By Maxwelle-Jane Dwyer
While many business students, staff, and community members are excited about 1PSQ’s location, new teaching style, and industry links, as a technology orientated Business/Laws student I feel it’s important to talk about one of the best parts of the new campus: the innovative technology used to optimise the space both in classrooms and in campus life.
First and foremost, the new campus is utilising a combination of networked technologies to bring a greater range of interactive elements to classes on campus. Alongside the in-the-round active learning style of teaching, the Studio Rooms incorporate multiple data points which function as independent computers for collaborative work, as well as wall mounted screens in the room which can project student and staff content as well as a live feed of the various tables and whiteboards in the room through a rotating camera mounted to the ceiling of each classroom.
The projectors themselves are very unique compared to other Western Sydney campuses, as they’re powered by the Solstice framework. Solstice has a client available as an application on most devices, and allows for not only the projection and control of the cameras in the room, but also cameras in other rooms as well as the live sharing of computer screens, files, live media, and other sources found on any device in the room. It allows for an extremely collaborative approach to learning as students and teachers can exchange ideas and knowledge on the spot easily, and will be a great asset to encouraging engagement and improving the ability for students and staff to project their voices.
Alongside the Studio Rooms, much of the building incorporates technology designed to enhance the student experience on site. Both the small screens outside the learning spaces as well as on the new digital notice boards found throughout the site network with the software that manages room bookings allowing for the viewing of where and when future classes can be found. The digital notice boards also serve as a map to allow students to find the various student spaces, classrooms, and services found on site, and will be a welcome addition given the confusion that often occurs on other campuses trying to find the right building.
The Studio Rooms themselves (and much of the building) incorporate extremely well designed architecture designed to isolate sounds. During a test on a visit before the building opened, the doors to the Studio Rooms were tested and observed to have very strong sound proofing. In quiet areas on site, the furniture and ceiling also incorporates sound damping sufficient to deal with most whispers and quiet discussion (although likely wouldn’t be impervious to yelling and other cacophonous rapture).
The aforementioned data points can be found in other offices and spaces on site, such as the entertainment spaces found on each floor. These are joined by various Zoom points as well found in some offices and meeting spaces. These are separate computers designed solely to run Zoom meetings, be it hosting or joining a meeting, allowing for entire rooms to network with any other student or space with access to Zoom. This will be great not only for cross campus meetings, but also for the PassOnline students as it allows for students to access Zoom together on campus, improving the exchange of ideas this campus has worked to innovate on.
Overall, the mission to improve collaboration and connectivity appears to have been very well planned as evident by the new technological infrastructure. I’m very keen to be one of the first business students to test out this campus. My only hope is that the new innovative ideas are well utilised by students and staff. The new campus has a very unique feel and style, which could take some getting used to. However, I’m optimistic that we will see some great initiatives and improvements on the new campus model.
Images by University Photographer, Sally Tsoutas