Flipping the Script: Report from UBTech

Demand for webcasting, lecture capture, and other incarnations of video on campus is increasingly significantly. Simply put, campus video is having a banner year; video tools for teaching/learning is now “commonplace" in higher education, according to a new Kaltura report, while flipped classrooms are becoming a widely used form of pedagogy. And video isn’t the only category that’s worth “watching” right now. Instructional technology, campus IT, virtualization, AV/IT convergence, mobile tech policy and practice are experiencing rapid changes. That’s why UBTech 2015—running today through Wednesday at the Rosen Shingle Creek in Orlando, Florida—is examining the challenges and opportunities of innovation on campus. The show floor is a beehive of activity, demonstrations, and technology "test drives," but my favorite part of the show are the panels and sessions. I've highlighted notable titles below. If you aren't on your way to Orlando, you are welcome to register for a virtual pass for streaming content from the show.

What's trending at UBTech?

1) Bring Your Own Everything
The mobile explosion on campus isn't likely to slow down anytime soon. As device usage increases exponentially, IT teams are faced with a daunting task—making sure networks can handle the increase while also providing more bandwidth per user. The increasing reliance on BYOD, IoT, and social media in the classroom has meant that Universities need to utilize the latest unified networking techniques to deliver a new education experience in the class room.

2) Managed Mobility
Is your IT department having trouble navigating the shifting seas of mobile devices and the security threats that accompany them? Managed mobility services provided by a third party could help you stay afloat. A few sessions this week broach this increasing trend.

3) Accessibility
The recent edX lawsuits around accessible online content will undoubtedly raise awareness around the importance of creating content that can be accessed by students who are differently abled. UBTech attendees are eager to learn how to make AV design and online content (vis a vis flipped learning) more universal, accessible, and usable in general.

4) Classroom Design Standards
Q: Who needs an AV design and technical standards document? A: You. An AV comprehensive design standards doc is like a roadmap or GPS. Every stakeholder of classroom AV can reference it. It can help unify understanding around a topic, clarify KPIs toward the institution's audiovisual strategic goals, and demystify the process.

5) Cloud Computing
Cloud computing solutions for higher ed institutions are not one-size-fits-all, but they share some common ground. At UBTech, experts delve into what schools should expect when migrating to the cloud.

6) When to Manage Your Own AV & When to Engage Contractors?
Don’t miss UBTech’s session "Managing Your Own AV Projects” on Monday, June 15, 2015- 2:30pm to 3:10pm at the Rosen’s St. Johns 26 & 27. The session will focus on management best practices: "From single rooms to entire buildings, AV projects come in all shapes and sizes. The AV technology and needed changes to the room environment can be straightforward, or complex. So, can you be your own project manager? How do you know? This session looks at how an organization can improve efficiency and potentially save money by striking a strategic balance managing its own projects and engaging outside help. Clemson University has had in-house AV support since the mid-90s. Today some projects are run internally, and others involve architects and AV consultants. The presenters will share experiences, offer examples, and discuss strategies for managing large and small projects."

7) Big Data is a Big Deal
Universities from across the country are preparing to dig in to the massive amounts of data to see how virtual programs affect student test scores. A great example: the data-based initiative at Georgia State. The school has seen an 11 percentage point increase in its graduation rates over the past five years and is now conferring 1,700 more degrees than it did five years ago. Attend this session to learn more about the specific ways that Georgia State uses predictive data to increase student success. Session Date: Monday, June 15, 2015 - 2:30pm to 3:10pm; Speaker: Tim Renick; Location: St. Johns 32, 33 & 34

8) Collaboration
Collaboration is absolutely the buzzword at this show. University tech managers want wireless classroom solution that combines control and HDMI/HDBaseT signal distribution. But who defines collaboration? How much buy-in do you need? What technologies really support the collaboration that meets learning outcomes?

9) Flipping the Script!
Don’t miss the Grand Opening Keynote and AMX Innovation Awards on Monday, June 15, 2015, 4:15pm to 5:15pm. Keynote speaker, Donald Farish, is an outspoken proponent of access and affordability in higher ed. Farish says colleges—and students—need to be more realistic about what to expect. This is guaranteed to be a spirited talk, and relevant for every higher ed stakeholder. See you there!

Margot Douaihy, Ph.D.

Margot Douaihy, Ph.D., is a lecturer at Franklin Pierce University.