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Articles: Software

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. 


On January 19, Apple held a much-hyped education event at the Guggenheim Museum in New York City where the company revealed its move into the textbook distribution market with the release of the iBooks 2 and iBooks Author apps.

Notable for its higher ed implications, iBooks Author is available as a free download from the Mac App Store and lets anyone with a Mac create iBooks textbooks and publish them to Apple’s iBookstore. Education technology experts weigh in on how this could change how professors disseminate information.

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Alternative revenue streams are increasingly attractive to higher education leaders struggling to live in the new budgetary normal triggered by the recession. Monetizing assets such as audio, video, and images an institution already has or is continually generating through digital asset management (DAM) can be tantalizing to those managing a school’s coffers. But in the academic environment, can officials look beyond the perception that for-profit endeavors cheapen a school’s reputation? 

Social networking, online banking, entertainment... There’s an app for that—and for everything else you can think of. When it comes to higher ed, there’s an app for that, too. From behind-the-scenes mobile CRM apps to in-your-face athletic program apps, campus administrators are developing ways to make students’, administrators’, and faculty members’ lives a bit easier (or just more fun).


Imagine being a student in a class listening to your professor as she writes on a whiteboard at the front of the room. She asks a question and you faintly hear a voice, but you can’t see who it came from or understand what was said—because you’re sitting at your desk participating in class through your webcam.