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Smart Progress

Smart Progress

Transforming the delivery of higher education through an array of technologies remains high on Cave Hill’s agenda, with significant progress being made in this quest. With enhancement of the student experience, a core mandate, software technologies are encompassed in the SMART Campus initiative that seeks to bring about improvements in all areas of campus operations. This is in keeping with its guiding framework to "... leverage the potential of technology to effect change and to positively transform itself in response to continuous learning."

Officially launched at the start of the 2017-2018 academic year, the SMART Campus initiative continues to gather momentum. During the 2019 Summer School examinations, the campus launched the pilot phase of its Electronic Exam Check-In technology that electronically scanned students’ identification cards to permit them entry into the examination rooms. A full-scale roll-out was later introduced in the current academic year. In previous years, students were admitted to examination rooms by displaying printed cards, but the new technology eliminates the need for such cards, resulting in significant cost, time and other resource savings. Electronic data collected with this SMART Campus initiative facilitates

better management of the overall examinations process, allowing related reports on students’ attendance and student engagement to be easily generated.

Another major feature of the SMART Campus transformation at Cave Hill is the implementation of innovative classroom technology. These include smart projectors and smart boards that enhance interactive teaching and learning experiences. In addition, some teaching spaces are already equipped for remote video conferencing to facilitate virtual attendance by students and their participation in class sessions. Further, Cave Hill employs audio/visual technology with monitors strategically placed around the institution to display upcoming campus-related events and other important information. Connectivity has also been improved with free campus-wide Wi-Fi, to help facilitate study, research or online engagement. Additionally, student engagement has been enhanced by the UWI Cave Hill Campus app. Launched in July 2018, the app serves to promote student activities, share their concerns, as well as provide campus updates.

Plans are also in place to convert the campus’s main administration building to a Smart Energy building. Key features of this upgrade include:

· building an automation system with a control tower for efficient building management and to assist with functions such as monitoring, controlling, analysing, forecasting and assessing the energy consumption level within the building; and

· installing a 150kW solar photovoltaic car park on the outside of the Department of Management Studies to offset the office load on weekdays.

The conversion work has already begun with the installation of thirteen Smart Panel meters and two hundred and eighty-six current transformers throughout the building.

Other initiatives in various stages of development include:

· the Banner system that manages student and finance operations on the campus. The system was recently upgraded and migrated to a cloud platform, a move that improves both its resilience and its performance. While the administrative functionality is already underway for this system, the self-service functionality will be implemented shortly, providing a "modern, mobile-friendly user interface with the enhanced user experience expected of a contemporary university management system."

· the campus bus shuttle management system that features key areas of functionality for efficient use of the service. These include real-time tracking to ascertain the location of the bus. There is also electronic check-in of students boarding the buses that makes it possible for shuttle administrators to collect information on the ridership. Another key feature in place is fleet management reporting that allows shuttle administrators to derive information useful for maintaining the buses and determining how best they could be deployed based on expected need.

· energy and resource conservation technologies such as solar panels to power buildings, charging stations for electric cars and photovoltaic wind/hybrid systems for students to charge mobile devices.

Pro Vice-Chancellor and Principal of the campus, Professor The Most Honourable V. Eudine Barriteau has stressed that “the main focus is revolutionising the education system. We will do so through diversification of content and widespread application of information technology, while maintaining vigilance over investment, quality assurance and student

centeredness. We will further emphasise smart learning, using technology to enhance the student experience, to reach a wider audience, and to achieve better communication,” she noted.

She notes that given its challenges, the campus must “undertake a radical restructuring … to ensure [its] relevance and survival deep into the 21st century.”



 

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