Dan Diehl, Paul O’Malley & Lou Ronsivalli.
Facilitating Wireless Collaboration at De Montfort University17 July 2018 / by Mersive Technologies Inc (author) / Denver
Installing this technology throughout the University allows users to wirelessly share content on collaborative displays enabling both teachers and students in a single room to easily share information from any device enabling a more creative and inclusive learning environment.
An initial installation of 5 Solstice Pods was undertaken in the Leicester Castle Business School building, which is a historic, Grade 1 listed building that was formerly a criminal law court. Out of respect for the fabric of the building, any solution needs to be wireless. The lecture theatres also have a unique format due to the building’s previous use, with students seated in a semicircle around the lecturer – which facilitates a ‘Harvard Style’ for teaching. DMU installed Solstice to deliver an improved AV experience where users can switch between laptops, phones or tablets to easily share and display information wirelessly, improving workflows and promoting more creative discussions.
De Montfort University has one of the largest populations of disabled students in the country, and Solstice Pods have helped to support these students in achieving their full potential. Working within Disability Advice and Support in Student Welfare, Leanne Herbert, DMU’s Disability Officer, supports autistic students including those with Asperger's, and works closely with different teams and agencies to ensure the appropriate support is available. Since the installation of Solstice Pods, Leanne said, "It has been fantastic for meetings and I’m looking forward to using this with the students to easily demonstrate the set up for the “Brain in Hand” app, an assistive personalised technology that we offer our 200 autistic students. The app requires the demonstration of a website alongside the mobile app, and with Mersive technology in place, I can switch between both really easily and well."
Dr. Nathan Jeffery, Multi Media Services Manager at De Montfort University, said, “I have been interested in wireless display technologies for five years, and after researching, using and experiencing many different technologies, have decided to standardise on using Solstice Pods for future projects at the University. There are many wireless solutions on the market, but not all of them offer a collaborative approach with such an intuitive and easy to use interface. We have already installed over 50 throughout the campus in a wide array of scenarios as they have proved they provide an innovative and creative way for everyone in the room to easily display and share content for everyone to see. The easy management of any technology across the whole estate is also crucial and the intuitive dashboard allows access to control any or all of the pods within the wireless umbrella via a single point of access and a single mouse click.”
“At DMU, we are focussed on providing an inclusive and stimulating learning environment that recognises the value of co-creation, and Mersive Solstice Pods helps us realise this,” continued Dr. Jeffery. “A member of staff from The Faculty of Business and Law uses a wheelchair and this technology has also provided them with the ability to move freely around the classroom and present from anywhere within the space, rather than having to be tethered to the technology at the front of the room with wires. The teaching space also has a low level height adjustable whiteboard that he is able to write on, with a camera that relays this content to the students in real time.”
DMU’s new Vijay Patel building is the centrepiece of a £136 million Campus Transformation Project, bringing art and design together into a striking building that provides the space and facilities for students and staff to develop new ideas. The front of the building is adorned with a 76 square meter landscape LED video wall utilising a Mersive Solstice pod to share up-to-date videos, information and events within the public space. During open days, staff are able to throw relevant content up onto the wall in real time as the need arises – though this facility is carefully controlled using a password.
The Collaboratory is a multi-use space where technology and creativity come together to support and develop innovative approaches to learning and teaching. Often used for staff training and development sessions, it is particularly useful for running small group workshop style activities, and the inclusion of the Mersive Solstice Pods to incorporate an interactive digital component, enhances what can be delivered in the space.
DMU has also ensured the content presented on the Mersive device can be captured by the lecture capture solution (DMU Replay) within any of these classroom spaces, adding to the Unified Design for Learning (UDL) initiative and ensuring that students can review the teaching experience independent of the device used for presentation.
Mersive Founder and CTO Christopher Jaynes added, “It is really exciting to see how customers grow with Solstice once they have put it in. We are excited about the way that De Montfort University is using Solstice to transform its teaching to all students, and particularly to improve its support of disabled students and staff. We are actively working with Dr Jeffery and his team to help them make full use of new capabilities of Solstice as we roll them out.”
“We are a dynamic University and Mersive is helping us to achieve our vision of providing the highest quality spaces for academics and students and offer them the opportunity to think outside the box,” concluded Dr Jeffery.
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