07 May 2012

Anywhere, anytime: a new approach to student computing

Student computing will launch into a new era at RMIT University in July, when College of Business students move into their new home at the Swanston Academic Building (SAB).

Anywhere, Anytime at RMIT - Student Computing is set to transform any lecture theatre, classroom, student portal or even a café at RMIT into a virtual learning space.

In the first stage of the project, College of Business students will be able to use their own mobile computing devices to wirelessly connect to learning and teaching software from any location within RMIT.

A "virtual desktop" will give all business students - including those from other colleges studying business subjects - mobile access to software that is currently only accessible through specific labs and at the Business Library in Building 108.

Professor Geoffrey Crisp, Dean, Learning and Teaching said the flexible technology in the new SAB was designed to transform the student experience.

"Through the "Anywhere, Anytime" project, independent or collaborative learning can happen anywhere at RMIT," Professor Crisp said.

"We are focused on helping students develop the 21st century skills they need to set them up for success in the workplace, where both teamwork and individual initiative are so crucial.

"With the exciting new approach to classroom design in the SAB, this project will allow students and teachers to interact - anywhere, anytime - and lead the way in this new era of learning."

As part of the Anywhere, Anytime at RMIT - Student Computing project, students will no longer have to wait in line for open access computers in fixed locations in order to use course software.

New printing technology also means students will be able to print from a mobile device to any printer within SAB, and collect it securely whenever they are ready.

RMIT will offer a range of options to assist students who don't have their own mobile computing devices, including interest-free loans and a laptop scholarship scheme for students facing financial hardship.

There will also be shared computing facilities for students, with Building 108 Business Library computers relocated to the Swanston Library and additional computing facilities to be made available near the SAB. A number of computer stations will be available in the new student common areas within the SAB.

Some teaching rooms in SAB will also have computers available on a shared basis - all courses that require computing facilities in classes will be held in these rooms.

Brian Clark, Executive Director, Information Technology Services, said RMIT was making a significant investment to introduce the technology, to offer students ultimate flexibility in their studies and support innovative teaching and learning practices.

"While the first stage of the project focuses on the users of the new SAB, Anywhere, Anytime at RMIT - Student Computing will be progressively rolled out to the rest of the University in due course, to give all our students the benefit of these technologies," Mr Clark said.

College of Business Higher Education students will begin classes in the SAB (Building 80) on 16 July, with TAFE students moving to the new building on 30 July.

The pioneering $200-plus million development, which wraps around the Oxford Scholar Hotel, is RMIT's biggest investment in an academic building.

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Anywhere anytime student computing at RMIT

The new technology will enable any space at RMIT to be transformed into a place for learning and collaboration.