those being implemented by us at The University of the West of England, that will make universities stand out from the crowd and appeal to a wider audience of students.”
Steve Tassell, Microsoft’s Unified Communication product marketing manager, explains, “Technology is moving the world towards a far more flexible working model in business, so why shouldn’t this also apply to learning? Students have demanding study regimes and need to show huge commitment to their studies in order to graduate. By implementing this new learning model, The University of the West of England has not only helped its students to learn in more effective and efficient ways, but has also equipped them with the IT skills to succeed in the technology-driven business world of today and the future.”
Partnering with the industry’s leading collaboration and communications service providers including HP, Schneider, Polycom and Juniper, will deliver a competitive advantage to the university. It will provide students access to the latest technologies to enable them to communicate and share their academic work in order to achieve their goals.
Ben Sisson, HP General Manager, UK Education said that, “Our partnership with The University of the West of England is based on a common belief that innovative technology provides both great opportunities for enhancing the learning experience as well as providing students with skills that help improve their chance of getting a job. This project is another example of the pioneering way UWE works with its partners to deliver its employability agenda.”