Like thousands of others, adapting to online and hybrid teaching during the pandemic required a rapid and effective response from renowned London based postgraduate art and design University, the Royal College of Art (RCA). Fortunately, the RCA’s reactive approach and experience with the Zoom platform enabled its 2300+ students to continue to learn and develop remotely in no time, ensuring they would also still benefit from the college’s impressive alumni network.
What began as a project to minimize lesson disruption by video enabling essential physical learning spaces and expanding the use of Zoom to on-premise, soon evolved once both students and teachers adapted to the new hybrid world. Not only did RCA need to provide easy to use and intuitive room set-ups, but they also needed solutions that could be versatile for the diverse user needs within the college.
Alex Watt, IT Services Manager at the Royal College of Art explains that the RCA is “an ever-moving environment; meeting rooms become teaching spaces, which become open plan office spaces, which become studio spaces on a six-monthly basis. With every new term, there’s a new wall taken up or put down, so one of the keys was that it was a flexible system that could be quite easily moved if it needed to be.”
Following the successful trial of 1, which progressed to 10 devices, Strive AV and DTEN supported the RCA with a complete roll out of over 120+ Zoom-enabled spaces which include DTEN D7 All-in-one video conferencing and collaboration devices, mounted on mobile carts to deliver true flexibility.
Watt continues “Whether it’s testament to the hardware that’s in the device, or the integration with Zoom, but they’re very forgiving on a wireless connection. That actually makes the DTEN D7s incredibly useful as they can be pretty much rolled into any space where we’ve got a half-decent WiFi connection and they just work, and they can also be used in a more creative way.”
Since the DTEN deployment, the Royal College of Art has seen many benefits. It’s been able to provide its academics with a flexible teaching solution where they can learn in person and remotely. Ahead of the pandemic this hybrid approach wasn’t an option which means they have now attracted a more geographically dispersed
The legacy fixed solutions such as projectors and screens in a traditional education environment have been replaced to support modern teaching methods. Where there is flexible seating throughout the campuses, there is now flexible technology too which allows technology to be utilised more effectively.
The RCA have also managed to save resources on device management. James King, Head of IT at Royal College of Art explains “The amount of resources we put into supporting the units has dropped dramatically as they are self-service; people are very happy to walk into a room, find one, log in and start their work. That has led to an increase in satisfaction across our user base.”
Overall, the Royal College of Art has achieved its aims of a flexible, user-friendly solution that will not only ensure students have the best possible learning experience but that will add value to its teaching environments.