How can Universities keep up with the changingneeds of Generation Z?
Author: Tony Molloy, European Business Development Manager-Higher Education
The current crop of students is the first in history to attend University having grown up immersed in a digital world. They’ve never experienced painfully slow dial up internet speeds, they expect every screen to be touch enabled and would be certain to look perplexed if asked to load an application using MS-DOS.
So how do universities meet the needs of an evolving group of young minds?
Panasonic have been one of the front-runners in regard to providing the technological backbone behind the so called ‘flipped classroom’, working with Panopto to create lecture capture solutions designed for the university market.
The software is combined with high brightness laser projection or professional display technology and high definition remote PTZ cameras to record both presentation slides, presenter and audio simultaneously which can then be uploaded and accessed online by students.
The perception among many industry leaders is that this will ultimately lead to more students taking advantage of a lie in rather than heading to their 9am lecture on quantum mechanics (in my case it always seemed to be the accounting and finance modules).
But in fact, the implementation of lecture capture at Edge Hill University has successfully enhanced the student experience. Three separate lecture theatres have been designed with complete flexibility in mind. Each combines Panasonic laser projectors, 4K remote cameras, alongside 65 inch repeater panels and Panopto's all-in-one video platform.
“We were concerned we’d see a drop in lecture attendance,” said Don Moffatt, media technology development manager at Edge Hill University. “The reality is that the opposite is true. We have seen more students attending the lectures – we think that’s because they can concentrate fully on the teaching without having to slavishly take notes.”
Higher education institutions, particularly universities are continuously striving to improve the student experience in an attempt to remain competitive. New research from Panasonic suggests that 91% of European universities polled were considering the introduction of lecture capture systems. And, while nearly all the universities surveyed in the UK already have some level of lecture capture technology installed, nearly half are planning further systems within the next year.
The reason for this is simple, the question of whether universities provide ‘value for money’ has come under increased scrutiny over recent years, due to rising tuition fees and students increasingly demanding more out of their educational experience. Distance based learning is also growing in importance as universities attempt to appeal to part-time and international students.
The Panasonic whitepaper found that lecture capture technology is also seen by a quarter of respondents (25%) as an exciting new potential marketing tool. With many universities having links with other institutions overseas or setting up satellite campuses, which then have a ready-made library of lecture material available at the press of a button or, in some cases, streamed live. Studying through a local overseas university franchise is cheaper for many foreign students than going to the UK and a growing possibility for adventurous UK students put off by high tuition fees and debt.
As the quality of technology develops it is now the case that the education sector has become largely reliant on AV to deliver their teaching. This becomes a challenge in terms of maintaining technology, never a problem in a world of chalk boards and acetate projection.
What we have noticed is that there is a migration from lamp projection to laser as they offer a better return on investment. Panasonic’s laser projection range comes in both LCD and DLP™ with 20,000 hours of maintenance free operation and long-lasting brightness, this makes them an ideal choice for higher education institutions, who have recognised that laser presents a more prudent investment, due to no lamp replacements and filter changes.
More technically savvy, Generation Z are now the new individuals entering the higher education sector, having grown up with technology embedded into their schooling - so they expect similar opportunities when they enter higher education. The challenge for any education establishment is keeping students engaged in the material and helping identify the methods of learning which suit them best.