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RWU Partners With Samsung In Cloud-Based Technology Initiative

Friday, September 13, 2013

 

Roger Williams University and Samsung Electonics are partnering on an educational initiative that utilizes cloud computing.

Roger Williams University (RWU) and Samsung Electronics America, Inc. are partnering on a groundbreaking educational technology initiative in an effort to create a more collaborative learning environment, reduce technology costs for college students and set new standards for “affordable excellence” in higher education.

The multi-year project will see a transformation in both the learning and administrative environment at Roger Williams – starting in its School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation and its School of Continuing Studies – through the integration of Samsung’s cloud access technology and interactive whiteboards.

The seeds of the project

In a pilot program that began in fall 2012, RWU and Samsung partnered to install 100 27-inch Samsung LED monitors in architecture student studio workspaces, where students could quickly connect their personal devices, access applications via its upgraded cloud server and use the large-format displays to more easily create and share work. Students benefited from anytime access to advanced applications (including AutoCAD, Revit and Adobe Creative Suite, among others), faster rendering times and exceptional viewing on these professional displays. This approach proved highly successful in containing student and university costs, alleviating space pressures and enhancing students’ computing experience and collaboration.

“Through the expertise and the generosity of Samsung, we will not only be able to regain classroom space by eliminating many of our current computer labs – and offer more affordable technology options to students – but we will also create a richer, more collaborative academic environment,” said Donald J. Farish, President, Roger Williams University. “That’s the entire point of the Affordable Excellence initiative we launched a year ago. This forward-thinking partnership reduces student costs, and most importantly, results in a hands-on, technology-driven learning environment that will prepare our students to thrive in the professional worlds they will encounter after graduation.”

Looking ahead: expanded applications

Based on the success of the initial pilot, RWU and Samsung are extending the project this fall to include the creation of:

The Samsung Design Studio in RWU’s School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation: Includes 275 additional energy-efficient Samsung LED Monitors at student workstations in an open-plan configuration, as well as eight interactive touch-screen displays and eight Zero-Client Cloud Displays located in collaborative learning spaces for presentations, reviews and group discussions.

The Samsung Collaborative Learning Lab in RWU’s School of Continuing Studies: Includes two interactive touch-screen displays and 25 Zero-Client Cloud Displays forstudent use and the delivery of online courses.

“For institutions seeking to empower educators and create a rich, collaborative learning environment, Samsung can be the catalyst to help deliver new, immersive digital learning experiences that combine easy-to-use devices andinteractive technology, driving creativity and academic growth,” said Tod Pike, senior vice president at Samsung Electronics America’s Enterprise Business Division. “Our cloud access and interactive display products not only facilitate an improved student experience, but also provide valuable IT support and maintenance cost savings enabling RWU to truly offer affordable excellence.”

Benefits to students + their families: substantial savings

Stephen White, Dean of the Architecture School at RWU, spoke to the immediate impact the collaboration would have on the finances of his students. "With the implementation of the cloud computing server and the Samsung monitors and recommended laptops," he said, "student hardware savings are estimated at 33 to 50 percent savings – a savings of roughly $500 to $1000 per student, since the School of Architecture, Art and Historic Preservation can now recommend a $1,000 student laptop purchase instead of a machine that costs $1,500 to $2,000."

White added that SAAHP student software savings are estimated at 88 percent – with students needing a one-time purchase of $140 for Microsoft Office – instead of a $649 annual estimate over four years of undergraduate and two years of graduate study. "The School of Architecture saves money, as well," he said. "Recent computer lab machines in SAAHP cost $2,800 each and had a three-year life cycle. With the cloud server and the Samsung lab machines, costs go to $550 each with a four- to six-year life cycle. So 75 percent cost savings and up to a double life cycle."

More benefits

White further described how cloud computing applications are certainly beneficial general student computing activity. "Students can save substantially on their own hardware purchases, and software as well," he said, "since the software will reside on the server in the cloud computing environment, and individual student computers/hardware will not need high-processing capability because this too will be handled by the server."

Beyond financial benefits, White described how describe how students and faculty in general gain flexibility in locations for teaching/learning and ever-present access to digital technology in any classroom, lab or studio setting. "With the installation of large-format 27-inch monitors at each Architecture studio desk, students individually have a larger screen to interact with higher quality graphics that they can see better, in detail," he said. "The screens are large enough for faculty and students to offer input into student work—they inherently facilitate more collaboration, as well as higher-quality individual project development. It's really fantastic."

Part of an ongoing study

Based on the continuing success of the collaborative learning project, the University expects to expand the program in the future as part of its effort to transform higher education. In addition, the pilot project and its expansion this fall will serve as the basis for a Samsung case study on higher education. For more information on Samsung products for education, go to www.samsung.com/business. For more information on the Affordable Excellence initiative at Roger Williams University, go to www.rwu.edu/ae.

 

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