A Northwest Technical College student goes over to Bemidji State University to eat a meal and rest up in their dorm room for the evening. A distinct situation, indeed, but only because of a partnership between the two institutions, setting them apart from other Minnesota State Colleges and Universities.
The two institutions, located a mere 10 minutes away from each other, collaborate to provide NTC students with a sample of university life, while also sharing valuable resources. This means that NTC students have access to BSU's housing, meal plans, organizations, support systems and more, offering a unique opportunity for two-year students to experience university life.
The partnership also enables the sharing of resources such as IT and marketing, with a single IT department overseeing network infrastructure and operations on each campus, and one marketing team managing communications across both locations.
To bring the campuses even closer together, Chief Information Officer Sherry Lawdermilt initiated a digital signage initiative that aims to unify messaging and encourage broader contributions between the two communities.
With a focus on efficiently operating in a hybrid manner, Carousel Digital Signage is helping Lawdermilt with the initiative to simplify IT operations and content management across two distinct learning environments, while also establishing a foundation to attract more content creators and network contributors.
But what exactly is Carousel?
Carousel is a cloud-based digital signage software that integrates with media player technologies, which means it’s easier to install and expand. Teams can create and collaborate on messaging meaning they have a diverse, fresh set of content with different perspectives. With Carousel, users log in, choose a template, and start sharing visual communications immediately.
“Carousel’s ease-of-use factor is one of the main reasons we like the system,” said Lawdermilt. “My previous institution had a digital signage system that was difficult to learn, which placed more responsibilities on IT to keep the content fresh. We never had that problem with our server-based Carousel system, and it seems to be even easier with Carousel Cloud.”
BSU is undergoing renovations and, as part of the process, so is its transition to Carousel Cloud to make it easier to scale the network to new locations, adding new displays and media players as required. Carousel is deployed in residence halls, common areas and select departmental buildings, with plans to expand into the wellness center and other areas with high foot traffic.
Meanwhile, NTC's single building already has signs positioned at entryways and other strategic locations. Additionally, BSU and NTC use BrightSign media players. Once the appropriate network connections are made to Carousel Cloud, the technology will enable expanded digital signage throughout the campus.
“We were primarily focused on equipping our classrooms and conference rooms for hybrid learning and meetings, but also needed to evolve our communications strategy in a way that thoughtfully considers that hybrid model,” said Lawdermilt. “That meant putting a greater emphasis on digital messaging to communicate news, events and updates to staff and faculty.”
The transition to Carousel Cloud marks an important step toward improving digital signage across NTC and BSU, enhancing communication and information dissemination to students, faculty and staff.
Edited by Alex Passett