Monash University is touting a new wireless technology deployment that it says will vastly-improve communication between the university’s lecturers and 58,000 students.


The technology, developed at Monash and called MeTL, makes use of digital inking capabilities of tablet PCs, enabling simultaneous collaboration with PowerPoint slides, images and text.


Digital inking allows handwriting on a touch screen to be captured and presented either as handwriting or text.


As part of a wider move toward greater collaboration, Monash has also partnered with Xirrus to deploy high-end wi-fi units into 32 rooms at the University’s Clayton, Caulfield, Peninsula, and Gippsland campuses.


According to Professor Gordon Sanson, Director of Monash University’s eEducation Centre, the IT roll out was aimed at addressing the needs of educating large groups of students.


“Student engagement in small groups has been shown to increase learning, but when class sizes reach into the hundreds then students are sometimes hesitant to offer a contribution that they think might be wrong or off-track,” Sanson said in a statement.


“This [software] eliminates the isolation of individuals in large classes, and gives them an opportunity to provide instant feedback to the lecturer.”


In March, Monash said it would begin transitioning its staff base of 17,000 to Google Apps in the middle of this year.

The rollout is expected to take between six and 12 months, according to a statement released by the university, and comes after a successful transition to 58,000 students last November.

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