Friday, January 21, 2011

Mother Nature vs. the Northeast

It’s no secret that northeastern United States has been receiving more than its share of extreme winter weather this season. It was posted today that day and evening classes have been canceled at UMass Lowell. While we’re sure that the students will enjoy their long weekend no matter what the weather is, it looks like the snow will move on and they will be back Monday.

Moreover, we also know that the odds of them returning for the next semester have increased. The University of Massachusetts Lowell has invested in the latest technologies to increase retention rates and provide students with the best possible tools for success. The latest audio/video equipment enhances the material in class. Clicker (aka audience response) systems help keep students engaged in classroom topics, and measures are now being taken to allow students to revisit material after class. Videos and presentation slides can be accessed after class by outside computers or mobile devices. Which means that students left scratching their heads after the explanation of a complex theory can now hit “rewind” when they get home.

Spectrum Industries got in on the ground floor with UMass Lowell, and has been providing a platform to deliver these technologies since the Fall of 2007. UMass Lowell’s product of choice is consistent with an increasing amount of campuses recently – the Link Lectern. There is hard evidence in UMass Lowell’s case: Since the Fall of 2007, the retention of freshmen has increased from 75% to 81% while the number of 4-year continuing students has increased from 63.7% to 69.1%.

The Link Lectern obviously cannot take all the credit for these numbers, but it has added value with what The University of Massachusetts Lowell is trying to accomplish. Spectrum even takes it a step further by providing a custom overbridge to house UMass Lowell’s specific technology. Moreover, we’re proud to be a partner to a university that obviously cares about its students.

And as for Mother Nature, depending on where and when Spectrum employees left for work this morning, it was between -20°F and -27°F – not including wind chill! But take it from a humble blogger that grew up in Georgia and Arizona: the people of Wisconsin are a hardy lot and it takes more than this to slow them down. Not even record amounts of snowfall keep Spectrum from producing and delivering.

Top photo courtesy of Chris Barrineau: www.locationphoto.com

Article References:
• http://www.uml.edu/media/enews/EchoSmart_Classrooms.html
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