On Higher Ed Tech: Absen

FRED CAIN CTS-D, ISF-C, DSCE, Industry Development Director, Consultant Community Absen
(Image credit: Future)

AVT Question: Please share insight and best practices for designing the higher ed classroom for today and the future.

Thought Leader: Fred Cain, Industry Development Director, Consultant Community at Absen

Distance learning has been a phrase in the AV/IT industry for years. It began in the corporate world where large enterprise companies wanted to keep their teams current without the expense of travel and lodging. In the higher education space, the implementation of lecture capture systems has enabled students to stay current if they missed a class or needed an additional refresher to understand a difficult topic. The advent of simple and affordable streaming has made these lectures available on demand easily and readily, both on campus-wide networks and on the public internet. 

My suggestion is to start with all the bandwidth you can afford, because as AV/IT ecosystems continue to merge, they are going to need it." —Fred Cain, Industry Development Director, Consultant Community at Absen

Capturing the content of a lecture and streaming it to students is just the end result of a complex planning and design process. It must balance the capabilities of the LAN/WAN infrastructure; the requirements for in-classroom and remote participants and their ability to absorb material; as well as the pedagogy of instructors and their comfort level with the use of these tools. 

Technology managers have to design classrooms with all of this in mind. How do we capture the most appropriate video of the instructor, capture the most intelligible audio, share content from presentations, get replies from remote participants, and more? Are these individual classroom systems all standalone, or are they part of a larger networked ecosystem? How do students connect to the network that is sharing these streams, and how many wireless devices do you plan for per student—including phones, laptops, and tablets? We all carry so many of these devices on a daily basis. 

These are all questions that need to be considered to guarantee a valuable experience in the classroom for all participants. Higher education technology managers have a difficult job in front of them. My suggestion is to start with all the bandwidth you can afford, because as AV/IT ecosystems continue to merge, they are going to need it.

Cindy Davis
Brand and content director of AV Technology

Cindy Davis is the brand and content director of AV Technology (AVT). She was a critical member of the AVT editorial team when the title won the “Best Media Brand” laurel in the 2018 SIIA Jesse H. Neal Awards. Davis moderates several monthly AV/IT roundtables and enjoys facilitating and engaging in deeper conversations about the complex topics shaping the ever-evolving AV/IT industry. She explores the ethos of collaboration, hybrid workplaces, experiential spaces, and artificial intelligence to share with readers. Previously, she developed the TechDecisions brand of content sites for EH Publishing, named one of the “10 Great Business Media Websites” by B2B Media Business magazine. For more than 25 years, Davis has developed and delivered multiplatform content for AV/IT B2B and consumer electronics B2C publications, associations, and companies. A lifelong New Englander, Davis makes time for coastal hikes with her husband, Gary, and their Vizsla rescue, Dixie, sailing on one of Gloucester’s great schooners and sampling local IPAs. Connect with her on LinkedIn