Ohio State University College of Nursing: Flexibility Found

The Ohio State University College of Nursing has been educating nurses since 1914.  Today, the college is part of Ohio State’s renowned academic health sciences center and offers both undergraduate and graduate nursing programs, including the BSN, MS, PhD and DNP (Doctor of Nursing Practice). The college, located in Newton Hall on the university’s main campus, has a large entry lobby through which most visitors pass and students frequently meet. In order to take advantage of that concentration of traffic and bring its communications efforts to the next level, the college installed an AxisTV digital signage system from Visix.

“Our lobby is fairly large and multifunctional and is often used as a meeting place,” explained Sanford Meisel, director of marketing and communications at the OSU College of Nursing. “Students are constantly on hand here, waiting for classes, having student meetings or eating lunch. It’s a very comfortable environment in which students can gather.” As such, it’s the perfect place to reach students with important news.

“We were looking for a flexible and accessible system to provide up-to-date information to our students, staff and faculty,” said Meisel, adding that the system needed to be something that someone without an IT background could learn to use quickly.

AxisTV came to the college’s attention via its IT director, who saw it in action at another university and liked what he saw. “He was impressed by it and thought we should take a closer look at it,” said Meisel. The system’s web-based interface, which allows for centralized administration of information, was an especially attractive option.

The decision to invest in AxisTV has meant a real leap forward in getting information out to students and faculty,. “It’s a huge improvement from the old conventions of posting a physical sign or having a message board with little white letters,” said Meisel. “For this generation of students, who have been born and raised on motion and color and have a real comfort level with getting their information from screens, the old black and white experience just doesn’t cut it anymore.”

Students, faculty and staff at the college can find comprehensive, up-to-date information about the college on the 52-inch NEC LCD screen the minute they walk into the building’s lobby. The screen has been built in to a large welcome wall running from floor to ceiling, which is branded in the college’s colors and identity.

Meisel has designed a monitor layout that features news from the college surrounded by external information that students find useful. A national and local news ticker runs across the screen’s bottom, weather conditions are in a panel on the upper-right, and a live cable video feed of local weather radar is in the lower-right. The large central panel on the screen rotates 6-10 messages promoting college events, recognizing student/faculty/staff achievements and providing critical information on things like vaccine inoculations and VIP visits. The system can also run a high definition cable feed of news and sporting events.

Meisel creates much of the content himself, but individuals or organizations in the college can also submit their own content to be posted. In either case, the process is simple and quick. As just one example, Meisel noted that the assistant to the dean had stopped by his office and mentioned that official word had come in of the school’s re-accreditation by its accrediting body. Meisel was able to get this good news out almost instantly. “It took me all of five minutes to produce a new slide, import it and put it up on the system,” he said.

The AxisTV system has attracted attention from other departments around campus. People from the College of Medicine, the College of Public Health, and other schools have come by to look at what the College of Nursing has done. “After taking a look, they’re impressed by the overall look, feel and capabilities of the system,” said Meisel.

The bottom line for the college is that AxisTV has been a “great addition to our communications arsenal,” said Meisel. “The system has absolutely done its job as we expected. It’s flexible, it’s fast, and it lets us get breaking news out quickly. It is definitely fulfilling its mission.”