Birmingham Metropolitan University
Using new technology to inspire and engage students
The Birmingham Metropolitan College is located in the centre of Birmingham and has students from the local area, the West Midlands as well as the rest of the country. It currently teaches 500 courses to over 7,000 students.
The college is widely recognised for the depth and quality of its educational provision and is a Centre of Vocational Excellence, specialising in Electronics & Technology, Performing Arts and Information Technology.
The college has received many awards, including Investors in People, and in 2002, the College was recognised by the presentation of the most prestigious award for any educational establishment - The Queens Anniversary Prize for Further and Higher Education.
The college was keen to ensure that it reflected its status as a centre of technological excellence in the technology it used throughout the campus: “We always look for new ways to use technology to engage and inspire our students,” explains John Perks, IT Manager, Birmingham Metropolitan College. “The notice boards we had, however, were just so clumsy. Staff and students complained that they were putting information up on the notice boards but no one ever saw it because it either fell off or someone took it down.”
The college required a solution that could not only counter this problem, but was also quick and easy to implement, causing a minimum amount of disruption for students.
“Birmingham Metropolitan College’s aim is to always endeavour to understand the possible applications of a technology, and then implement it in a way that truly improves the experience of students and teachers. Exterity and RM have made this possible”.
Along with its specialist education partner RM, Exterity worked on a solution that would harness the college’s existing network: “The college has a huge network capacity so it made complete sense for them to use this to store and stream different types of media,” comments Colin Farquhar, CEO, Exterity.
The proposed solution included Exterity technology to facilitate streaming of any type of media across the college’s network to plasma screens in each of the nine departments including medicine, media, engineering and business.
“Because our solutions are typically installed in a couple of days, and utilise the existing network, it meant that students were subjected to a minimum level of disruption and were able to proceed with their lessons uninterrupted.”
The college has replaced notice boards with state-of-the-art electronic information points across its entire campus. The new system enables all students, staff and visitors to access information relevant to their course or school from plasma screens in each department. Each department head has access to the system and can control the material displayed. To date, this includes videos of field trips, footage of students giving presentations, exam results and information on course changes.
With the new electronic information points, each department has complete control over the information displayed and can rest assured that the right people have access to the right information.
“Apart from ensuring that students and staff alike have access to the information they need, the new electronic information points look very smart and certainly help to portray a professional and innovative image,” says John Perks.