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The average college student now spends about $1,200 per year on course materials. (Click to enlarge)

Textbook publishing has long been seen as an impenetrable business, with five major players controlling most of the nearly $14 billion industry. But in recent years, the shift to digital and open-access content has led to a proliferation of free and low-cost alternatives.

Meanwhile, spiraling costs, massive student debt, changing consumer demands and public as well as legislative efforts have pushed the industry toward a true disruption that is now widely considered to be inevitable.

There’s value in treating noncredit courses as more than just an add-on to degree programs.

Georgetown University officials had a bit of an epiphany recently about the impact of their noncredit courses. While the offerings had been around since the 1990s, administrators hadn’t realized the big benefits they could bring to the institution.

Half the profits from student-run food carts at the University of Illinois at Chicago go back to the institution, through a partnership with Chartwells Higher Education.

For today’s college students, on-the-go lifestyles present a challenge when it comes to finding time to eat, and, more specifically, eat well.

In 2010, when Adriana Marie Reyes of The University of Arizona surveyed 219 undergraduate students for her honors thesis on what influences college students’ eating habits, 82 percent said they would eat healthier if time were not an issue.

Getting tripped up on the latest accessibility standards when planning or renovating campus buildings—and then having to make costly changes later—is hardly a project team’s idea of a good time.

Regardless of function, many of the facilities completed within the past year on college and university campuses were designed to create connections. These buildings may help campus groups and departments collaborate, or they may enhance town-gown relations.

Linking the facility to other parts of campus through a deliberate architectural feature is another way project planners are focusing on connections. Find out how each of the following six new buildings is bringing people together.

When Ohio State students requested a campus life mobile app, Steve Fischer, director of web and mobile apps (standing, left) and his team collaborated on the project that made it happen.

In today’s higher ed world, no department can work in a vacuum, least of all IT. From understanding the business plan to knowing how a web page or application will be used and by whom before it is designed and built, the days of CIOs and their teams working independently are gone.

IT administrators are spending more time than ever before collaborating with other departments to ensure there is a clear understanding of a project’s mission and to generate a more successful outcome.

When mapping out how wayfinding should be incorporated into digital signage on campus, ease of use for students and visitors should be the top concern. “The more information that can be presented visually, rather than textually, the more easily information can be digested in terms of wayfinding,” says Lyle Bunn, a digital signage expert based outside Toronto.

Colleges and universities must consider students' privacy and other issues when lectures are recorded.

While the benefits of lecture capture and the flipped classroom model have caught widespread attention in higher ed, it is crucial to note its risks—particularly in the area of privacy and copyright violations.

The President’s Task Force  Committee at Salisbury University is an example of how multiple  departments can work with IT. On  the committee is Simeon Ananou (seated, with laptop), as well as his colleagues from the provost’s office, student affairs, registrar, financial aid, general counsel, HR, web  communications and two academic departments.

Within the next few years, as the ROI of collaboration becomes increasingly known, expect cross-departmental teamwork to be integral to the way all IT projects are handled, says Kamalika Sandell, associate CIO of American University. “There will be fewer boundaries in IT, and that will allow input to happen fluidly throughout the regular course of doing business,” she notes.

Simeon Ananou, CIO of Salisbury University in Maryland, sees a future higher ed model where IT and curriculum are integrated.

Swipe for entry: Florida State and other  campuses are moving toward all buildings,  not just dorms, requiring a card key for access.

As violent crime has steadily increased on college campuses in the last three decades, institutional leaders have reacted by creating more stringent policies to restrict visitors from entering their academic, administrative and residential buildings.