Technologies and innovations : Cornerstone of higher education institutions

The importance of technology and innovation in higher education

Digital technology has a very important place in education and teaching. Since the COVID-19 crisis, it can even be said that technology is at the centre of the education system. Already ubiquitous for several years in higher education, particularly to meet the demands of an ultra-connected world, new technologies are constantly evolving. Institutions must remain at the cutting edge. Whether it is to remain attractive to students or to improve the quality of learning, it is essential for faculties, business schools or engineering schools to offer the best possible experience to learners.

A need for proximity

The year 2020 has shown us that distance education is a factor that aggravates school dropout, including in higher education programmes which, however, had already been experimenting with distance learning for several years on a few training modules. While multiple factors are implicated in this problem, technological solutions exist to improve the student experience. This pandemic has had the effect of distancing students from teaching teams and professors but also from each other. Both parties feel an intense need to reunite and regain this essential social link for all. If technology allows us to exchange 24/7 with anyone around the world by message or videoconference, the need for physical proximity remains obvious.

Differentiation: a real challenge

Faced with the multitude of courses on offer on the higher education market, institutions today need to differentiate themselves. Beyond the content of the courses, the school environment and the services offered to students are an important factor in the choice, as is the teaching experience. The technological equipment made available to students, teachers and lecturers is an important factor in this choice. In addition to the “essentials”, offering innovative tools can really tip the balance.

Multi-campus institutions: a potential that is sometimes untapped

Many schools have several campuses, whether in France or on the other side of the world. This has many advantages, such as being able to offer international and multicultural curricula internally, or to cross-fertilise professors. However, other advantages are not always full exploited because of the physical distance between sites. With appropriate tools, students on each campus could benefit from cross-curricular courses and participate in joint projects without constraints.

High-performance and innovative technological solutions for higher education

First of all, the establishment must have a recent and efficient computer system. These workstations must be available to students and teachers and must be equipped with the software necessary for teaching.

Secondly, it is essential that the entire campus has a quality Internet connection. Indeed, as student use is very demanding in terms of bandwidth, it is vital to have a high-performance wired or Wifi network. To do this, we offer adapted hardware solutions such as Ubiquiti Unifi or Cisco Meraki. As well as being high-performance, they offer many advantages. They allow you to monitor the connected peripherals. It is thus possible to know, check or ban any type of device, by its brand, model, Mac or IP address. Moreover, thanks to the simplified network diagram, it is easy to know on which equipment the device is connected (switch – router). The technician can then detect malfunctions more quickly.

Monitoring network traffic over the entire infrastructure and tracking data consumption and most visited sites on a device by device basis is possible. In addition, by offering access to a public network, it is imperative for legal reasons to record usage logs.

Finally, it is necessary to ensure maintenance within a short period of time so as not to impact the quality of teaching. Cloud management allows remote access to the Ubiquiti or Cisco network and thus to resolve any failure quickly. It also makes it possible to simply change settings without having to cross the campus.

Differentiate your school with new technological solutions

Finally, if the first equipment mentioned is essential, others will make the difference. Adopting a solution such as La Vitre, would allow an establishment to differentiate itself. This new concept goes much further than simple videoconferencing. La Vitre allows exchanges to take place as naturally as if the protagonists were in the same room. The interlocutor appears in real size on the screen, and multiple functionalities are available to facilitate communication. For example, it would be possible for a student, for example, to chat with a friend on the other side of the world, at the bend in the corridor. Projects and courses would be shared as if the students were in the same room. A teacher based in China could give an attractive course in France without having to travel a single kilometer. A multitude of other uses are possible. This solution could benefit students, teaching staff and school management.

West Info, a specialist in multi-site IT deployments and their maintenance, supports and advises schools in their IT projects. We carry out network audits in order to ensure that they benefit from the best Internet performance. For more information, please contact us.


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