No one at Oklahoma Christian University foresaw the future of technology when the campus started going wireless in 2000. It simply was a better option than rewiring all the old buildings.
“We just were looking for a cost-effective way,” said John Hermes, chief technology officer. “It’s exploded to what it is today. Nobody plugs in anymore. They just expect the wireless to be there.”
Just a few access points in each building was sufficient in the beginning, Hermes said.
“Today we’ve quadrupled the number of access points and it grows every year,” he said.
Students don’t just bring laptops, tablets and smartphones to college, he said. They bring wireless TVs and game systems. They bring their habits of streaming Netflix and YouTube and soon they are “sucking bandwidth to do that.”
Faculty and staff also require wireless service.
For faculty, the big trend is Apple TVs, Hermes said. Professors can use them to transmit data from a smartphone or laptop to a classroom projector.
Hermes said about 2,600 people use 4,000 devices on campus on an average day, with usage peaking at 6,300 devices.
Tech goes to school
Tablets are the top item students are taking to campus after smartphones, said Tom Nix, data sales consultant for Verizon Wireless.
They allow students to access their textbooks and papers on one small device, and they can be set up with a keyboard in the dorm.
“Many textbooks are available in eBook format and cost substantially less,” he said.
Students also can work together outside the classroom even if they are miles apart.
“They can collaborate with their classmates in the cloud on a project,” Nix said. “You don’t have to be in a study room to get it done.”
Technology has turned the lecture-homework relationship on its head in many classrooms, said Bob Greve, Oklahoma City University business professor.
Professors can push out a lecture in advance for students to view — and “rewind” and review if needed.
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