China Medical University is in 35th place in the “Asia University Rankings 2022” released by Times Higher Education of the UK and, according to U.S. News, is listed in URAP (University Ranking by Academic Performance) 2022 as the top private medical universality in Taiwan. China Medical University has recently made great efforts to become a Smart University and develop innovative teaching and learning methods, research themes typical of the university, and the digital industry. In 2022, the university adopted the “AOD (Application on Demand) Services of Zero One Technology” so that the software and teaching materials in its computer classrooms can be updated in a timely manner according to teaching needs, the goal being to improve teaching and learning quality and meet international standards.
China Medical University is the first higher-education institution in Taiwan that aims to foster talent in traditional Chinese medicine as well as western medicine. Led by chairman Chang-Hai Cai’s vision of “active innovation and globalization” and principal Ming-Qi Hong’s ambition to “pursue excellence and create a wonderful world”, the university has received international recognition for its improvements and achievements in talent cultivation, innovative research and development, and social care services.
When the COVID-19 pandemic broke out in Taiwan in May 2021, China Medical University immediately started its distance teaching and learning mechanism to cater to health and learning needs and received favorable feedback from teachers, students, and parents alike. The university has been actively investing in the hardware and software on the campus. In 2022, the university adopted the “AOD services of Zero One Technology” to respond to teachers’ teaching needs quickly. The AOD services allow new software and teaching materials to be installed in the computer classrooms, and old software upgraded to newer versions, whenever needed, making it possible to create the best teaching and learning environment for all the teachers and students of the university.
“The Library and Information Center of China Medical University is responsible for providing assistance in computer-based teaching and research to each department of the university, promoting online teaching and learning, and establishing and maintaining the computer classrooms so as to satisfy teachers’ teaching needs and students’ needs in practical training,” says Yuh-Hwan Liu, deputy director of the Library and Information Center. “The emergence of various innovative technologies has led to a more urgent need than before for teachers to update their teaching software. Now that we have adopted the AOD services of Zero One Technology, the entire teaching and learning environment has been brought to a higher level.”
China Medical University currently has three campuses (namely the Shuinan School Headquarters, the Elite Campus, and the Beigang Branch) and nine schools. In order to meet the teaching and learning needs of different departments, the computer classrooms on the three campuses are of different scales so that teachers can use various IT tools and software in class to create the optimal teaching modes for students. In particular, distance teaching and learning have been the mainstream teaching and learning mode since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The computer classrooms, therefore, have been the major teaching sites for the teachers in each department and have had such a high utilization rate that there is almost no time left for equipment maintenance and management by the Library and Information Center.
“In view of this,” says Yuh-Hwan Liu, “the Library and Information Center came up with the idea of using a virtual desktop, but the project has never been started because the desired AI server has yet to be in place. Then, by sheer serendipity, I found the ‘AOD services of Zero One Technology’ at a conference held by ISAC, and noticed that their functions were exactly what we needed. So, after a further inquiry about the services’ functions and deployment modes, and considering their reasonable license fee, the university decided to use the services and deploy them in the computer classrooms on the three campuses as a solution.”
As do its counterparts at other universities, the Library and Information Center of China Medical University make preparations for the computer classrooms (e.g., installing patch programs for the operating system and replacing damaged parts) before each semester begins. The Library and Information Center will also inquire about the teaching needs of each department, deploy the teaching materials and software (provided by teachers) in the predetermined computer classrooms, and update the teaching software to the specified versions. The work stated above is extremely labor-intensive and time-consuming.
China Medical University adopted the “AOD services of Zero One Technology” because all the teaching materials and application programs only need to be packaged once at the back end. After that, a teacher or student only has to log in to a computer and select the software and/or teaching material they need. This way, there is no need to install software on each computer in each computer classroom before each semester begins, and the associated cost of manpower and time is greatly reduced. If any teaching material needs to be updated during the semester, only the back-end data needs to be updated.
“The computer-version of the App Store function of the ‘AOD services of Zero One Technology’ allows us to create our own software market so that teachers and students can use whichever application program on the market by clicking on the program; that is to say, previous user experience is preserved,” says Yuh-Hwan Liu. “In addition, the management interface of the system is easy to operate. Not only can we control the number of client access licenses of the software purchased by the university, but also accounts can be set according to students and departments to facilitate management and ensure smooth operation of the application software.”
After the “AOD services of Zero One Technology” were deployed, all the related problems previously faced by China Medical University were solved. For example, the load of computation on the server has been significantly reduced by the use of streaming technology, and no additional hardware equipment is required because the computation abilities of endpoint equipment are effectively used for executing application programs. Besides, the system provides such information security mechanisms as EDRM-based data access protection and secure channels for external connections to lower information security risks to a great extent. When a teacher expresses their need to update a certain piece of software or teaching material, the Library and Information Center can remotely update the data on the back-end software market. This contributes tremendously to improve the overall teaching and learning quality.
“We have received fewer complaints than before,” says Yuh-Hwan Liu, “now that we can respond to teachers’ and students’ needs within the shortest time possible. The load of computer classroom maintenance on my colleagues has been lowered considerably, allowing us to spend more time on other projects and continue to optimize the entire university’s basic network and create the best teaching and learning environment for higher teaching and learning quality.