Articles: Software

If you haven’t made your plans yet for EduComm 2011, let me take this opportunity to tell you about the variety of fast-paced, information-packed breakout sessions scheduled for attendees.

Professionals who have helped create inviting places for groups to study on campus have vivid memories of the uninviting study spaces of yesterday. “When we studied as a group, if we studied as a group, it was typically in the dining hall,” recalls Jeff Vredevoogd, director of Herman Miller Education.

Call it the marathon without a finish line: As new network demands such as mobile computing and rich media increase, campus IT strategists are trying to keep running ahead, to ensure that their networks can meet the need.

When most people think of video surveillance, they think of a Big Brother scenario, where their every move is being monitored. And after a campus tragedy, such as the Virginia Tech shootings of 2007, pundits debate whether video surveillance might have prevented the tragedy. But at colleges and universities, these electronic eyes do much more.

The campus network is home to thousands of student residents while at the same time hosting key administrative servers containing private personal information. Yet in most universities the network administrators are expected to maintain an "open network environment" that allows free access in and out of the campus.

A picture is worth a thousand words, especially when trying to convey complex ideas. At Purdue University (Ind.), a home-grown smartphone app lets students easily incorporate mobile video components into class assignments and share them with teachers and other students.

Digital signage has existed on campuses in some form for decades. Originally, it was standard television sets embedded in the wall with a slow crawl of text showing campus news. Now, high-quality flatscreens display live TV, text, and information tickers all at the same time.

The judging has begun on the next round of Models of Efficiency entries, the first of three installments for 2011. We continue to be encouraged by the number of entries that are coming in for each round, a sign that colleges and universities are eager to share their stories about how they saved time or money with technology enhancements or business process improvements.

Based on Twitter, blogs, and web conferences, it looks like everybody in higher education is talking about check-ins, Facebook Places, Foursquare, Gowalla, and SCVNGR. No matter where they work, from liberal arts colleges to big state universities, many web communication and online marketing professionals have already adopted location-based services (LBS).

There are 18 million college students, 40 percent of whom receive federal financial aid every spring and every fall. The average student, after class drops and other adjustments, gets 2.5 refunds totaling $1,300. That's a lot of money and a lot of transactions that have to be made according to a stringent set of regulations.

With the rising cost of higher education a challenging reality for students and educators, affordability is being addressed by legislation on both state and federal levels. For example, institutions are being urged to explore cost savings for students via provisions in the Higher Education Opportunity Act.

Back in 2003, University Business ran a cover story that asked, "Is the Tablet PC the Future of Higher Education?"

It was an exciting time, when computers were faster and more powerful than ever, and everyone was still just scratching the surface of how to interact with the internet.

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