Elearning: Thammasat pioneers new approach

Move towards e-campus with e-learning, e-research & even e-society where students bring own device: mobile phone, tablet, notebook...

Thammasat students are able to take additional courses with video streaming content on their personal devices.


Pioneering e-learning

Thammasat will be the first educational institution in Thailand to have video streaming content on iTune University


Sasiwimon Boonruang

The trend of consumerisation of IT has not only flourished in workplaces, but the concept of "Bring Your Own Device" (BYOD) is now on the rise in universities as well.

Just a few years ago, universities had to work with computer notebook vendors to offer devices to their students and other involved parties. Students, vendors and universities had to stick to a certain price, specification and brand. But today, users have more freedom. They can opt for a device that most suits their needs - smartphone, tablet or phablet.

Thammasat University (TU) has become one of the foremost academic institutions in Thailand to adopt the BYOD approach to education.

TU students bring their own devices and use them to share files and data inside and outside the campus, and are able to take additional courses of video streaming content.

The university has upgraded its IT infrastructure with a Cisco 10GB Ethernet backbone with Unified Access solutions to provide increased bandwidth that will support new teaching applications and manage additional workloads.

These technology upgrades provide 36,000 students and 6,700 staff across 26 faculties with a highly secure, scalable wireless network utilising approximately 300 access points at the Tha Pra Chan campus and approximately 800 access points at the Rangsit campus. Internet speeds have increased from 54MB per second to a maximum capacity of 1.3GB per second.

"Students are the ones who drive the university to modernise its IT ecosystem," said Asst Prof Prodpran Siritheerasas, TU's director of the Information Processing Institute for Education and Development.

And it's not just the IT infrastructure, the university has also revolutionised its IT for administration, e-learning and e-society.

Since e-learning and e-research help students to learn online, the university is also developing a mobile application to help them manage their timetables and calendars.

However, the concept of e-campus does not mean that traditional learning will be replaced.

"We would like e-learning as an additional class to the conventional and TU does not offer any certifications of online learning," said Prodpran.

As part of e-society, TU has provided courseware and video content on multiple platforms through different online channels: TU Tube and iTune University. The university has made a deal with Apple Thailand and will be the first university in the Kingdom to have video streaming content on iTune University.

Since TU is known for its law curriculum, a couple of law books for the public are also being offered at the iTune App Store, and it will be transferred to iTune University soon. The university will open its content to the public on True Book as well.

Asst Prof Prodpran noted that video streaming enables students to better understand the course as they can watch and learn anytime....

TU was allocated 75 million baht for IT infrastructure development this year, covering the IPV6 upgrade and Wi-Fi access points. Today there are 1,100 access points at Tha Phra Chan and Rangsit campuses. The university's vision to become an e-campus will be achieved over two phases: the first provides a complete wireless network at Tha Phra Chan and Rangsit campuses this year, and the second at their Lampang and Pattaya campuses by 2014.

Vatsun Thirapatarapong, managing director for Cisco Thailand and Indochina, pointed out that Unified Access, which is helping TU with its IT development, is the business foundation for enabling the ''Internet of Everything'' - intelligently connecting people, data, processes and things with greater simplicity, intelligence, scale, efficiency, open interfaces and security.


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Writer: Jon Fernquest
Position: Online Writer