COVID-19 sent a shockwave through the American higher educational system, just as it did every other aspect of our economy and society. But for Pepperdine University – a private Southern California institution that had long since embraced advanced learning technologies – the pandemic didn’t alter the university’s technology planning as much as it accelerated the timetable for doing so.
ALTADENA, Calif., November 12, 2020 (Newswire.com) – Rapid technological change. Rising tuition and increasing operational costs. Accelerating competition for learners and a decline in international student enrollment. These and a host of additional challenges had stressed the traditional economic model for colleges and universities well before COVID-19 arrived on campus.
Like many forward-thinking universities, Pepperdine knew that it needed a smart technology strategy to respond to changes that were already underway. Before anyone had heard of COVID-19, for example, it was busy planning an expansion of its online educational activities.
Pepperdine University knew that it needed to act fast. Once in-classroom learning ceased in March 2020, faculty and staff responded as best they could to maintain educational continuity. But the relief they felt after the spring term concluded immediately gave way to trepidation over how best to prepare for fall.
The unpredictable course of the pandemic complicated preparations. Would COVID-19 burn itself out with the warmer weather? Would it prove to be more or less contagious than imagined? Initially compared to the annual flu, the virus was revealing itself, with each passing day, to be something markedly different – and more dangerous.
Similar to other universities, Pepperdine ardently hoped to welcome students back for the fall term. But continued uncertainty meant that the university had to be ready for anything.
“They needed the ability to adopt hybrid learning technology across campus, and in a form that would enable them to respond quickly to the needs of the moment,” says Christina De Bono, founder of ClearTech, a preferred technology partner of the university.
The need went beyond simply equipping every classroom for online instruction. Pepperdine required a solution that could be deployed quickly and nimbly without sacrificing the flexibility to redeploy the technology as needed.
That wasn’t the only challenge. “We didn’t want our faculty to feel like they had to re-learn the technology … We needed a solution that would be turnkey and completely location agnostic, so no matter where you’re teaching, you could walk into the room and it was going to feel the same as every other space,” says Jared Mukai, Ph.D., manager of AV technologies and special projects at Pepperdine.
“There were a lot of complexities we needed to work through on a very tight timeline to ensure we’d be ready to support our students and teachers with online class instruction by mid-August,” continues Mukai. “We evaluated various scenarios but with the uncertainty of the new academic year, we knew we needed a solution that could support all types of learning environments.”
“ClearTech’s EduFLEX solution with Panasonic’s PTZ cameras was the clear choice given its reliability, flexibility and versatility to transform distance learning environments into engaging teaching experiences,” explains Mukai.
“Pepperdine required a remote learning solution they could count on not to fail as the deployment was mission-critical to the university,” adds De Bono. “EduFLEX delivers an in-person, campus-like experience remotely with simplicity and ease of operation.”
EduFLEX is an affordable, self-contained system that non-experts can have up and running within five minutes.
To read more about the EduFlex Pepperdine solution, please visit https://www.cleartechav.com.