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Content Management

The look of instructional technology is changing rapidly, as are the roles and strategies of the IT professional. Higher education technology’s legacy was characterized by six key areas: a strong sense of faculty ownership; hidden costs of free systems and networks; content and delivery mechanisms that were not well-differentiated; unstructured innovation; systems that would neither scale nor integrate; and service levels that were little more than “We’ll give it our best”--all with security being a mere afterthought.

As more business documents are converted to digital files – and mobile information access becomes a way of life for the students, faculty and staff of the millennial generation – innovative institutions are going beyond simple paperless operations. They are exploring creative ways to automate, optimize and transform business processes for student success and operational efficiency.

When Duke University class of 2008 arrived on campus to start their freshman year, they had no idea they would become pioneers. Why? Because each of the incoming freshmen received a free iPod as part of a program aimed at fostering innovative uses of technology in the classroom. I led the Apple team that helped Duke experiment with creative academic uses for the devices and I was on campus when the students received their free iPods; it was memorable as the students cheered with excitement as each one was given their new mobile device.

It’s not enough today to put together a presentation and talk through the slides. Students have short attention spans and need to be fully engaged with the course material. In this session, Brian Klaas, web systems designer for the Center for Teaching and Learning with Technology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, explains how to create a lively, memorable presentation or online class lecture using the basic structure of a great screenplay. Here are his eight recommendations.

Can you remember the times when PDF files were placed (dumped?) on your website to make their content available online? As you know, those days are gone. PDF-powered websites just don’t cut it anymore—if they ever did. While the file format battle has been won on the web, the content format war is raging in higher education and elsewhere.

Are there any people at your institution who still see writing for the web or social media as a copy-and-paste job from your brochures, viewbooks, or other catalogs? Hopefully not.

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.

Today’s universities with campus-wide, robust mobile broadband networks have secured an edge in marketing to technology-centered young adults. These young adults have embraced smartphones and are using applications that enable life on campus to be more secure, navigable, and fun. Apps are everywhere. They boost campus security by opening doors to residence halls, broadcast real-time audio and video to emergency dispatchers, use QR (Quick Response) codes to traverse campus grounds, and help students to meet up, check grades or assignments, and receive weather and class cancellation alerts.

How many 140-character messages were tweeted today? How many posts have been published in the past 24 hours? How many photos have been posted, and liked, on Facebook since yesterday? Hundreds of thousands, if not millions.

Sometimes you don’t even know you need a solution until one presents itself. At least that’s how Tegrity Lecture Capture grew from a classroom product to a tool embedded in nearly every aspect of Lawson State Community College. 

The college implemented Tegrity in 2005. With 60 percent of the Birmingham, AL, college’s students holding down full- or part-time work, the school hoped to increase engagement, improve its retention level and help working students with attendance issues, notes Academic Dean Sherri Davis. 

Visitors to the University Business website last month began seeing a redesigned site, built from the ground up to add more features and greater functionality. To give you an idea of what you'll find on the new site, I turned to Stephanie Martinez, CIO of Professional Media Group, which publishes University Business.

"The UB website was built using Drupal 7, an open-source content management system," she says. "The Drupal CMS allows us to manage content more efficiently, and it is very scalable. New features can be added easily."