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IT Community Unity—At Cal Poly Pomona, AV harmoniously operates under the greater information technology department umbrella—which may well be because the CIO still allows AV to have autonomy. (Photo: Cal Poly Pomona/Tom Zasadzinski)

AV has been absorbed by the IT department on many college campuses. But is the situation more like a friendly merger or hostile takeover?

The trend started in the mid-2000s, when AV equipment joined the network and control moved to remote software suites. The transition put AV departments in constant communication with the IT teams that manage those networks—making the adoption of AV by IT a natural progression.

“I know the idea of bringing your own device is becoming more prominent, but I still think pulling out a phone, tablet or laptop is distracting. You always lose students for a measurable amount of time, and that’s the primary concern.”

Dwight Farris, instructional technologist, The University of Arizona

Equipped for Response—In 2015, more than 600 instructors and 20,000 students used clickers at  The University of Arizona. The Office of Instruction and Assessment’s resources page offers a primer with clicker best practices and strategies, including tips on writing good questions.  Photo: Thomas Veneklasen Photography/Arizona Board of Regents

Colleges and universities have used student response systems for years to take attendance, administer pop quizzes and register informal polls in larger classes where verbal discussions are limited. But as technology improves, student response systems are becoming more versatile than ever—and instructors are increasingly creative in using them.

What do you see as the biggest mistake colleges and universities make when implementing student success technology?

“Retention technology can identify potential at-risk students, but then you need success coaches in place to effectively engage students. Helping coaches understand data and apply it proactively instead of reactively will empower them to reach out long before red flags surface.”

—Steve Pappageorge, chief product officer and senior vice president, Helix Education

Achieving smooth deployment of a new student success system can be challenging, say administrators who have tackled the challenge. (Gettyimages.com: Godruma • Nidwlw • Aarrows)

Early alert systems. Transfer credit assessment tools. Adaptive technologies. Apps to push student reminders. Career assessment software. Colleges and universities nationwide use these and many other success technologies to help students improve grades, increase involvement and persist to graduation with as little debt as possible.

Adaptive learning uses computers for interactive teaching, with the materials adapted based on each student’s needs.

Translating traditional lectures to an adaptive learning format takes time, expertise and budget dollars. To make a smooth transition from traditional to adaptive learning, here are six challenges to implementation and what early adopters have done to clear those hurdles.

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

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.

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

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.

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