First established in the 1820s, The University of Bolton has been a leading academic institution that is known for being at the cutting edge of technology. Over the past year, the University has embarked on a mission to bring the student experience to the digital age.

To support this journey of modernisation, Sony is providing solutions such as Vision Exchange and UbiCast that will enable the next generation of learning styles at the University of Bolton.

The University of Bolton has worked to expand its campus and enhance its student experience. As part of this, the University added two new state-of-the-art buildings: The National Centre for Motorsport Engineering (NCME) and The Institute of Management of Greater Manchester.

In the construction of the new buildings, the University’s core aim was to attract new students as well as retain existing ones. It needed to make sure it was giving students the best possible learning experiences. As such, it had to consider technologies that could enable new and attractive styles of learning, such as collaborative and blended learning.

Challenges

The University of Bolton has a long, significant history. However, recently it faced the challenge of recruiting high calibre students from across the UK and around the world. In addition, it wanted to further improve student engagement and retention.

When the University received the new NCME and Institute of Management buildings, it was eager to install learning solutions which could attract the best quality students. This meant high-quality, aesthetically pleasing technology in classroom environments, which not only gave existing students the best possible learning experiences, but also gave off the ‘wow factor’ to prospective ones. Consequently, with the introduction of impressive technologies and an influx of high quality students, it hoped to attract equally expert academics, educators as well as professionals from the industry to the University.

Moreover, the University of Bolton needed to make sure it was incorporating the latest trends in education. One of these is the replacement of traditional ‘one-way’ lectures with more interactive teaching methods that encourage deeper student engagement and understanding. The University needed solutions that could support active, collaborative learning on a wide variety of devices.

In short, the University of Bolton wanted a unique solution which could make its student experiences and approach to learning stand out against the rest.

The Sony solution

Sony was the ideal provider for the University of Bolton when looking at integrating the latest technology into its new buildings, thanks to an impressive range of education solutions designed to encourage collaboration including the Vision Exchange active learning technology, its top-of-the-range projectors and high-quality BRAVIA professional displays designed to maximise audience interaction and engagement.

Scalable, flexible and easy to configure, Vision Exchange allows students at the University of Bolton to work collaboratively, mirroring their own smart phones, tablets or laptops to a group screen. The lecturer can manage the session by monitoring each group’s content and sharing on the main screen for further discussion.

Along with its accredited partner, Universal AV Services Ltd, Sony’s Vision Exchange solution was implemented to enable collaborative and active learning. This was integrated with Sony’s UbiCast offering, an easy-to-use lecture capture solution that lets educators create and share rich media video for online learning, covering every workflow of producing and delivering pro-quality video content, from recording and editing to publishing, managing and user analytics.

Results to date

Since installation, staff have been blown away by the capabilities of the new solutions; from the active learning possibilities enabled by Vision Exchange to the high quality of the images shown on the 85-inch 4K BRAVIA professional displays

The solutions have spurred on new enthusiasm among teaching staff. They are excited to share these novel capabilities with their students and instil new motivation in them to participate in lectures and seminars. More importantly, the University is proud to show off these new technologies to prospective students, inspiring them to apply and attend.

Why Sony was selected

The University of Bolton needed technology which was impressive to see in action, but also easy to use by students and lecturers alike. In addition, the University of Bolton wanted a partner which could not only deliver products, but also a legacy which staff and students could recognise.

“Sony was chosen because of its high quality and great legacy within the AV market. Reaction since the installation has been phenomenal. The teachers and educators have been extremely impressed by the high-quality images, especially when it came to viewing true 4K content on the 4K BRAVIA professional displays” says Ian Moth, IT Desktop Support Team Leader at University of Bolton.  “The new technology has brought a lot of positivity to the staff, which has been reflected in enhancing the student teaching experience and student satisfaction, maintaining good recruitment, especially at a time when the sector is under many pressures.”

Compared to its competitors, Sony was able to rise to the task at a lower price-point, meaning that it was most cost-effective. In addition, the University felt that Sony had a close working relationship with their integrator Universal AV Services Ltd. This made Bolton confident that their partnership could deliver the right solutions which address their challenges.

"The education sector is hugely important to Sony Professional. We want to bring products and solutions to the market which enhance students’ experiences and transform spaces into state of the art learning environments. We are very happy to work with a forward-thinking institution such as the University of Bolton which puts the student experience at the centre of everything it does,” says Jason Huggins, Account Manager at Sony Professional Solutions Europe. 

SOLUTION SET UP:

Vision Exchange solution integrated with:

  • 1 x PEQ-C100, Vision Exchange main unit with 2 x HDMI input inc Active Learning, VC and Streaming licenses
  • 10 x Vision Exchange Pod software on mini PC
  • 10 x 43” 4K Professional BRAVIA Displays
  • 10 x Interactive overlays

UbiCast (lecture capture) solution comprising of:

  • 1 x CRD (campus recorder)
  • 1 x SRG-300SEW PTZ camera

Various classroom and lecture based AV solutions comprising of:

  • 4 x VPL-PHZ10
  • 2 x PT-1185-IR10
  • 23 x FW-85XD8501
  • 1 x FW-75XE8501
  • 23 x FW-65XE8501
  • 2 x FW-55XE8001
  • 1 x VPLL-3003
  • 1 x VPL-FHZ65L
  • 5 x CAB-VGAHDMI1
  • 1 x PSP.FWL-HD.48.5
  • 1 x FWL-48W705C
  • 8 x PSP.FW-4K.65.5

A 2x2 OLED video wall due for installation late 2018/19 to be used for simulation and showcasing student work.

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