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Articles: Software

The disconnect between students’ digital lives and their classroom experience is narrowing as professors are increasingly embedding video in their courses—for both in-person and online learning.

Below is a closer look at how two universities, Butler University in Indiana and the University of Florida, are enhancing learning videos for their online courses.

Butler University: Adding quizzes to video

Technology used: Panopto video platform for recording lectures

Interactive boosts: Voiceover can be added to PowerPoint slides. When the instructor finds a place in the presentation to add a quiz, the video gets edited and a multiple-choice, true/false or multiple-answers type of question can be inserted.

Here are some examples of content ideas for interactive video content as well as best practices that are already employed by various universities and colleges across the U.S.

Carol Patton is a Las Vegas-based writer who specializes in human resources issues.

The University of Santa Monica has implemented an HR information system along with a new management platform called Employee Self-Onboarding by BambooHR.

DIGITIZE THIS—Students scan Civil War documents at Bowdoin College.

The mass digitization of literature is complex. The preservation of books, letters and other historical materials calls for advanced technology and a good deal of manpower. Universities are developing better practices around this process, as well as creating software and databases to make this content accessible and search-friendly.

SCHOLARLY PURSUITS— SUNY Oneonta awards badges to participants in its annual Research and Creativity Day. Each April, students present projects—from research papers to video documentaries—they’ve completed independently and with faculty mentors.

Diplomas—those venerable printed documents that lack hotlinks and interactivity features—have lost some of their luster.

The essence of 3D printing is a concept called additive manufacturing that builds up the item one layer at a time.

Amid students cutting textiles, making shoes, firing ceramics and making prints at the Parsons School of Design’s Making Center in midtown Manhattan is a whole wall of 3D printers.

CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT—At  The University of Arizona, academic advisors know that every student matters when it comes to retention, not just because each individual’s success is important but also because they realize that retaining just a few extra students raises overall retention rates.

There’s no doubt that higher ed institutions have access to tons of student data these days, but what separates actionable insights from analytics overload?

Higher ed administrators are using apps and platforms behind the scenes to help create efficiencies, increase productivity, and manage projects and workflow.

1. Set some ground rules. After introducing Slack, some users felt it was hard to cut through the clutter of irrelevant information, says Dominic Abbate, the creative director at The George Washington University. So they responded by setting up specific channels designated for non-work chit-chat like #food and #just-for-fun.

2. Listen to feedback. When Cherwell’s adoption rate was lagging because the tool was too complex and IT-focused, The University of New Mexico’s IT team redesigned the portal to make it more customer-friendly.

Yammer (free)

Good for: Collaboration and communication

Who’s using it: Penn State

From event planning to website redesign, setting up Yammer networking groups to share ideas, get feedback and check in on the progress of projects can help large campuses stay connected.

Trello (free)

Good for: Tracking projects

Who’s using it: The George Washington University

Disabilities services administrators at Greenfield Community College in Massachusetts, University of Connecticut and Landmark College in Vermont recommend the following assistive technology for students with executive dysfunction:

Higher ed institutions in the U.S. lead the world when it comes to producing graduates who go on to create unicorns—private start-up companies worth in excess of $1 billion, such as Uber, Facebook or SpaceX.

Ten years ago, few universities employed chief information security officers. Now these administrators—known as CISOs—lead teams dedicated to shielding information, systems and research from internet thieves, and to keeping up with federal regulations.

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