When the world-renowned, triple accredited business school at Leeds University recently wanted to revolutionise its teaching environment, they turned to our friends at audio-visual supplier, Universal AV, who showed them that the solution was Clevertouch.
The University of Leeds is one of the largest higher education institutions in the UK. The top 100 University is renowned globally for its quality of teaching and research. The University has a leading, full-service business school, regularly world ranked by the Financial Times, QS and The Economist, and one of a small number of schools worldwide to be triple accredited by AACSB, AMBA and EQUIS. Their mission statement supports their success: to make an exceptional impact on business and society globally through leadership in research and teaching.
In response to the university-wide initiative of moving away from what some might see as outdated traditional lecture theatres, the Business School made the decision to go further and mimic industry’s style of collabouration with their own blend of creativity. In conjunction with the well-established audio-visual supplier Universal AV, the Business School created environments that served both as functional seminar style spaces to allow for front-of-class teaching, with more flexible, huddle-style working spaces, so often a key feature of modern working environments. Universal AV suggested that Clevertouch, leaders in the collabourative and eco-enterprise working methods, would meet the Business School’s technological needs for creating a fully facilitated learning environment.
The university required two separate rooms to be tailored as collabourative working spaces. Both rooms had recently been renovated to include a traditional, front of room lectern and projection area. This feature was to be maintained to suit the needs of more traditional lectures/speakers, as appropriate. However, to allow for a collabourative, business style environment, the first room was to be arranged in a style that had multiple screens around the room with clusters of tables to allow for a group work approach to learning. The second room was to be arranged in a style that had multiple screens around the room with huddle style seating areas. This arrangement mimics the spaces seen in the industry and allows business students a flexible approach in joint problem solving and learning.
Universal AV identified the Clevertouch screen as being the most appropriate screen to meet all the levels of functionality the university required. To ensure that the Clevertouch screens would support the university’s technical needs, demonstrations of the solution were carried out at the Sahara showroom in Leeds. A product loan followed, where loaned Clevertouch screens were placed in a busy foyer area so it could be stress tested by academics. In addition, workshops were held to encourage the use of the screen and training was provided.
Responses to this method were extremely positive. Feedback on the functionality of the screen praised Clevertouch for the fact it was so much more than an interactive whiteboard. Its simplicity in use and straightforward connectivity was seen as a major plus.
The Enhancement and Innovation team, who are responsible for getting buy-in, training and encouraging the use of the technology, asserted that confidence has been built in the technology through this program and that academics are eager to embrace the technology and engage students in new methods of learning. They enthused: “So impressed were we with the Clevertouch Screen and Smart Markers, we had a screen installed in our office and a dry wipe table so we could collate and collabourate in everyday, every real environment.”
The implementation of the Clevertouch screens in the new collabourative learning suites has been a huge success. In fact, other areas in the university are now looking to adopt a similar approach. The Business School is reportedly delighted with the results of the installation. The spaces are seen as very popular amongst the department’s staff and students and are in very high demand. The Clevertouch Screens are regarded highly due to the writing experience and clarity of detail that can be achieved, which is not always possible on interactive screens, for example with graphs and other data analysis methods, resulting in focused presentations and feedback.
The installation took place over the summer of 2018. Tamsin Barrow, Facilities Manager, Leeds University Business School, The University of Leeds commented that they looked to Universal AV for solutions as they had “undertaken consultancy previously for the University” and were forward thinking in how collabourative learning suites could be adopted in this department. specified how collabourative learning suites could be adopted.” The Enhancement and Innovation team added: “Other offices are desperate to have the same technology now they have seen how it can work and enhance meetings and creative thinking.”
It is not difficult to imagine a future where superior technology, such as the Clevertouch range of screens, can support learning environments across other universities as standard.
Feedback on the functionality of the screen praised Clevertouch for the fact it was so much more than an interactive whiteboard. Its simplicity in use and straightforward connectivity was seen as a major plus.“