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Trends shaping the shift to getting the most value out of IT resources

Tech expert talks how EDUCAUSE attendees are looking to reimagine department decisions
University Business, October 2015
Nicole Nesrsta
Nicole Nesrsta

The notion of doing more with less—less budget, less time, fewer resources—has been the mantra in many IT departments for some time. But the institution leaders gathering at this year’s EDUCAUSE Annual Conference are now more concerned with: “How can I do something different to get more value with the resources I have?” This shift in focus from thinking about pure quantity to reaping more quality experiences is allowing IT to completely reimagine the infrastructure, solutions, lab spaces and classrooms they have today. In order make this change effectively, attendees at EDUCAUSE will be looking at a few key areas this year.

1. Using analytics to make better decisions. Higher ed institutions are powerhouses of data and information. It is not always easy, however, to take that data, extract findings and trends, and then make decisions. EDUCAUSE attendees will be looking for solutions that can help them harness available data and find ways to improve student engagement and retention. Other goals that can be informed by properly understood data include providing better services, and by retiring current services and solutions that are no longer providing value and are costing money.

2. Securing student data to protect their privacy. While it is important for colleges and universities to use the data they have to lead better decision-making, institution leaders also need to ensure that information is kept secure. While students may not seem like the best targets for identity theft, just a few years after they graduate they are strong income earners with new lines of credit. IT teams need to make sure the data they collect and store is secure in order to protect the future of their students.

3. Providing a personalized learning experience. Due to the proliferation of new and more cost-effective devices available, technology is in the hands of more students than ever before. But how can schools take advantage of this phenomenon and not miss out on crucial possibilities for higher-level learning? IT teams need to capture the opportunity that these devices provide, and find the tools and solutions to provide an equal, yet personalized, learning experience for every kind of student—from the techsavvy incoming freshman, to the mom with three children returning to school while working full time.

4. Offering a variety of instructional environments. When students are selecting classes, they are not actively thinking, “I’ll take this class that is live, in the classroom, and then I’ll take this one that is online and then this one that is offered at the downtown campus.” Students want to enroll for classes and consume them in the way that works for their schedule and lifestyle in a given semester. That may be live in some circumstances, online in others and maybe even on-demand after a class has finished. CIOs and other tech leaders will be looking for solutions that make this model easier for faculty to deliver and for students to consume information.

5. The Internet of Things will drive curiosity. The Internet of Things (IoT) is causing a lot of discussion and excitement at institutions today. But we are just at the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the value that these technologies can bring to campus. Students can reserve study rooms, check out gym equipment and even see if the washing machine is open, all from a smartphone. We will see attendees looking for ways that IoT can take this a step further to enhance student learning and class facilitation.

To discuss these trends and offer your own, be sure to meet with Nicole at the EDUCAUSE Annual Conference in Citrix Booth 1230.

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