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Articles: Software

We know that conference programs offer a variety of topics for attendees who want to sample from some of the best and brightest ideas in higher education.

But there are times when deeper discussion is warranted, beyond a breakout session presentation. So this year, for the first time, UBTech (June 10-12 at the Walt Disney World Swan & Dolphin Resort) is launching a program of pre-conference special interest groups (SIGs), on the opening day of the show. It will be a chance for like-minded higher ed professionals to get together and share ideas and collaborate.

Build Your Own Display

Christie MicroTiles

The readers have spoken and for the first time ever, University Business magazine is honoring higher education products and services, in this first annual Readers’ Choice Top Products for 2012. Earlier this year, campus leaders and administrators from across the country had the unique opportunity to nominate what products they and their peers around the country are using, and voice how these products contribute to the success of their schools.

The Myth: If you use open source, you’re on your own.

Tim Goral

I recently had the opportunity to interview Richard Baraniuk for our continuing series on “Education Innovators.” Baraniuk, a professor at Rice University (Texas), is the founder of Connexions, an open education resource project, and its offshoot OpenStax College.

Switchers and Scalers

The VM0808H 8x8 HD matrix video switch from ATEN is capable of routing up to eight HDMI sources to a maximum of eight HDMI

What technologies and features do higher education favor for digital signage and video and web conferencing deployments? And what can be done to ensure that these technology purchases are used wisely? Here’s what is happening on the AV technology scene.

Touch screens are taking over—and people expect to see them. In the years since Apple first popularized the technology with the iPhone in 2007, it has become almost rare to meet someone who doesn’t own a touchscreen smartphone or tablet. This is becoming even truer among the college-bound and younger generation. Take, for example, the viral YouTube video showing a toddler who could easily operate an iPad, but seemed perplexed when she touched the pages of a magazine and nothing happened.

Through careful scheduling, leaders at Howard Community College have ensured more classes are offered throughout the day so that buildings don't stand empty.

A hallmark of community colleges is being nimble enough in their class offerings to respond quickly to the changing needs of their students. Additional faculty can be hired to teach the new courses, but classroom space is often a fixed resource that isn’t so easily added. “We would not turn down a new classroom building,” says Tony Honeycutt, provost of Somerset Community College (Ky.) with a laugh, “but we can meet our needs for classroom space through better scheduling.”

Plagiarism is a widespread problem, and with anytime, anywhere internet access, it only seems to get worse. As part of a study published last summer by The Pew Research Center and the Chronicle of Higher Education, more than half of 1,055 college presidents surveyed said they had seen a rise in plagiarism in the last 10 years. (Just 2 percent thought that it had decreased.)

Harvard President Drew Faust (left) and MIT President Susan Hockfield announce edX.

At the beginning of the 21st century, MIT began a bold, pioneering experiment in bringing higher learning to the masses. Originally intended for students traveling abroad to keep up with their studies, the OpenCourseWare Project enabled anyone to access the OCW site and read course materials from more than 2,000 MIT classes. While there was no interaction with faculty and no grades or credit given for doing any of the work, it opened the door to a variety of possibilities for online learning.

What kinds of collaboration tools are being used by higher ed administrators for more efficient execution of projects these days? Here are a few examples:

Students, staff, faculty, and alumni are frequently in need of support for special projects, curriculum collaboration, and technology. Helpdesk solutions for IT administrators have been widely adopted among larger institutions to streamline IT support. But, with tight budgets, there’s a need for a streamlined, collaborative workflow that allows staff, support specialists, department heads, administrators, and professors alike to be more productive, in a shorter period of time and with less staff.

The goal of being more energy efficient is not just fashionable. It’s sensible. There are cost savings to be realized from energy efficiency solutions. The fourth annual CDW-G Energy Efficient IT Report shows that savings are being realized by higher ed institutions that have implemented solutions, with 71 percent of surveyed schools reporting having reduced their data center energy costs by 1 percent or more. The report is based on a survey of 760 IT professionals from several sectors, including higher ed. 

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