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Articles: Technology

The College-Bound Student E-Expectations Survey asked 3,000 college-bound high school seniors and juniors about their digital habits and expectations—from the start of the recruiting cycle. Here’s a selection of the top insights from the study.

Almost all U.S. colleges and universities now award certificates, digital badges and other forms of microcredentials. Driving this fast-growing trend are workforce millennials who want to learn, for instance, how to operate an Amazon delivery drone or repair a self-driving car without having to earn another degree.

The nine schools recognized as Summer 2016 Models of Excellence have found that innovation leads to innovation when it comes to student success. Administrators who find new opportunities to provide support encourage students to be creative in making the most of a higher education.

As colleges and universities look for ways to deliver more online services to students and faculty, they also want the best performance from their IT investments. For many, that means moving to the cloud. Whether your goal is lower operating costs or better application performance, it’s still a good business decision.

Thanks to a concept called the Internet of Things, anything—really, anything—can and will be hooked up to a network.

While little pockets of IoT are springing up in higher ed—both in the form of institution- and student-owned devices—campuswide installations are predicted to be a few years away. That’s not an excuse for sitting back and waiting for smart coffee makers to pop up in every residence hall, however.

What is the biggest misconception higher ed leaders have around the need to prepare for campuswide IoT?

“It won’t concern them … it’s just an IT thing. Technology underpins everything in higher education, administration, academics and IT. The IoT is about every connection on campus and it can drive improved outcomes—intelligent connections deliver efficient operations and improve safety and security, while video and collaboration provide better teaching and learning.”

—Renee Patton, U.S. public sector director of education, Cisco

Out in front with OER: Tidewater Community College created the first degree program—in business administration—to use only open-educational resources.

A few dozen community colleges will get financial backing to design degree programs based wholly on free, open educational resources (OER) in a sweeping effort to make higher ed more affordable. Full-time community college students spend about $1,300 a year on textbooks, ultimately representing about a third of the cost of their associate degrees.

More than 1,100 campus tech leaders and innovators from across the nation flocked to Las Vegas for the June 6-8 event, descending upon The Mirage Convention Center for three days of insight and inspiration.

Before a campus goes virtual, there are real issues to consider.

Virtual desktop technology allows students and staff to access sophisticated software on a laptop or mobile device. It also can strengthen network security and lower expenses by reducing the need for actual computers and lab space on campus.

The University of Central Florida, a campus of 60,000, decided to virtualize applications rather than entire desktops.

UCF Apps lets users access the specific software needed for coursework. After downloading and installing a Citrix receiver client, students can log in and get the apps that have been provisioned to their account based on their area of study.

In regard to desktop virtualization, what aspects of implementation do higher ed institutions tend to overlook?

“It’s easy to overlook security when implementing new technologies, and a good example of this is desktop virtualization. It’s an efficient way to deploy the same functionality across multiple machines, however, you’ll most likely need to adjust security practices to fit the new virtual environment.”

—Slawek Ligier, vice president of Security Engineering, Barracuda

Fred Lokken, a professor of political science at Truckee Meadows Community College in Nevada, sees several reason why community colleges have made big strides in online learning.

Online learning has significantly changed the landscape of higher education over the last decade. In a survey by the Instructional Technology Council , 94 percent of students said their online courses were equivalent or superior to traditional courses.

Karine Joly is the web editor behind www.collegewebeditor.com, a blog about higher ed web marketing, public relations, and technologies. She is also the founder of www.higheredexperts.com.

While it’s still too early to rule on the performance of paid social media marketing to drive measurable actions beyond the media platform, it’s time for schools to start testing to optimize paid social for higher education marketing. 

Poorly designed websites can turn students off to a college or university, a new report warns. (Gettyimages.com: Anatolii BabiiI)

When it comes to website design, universities continue to make common key mistakes that turn away potential students. A report says schools often miss the mark when trying to appeal to a generation raised on short, easy-to-digest communication popularized by social media.

Besides freeing up IT to handle other tasks, new systems allow HR to be more efficient because data is located in one spot rather than spread through multiple systems that require multiple sign-ons. And new HR apps allow employees to use mobile devices to check benefits, complete a course or even schedule vacations.

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