1. Feed the beast(s)!
Student demand for bandwidth is insatiable. Don't believe it? A 2016 University of Nebraska-Lincoln study found that 50 percent of all bandwidth used on their campus was from video streaming. From a learning perspective, video has arrived as a primary means of content delivery. Our usage data in Junction shows that students are now spending as much time watching instructionally-aligned videos as they are doing long-form reading, at least on screens.
2. Devices, devices, everywhere
Most people would expect today's students to be carrying smartphones, and perhaps even a laptop, when they arrive on campus. What would you guess would be a typical number of devices per student? 2? 3?
A 2014 report from the Re:Fuel Agency found that students were bringing as many as seven devices on campus each semester. Incoming freshman are bringing game consoles, smartphones, tablets, laptops, and smart TVs to campus.Bet you didn't guess 7! Don't worry, we didn't either. Our takeaway is that we should all plan to be surprised by how many devices, and what types of devices, students are using on campuses. Fact of the day: this spring semester students have used nearly 200 different types of mobile devices to access Junction - and that's collapsing down all iPhones or iPads to a single device category.
Bet you'll never guess the fifth most popular 'mobile' device used to access Junction. Wait for it. The Microsoft Xbox One! Go figure.
3. Know that students in class are still connected
In all the lecture halls we've visited over the last few years one of the first things students do after sitting down is turn on a device (or 2 or 3). Savvy instructors are tapping into this trend and incorporating technology as part of their in-class instruction. One example is taking discussion posts made online, before class, and projecting them up during class. Another is using live polling technology to promote engagement and get a quick read on students understanding of a topic. Oh yeah, we should mention that both of these uses are seamlessly supported within Junction.
4. Bandwidth shaping on residential networks
All those devices, and notably video streaming, can tax even the most robust campus IT infrastructure. One solution is shaping bandwidth.
The ACUTA report previously mentioned found that over 41 percent of campus administrators are shaping bandwidth — manipulating networking connections based on activity types — on residential networks. This allows for more bandwidth to be focused on educational opportunities, and less of it to be used on Snapchat.
5. Partner up to tap into high-capacity IP backbone
Sports facilities, new dorms and other infrastructure can certainly help pique prospective students interest. What else matters? Bandwidth. In the always-on era high capacity, reliable, Internet connections have become a must-have for today's digital learners. Perhaps even more so than an upgraded menu in the student union. Well, except for that new coffee bar, of course!