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In 2011 the largest reported data breach in the university world was suffered by a Virginia institution of higher learning, which reported more than 176,500 records breached. More recently, in late 2012, a Florida university suffered a breach involving data on more than 200,000 students and some of the university's top employees. The same week hackers posted online thousands of personal records from 53 universities around the world.

Karine Joly is the web editor behind, a blog about higher ed web marketing, public relations, and technologies.

Learn what every higher ed digital analytics professional will soon be talking about.

Karine Joly says digital content is now the currency for search, social networking and even advertising.

What will 2014 bring to the digital field in higher ed? That’s the million dollar question at the start of this new year. Unfortunately, charting a precise course for success over the next 12 months isn’t possible.

When everything changes so quickly, we can only try to identify what looks like the best route to our destination. To help you with the exercise, let’s see what developments are leading the way.

I asked digital project managers to share the organizational tools they most use. Microsoft Project was mentioned, as well as some in-house solutions, but two web-based services topped the list:

While it has never been easy to manage digital projects in higher education, it has become increasingly complicated. Only five years ago, a website redesign and a web content system implementation were the two most challenging—and often dreaded—types of digital projects web professionals knew they would have to tackle in their career.

Today, these are only two items in a long list of projects implemented by digital teams.

In higher education, we love, hate, and thrive on college rankings. The annual U.S. News and World Report top colleges list—as well as rankings by other news organizations—is anticipated with excitement and trepidation. When it comes to the numbers game of college admissions, it’s important to secure a spot near the top of these lists. Improving your institution’s rank means an automatic increase in general visibility. It also often results in a better chance to convert more college-bound high school students into serious prospects and highly motivated applicants.

While it’s not yet on the radar of most development professionals in higher education, crowdsourcing has become a very noticeable part of the online fundraising landscape for younger donors

Have you noticed how nearly everybody has been weighing in on whether or not higher ed should embrace responsive websites? Web developers and designers working in universities, of course, but also marketers, communicators, and college magazine editors have debated, at conferences or on Twitter, the pros and cons of the responsive web design approach.

As I noted in my previous column on the digital web in higher ed, digital analytics is bound to play an increasing role this year. Whether they call it big data, business intelligence, or analytics, many decision-makers on campus have been converted to the power of the data-driven approach. Make a difference with web analytics at your institution by taking these three steps.

Can you believe it? I’ve been writing this column about digital marketing in higher education for seven years.

So much has happened since February 2006. Together we’ve witnessed the first blips of Web 2.0, the development—and demise—of many social networking platforms, and the rising tide of new media that later turned into the social media tsunami. Over the past seven years, we’ve also seen the end of the desktop browser compatibility war, the start of the battle for the mobile and responsive web, and growing interest for digital analytics in higher education.