Texas State Technical College

Posted on August 9, 2012, by in Case Study, Education, Other. No Comments

Texas State Technical College Launches Digital Signage Technology Degree Program

In the beginning of 2010, she and her fellow educators set out to launch the nation’s first digital signage technology degree program.

Texas State Technical College’s (TSTC) Patricia Lister-Golin is very excited.Today, her dream is a reality at TSTC, where students can enroll in a two-year associate degree program.

“The incredible explosion of digital signage technology in the business community really spoke to us about the need for a degree program in this area. Our small town in West Texas already has digital displays at movie rental stores, gas stations and local retail chains, so we knew that it was time to get serious about this at the college level.”

- Lister-Golin, Program Specialist in Digital Signage Technology, TSTC

At TSTC, students receive training in digital signage completely online in a virtual classroom environment called Second Life where students log in with an avatar.At TSTC, students receive training in digital signage completely online in a virtual classroom environment called Second Life where students log in with an avatar. The program is a coordinated effort between TSTC and Western Texas College (WTC). The degree includes courses on digital content creation with animation using Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Flash, as well as other animation and video software. Students also learn system design and scheduling using well-known industry products such as Scala Content Manager and Scala Player.

Lister-Golin and her team did not embark on this journey without doing their homework. They reached out to members of the Digital Signage Association, fellow program directors at TSTC and surrounding colleges, and leaders in the digital signage business community, including Scala.

“What we found is that many students and professionals have a great talent for graphic design but don’t want to work in the Web design field, which is the typical career path for most graphic designers already in the marketplace. They want to specialize in a new, up-and-coming area of graphics, but they often lack the ability to strategize, identify their audiences, measure the results, and refine the digital signage content for greater impact. I think this is the first time anyone has paired a graphic design degree with marketing strategy and applied it to this new medium.”

- Lister-Golin, Program Specialist in Digital Signage Technology, TSTC

Small-Town School Dreams Big

Students can test, monitor and make changes to their campaigns and replay them for ongoing, real-life feedback.Before TSTC’s dream of offering a specialized graphic design degree in digital signage could become a reality, the school had to find a software partner with a teaching aid that would complement the curriculum. The college evaluated software from five software-as-a-service (SaaS) vendors before choosing Scala.

“I was sold on Scala after seeing the application in action. Scala digitally walked us through building an advertising program, and our group was amazed at how easily the software could be used to create content, build a playlist, get feedback and more.”

- Lister-Golin, Program Specialist in Digital Signage Technology, TSTC

Scala Designer allows students to quickly design dynamic content for digital signage in an attention-grabbing environment using ScalaScript. Students enjoy creative control over their content and can make real-time edits. Combined with Scala Content Manager and Scala Player, this will allow TSTC students to create, schedule, and manage the transmissions of multimedia content to more than 50 displays on the four TSTC campuses from any Internet-connected computer.

Students will also learn how to develop a single master playlist that can be broken out into individual sections and scheduled to play in different locations at different times using Scala.

In addition to serving as an easy-to-use teaching aid to students of TSTC, Scala is powering the college’s campuswide digital signage network. The network consists of a variety of displays across multiple campuses (for example, Sweetwater and Abilene) throughout the West Texas region. The college plans on implementing NEC flat-panel displays; individual 42-inch displays; at least two NEC 2-foot X 2-foot, 40-inch video walls; and one NEC 1-foot X 4-foot, 40-inch ribbon wall.

A number of touchscreen kiosks will be positioned in various campus areas such as:

  • Bookstore
  • Student Center
  • Learning Labs
  • Outside building locations

Students enrolled in the TSTC digital signage degree program use Scala Content Manager to develop and run mock campaigns on the campus network. Students can test, monitor and make changes to their campaigns and replay them for ongoing, real-life feedback. Enrolled students can add their own messaging to the templates through the Web. This gives students the ability to add messages from off-campus housing, as well as from computer labs and dormitories.

Student organizations and authorized campus members who would like to use digital signage receive a system login and password, a basic tutorial and the Web site URL. Through the Web, users can log in directly to Scala Content Manager to add their messages. Authorized users are organized in the system using the user roles and workgroup features of Content Manager.

Early Results

Currently, TSTC has five students enrolled in the program to date with 10 more applicants expected to start in Fall 2010. They project that 20 students will be enrolled in the degree program by Fall 2011.

About Texas State Technical College

Texas State Technical College offers new experiences and challenges for individuals to keep abreast of development in their present occupations or to further their education for new careers. In addition to the courses offered to the general public, there are programs available to augment the staff development and job skill training programs of business, industrial, labor, governmental, and professional groups. The system’s economic development efforts to improve the competitiveness of Texas business and industry include exemplary centers of excellence in technical program clusters on the system’s campuses and support of educational research commercialization initiatives. Through close collaboration with business, industry, governmental agencies and communities, including public and private secondary and postsecondary educational institutions, the system shall facilitate and deliver an articulated and responsive technical education system. For more information, visit www.westtexas.tstc.edu

 

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