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Heriot-Watt University teams with Vaddio to expand global classroom

Vaddio components and a videoconferencing system lets Heriot-Watt community use any application without having to worry about compatibility issues

Just on the outskirts of Edinburgh, Scotland lies the historic main campus of the prestigious Heriot-Watt University. Since its founding in 1821, the university has built a reputation for world-class undergraduate and graduate programmes in business, engineering and science.

The university was an early adopter of web technologies to enhance classroom learning and to extend the reach of its programs beyond campus limits and even across international borders. Today, Heriot-Watt University boasts one of the world’s largest distance-learning MBA programmes offered through its Edinburgh Business School.

More than 7,500 graduate students on campuses in Scotland, Dubai, and Malaysia now participate in accredited and highly regarded business and international business curriculums. Supporting a growing and increasingly diverse student body with limited resources is challenging for the IT and audio/video staff. Students around the world have access to different computing platforms and individually prefer a number of productivity apps and tools to fit their unique learning styles.

The university needed a cost-effective, efficient way to bridge the burgeoning gap between the capabilities of its existing videoconferencing solution and the evolving needs of a globally dispersed student body. To accomplish this, it installed a Vaddio ClearVIEW HD-USB PTZ camera, Vaddio EasyUSB Mixer/Amplifier, and Vaddio EasyMic MicPODs in its primary meeting room on the Edinburgh campus to create an accessible and easily supported collaboration environment.

“With a geographically dispersed and diverse student body like ours, it’s important for students to be able to use whichever collaboration tools they feel are most valuable,” says Douglas Marsland, manager of AV services at Heriot-Watt University. “Vaddio systems transcend the capabilities of traditional conferencing systems to produce a high-quality, interactive meeting experience without technical limitations.”

Vaddio components and a videoconferencing system lets Heriot-Watt community members everywhere use any application without having to worry about compatibility or interoperability issues, because their computer is the host station. “We wanted to be able to adequately handle the full spectrum of software likely to be used in a meeting,” Marsland says. “The Vaddio camera and mixer are essential for enabling students to use Skype, Adobe Connect, WebEx, and other popular applications without sacrificing meeting quality or having to buy their own equipment.“