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Artificial intelligence has come out of research labs and onto college and university campuses to aid students and faculty. It remains in the very early stages of making education more effective, accessible and affordable—but it’s beginning to transform learning environments and campus services.

Students at California’s Santa Clara University are tapping their campus cards for various on-campus services instead of swiping, with the use of NFC technology. With convenience and efficiency as key drivers, the university plans to transition its NFC offerings to include mobile devices within the next couple of years.

Campus cards accomplish many tasks—from purchasing meals and vending machine snacks to unlocking dorm rooms and other campus facilities. A growing number of colleges and universities now offer even greater convenience, having replaced less-secure swipe cards with “contactless” cards and mobile devices that perform the same functions.

Fifteen fictitious people created by Hope College administrators have guided the web team in creating a site with easy, logical navigation. The personas represent prospective and current students and faculty, staff, parents, alumni and community members.

When making decisions about Hope College’s website redesign, project team members found themselves looking at a photo of Adam, an 18-year-old freshman, to gauge what he might think is the most logical place for a piece of content—or whether he thinks the content should be there at all.

Picture this: sticky notes on every screen. And if there are none on the monitor, lift up the keyboard. Nothing there? Try opening the pencil drawer.

In just three years, enrollment at Lone Star Community College grew by about 50 percent. The six-campus system, located in the north Houston metro area, now has more than 95,000 students and has experienced explosive data growth, as well—from 40 terabytes to 1.6 petabytes.

Campuses are aggregating bandwidth demand to purchase more capacity at lower costs through state networks and other consortia.

Higher education has a long history of collaboration among institutions. Today, colleges and universities are leveraging the power of that collaborative spirit to bring high-capacity bandwidth to the market’s most insatiable users: traditional college-age students.

Built in high-traffic areas around campus, The Zones at Boise State University have walk-up help desks where students can get their technology questions answered.

From stand-alone help desks to spaces in bookstores and other high-traffic areas, technology services are becoming more visible on college campuses. Many colleges and universities have modeled new help desks after the Genius Bar in Apple Stores.

The University of Michigan’s very decentralized campus means it has multiple IT departments, numerous technologies and plenty of cloud applications. “We basically use everything you can think of when it comes to the cloud,” says Don Welch, chief information security officer. “Colleges here have their own relationships with providers, and their own strategies with information storage. So it’s a big task to set central policies, but it’s important to take on that role.”

About half of U.S. higher ed faculty had taught in a flipped environment as of winter 2014, according to a survey.

Though some instructors think flipping the classroom is as simple as students watching lectures online and doing their homework in class, version 2.0 of the practice is evolving to allow faculty to provide more rigorous, in-depth instruction.

A 2013 survey of institutions that have a formal policy covering user-provisioned technologies. (Click to enlarge)

Controlling bandwidth is just one reason why colleges and universities have adopted BYOD policies. Improving computer security, providing reliable internet access for classroom work, and simply letting faculty, staff and students use their favorite devices have driven wider acceptance of BYOD strategies.

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