“We are seeing the consumerization of higher education with the growing Bring Your Own Device (BYOD) trend, where students are bringing their personal devices onto campus for their individual, private use as well as for their academic coursework. As a leading educational facility, we have to have the infrastructure to support these devices and ensure that all of our users have wireless access wherever they want it, whenever they want it,” said Diana Noelcke, Interim Assistant Vice President, Network and Telecommunications Services for the University of Cincinnati. “Prospective students and guests are making decisions about our University based on the excellence of our wireless coverage and its ease of use, including the quality of guest access that we deliver, and we have to meet and exceed their expectations.”
In addition to the growing BYOD trend, the University of Cincinnati is seeing the dynamics of its classrooms change, with a growing number of iPads and Apple TVs being used for instructional purposes. In the past, faculty members directed students’ attention to an overhead projector or SMART Board and the students would take notes. Now, students can access instructional materials on their mobile devices to manipulate and work closely with the information, immersing themselves in the lesson. Furthermore, in the fall of 2013, the University’s College of Nursing will implement an iPad strategy, wherein all sophomores will be required to have iPads. The entire curricula will be built around the iPads and will mimic the real-world use of mobile devices in the hospitals, nursing homes, surgeries and pharmacies where students will likely work upon graduation.
The new WLAN also supports a wide range of important applications, including the University’s Blackboard Learning Management System (LMS), OhioLINK, which is one of the largest digital library repositories in the country, UCFileSpace, a collaborative, virtual storage space for students, and the University’s E-text program, which delivers electronic textbooks to reduce costs and speed delivery times. The WLAN also supports the University’s membership in EduRoam, the secure, world-wide roaming access service developed for the international research and education community.