Improving Student Recruitment and Retention

Student recruitment and retention is a big business for colleges and universities—and technology can help. With the competition for students fiercer than ever, many colleges are turning to sophisticated technologies such as customer relations management software and data analytics to help them gain an edge.

With the generous support of HP, we’ve assembled this collection of resources to keep you informed of the latest ways technology can be a powerful recruitment and retention tool.

—The Editors


IU professor teaching class with avatars

IU professor says Second Life could expand online learning.

This fall, an Indiana University Kokomo professor will teach an art philosophy class to students who might be disguised as robots, dinosaurs, or vampires.

Gregory Steel is the only IU professor to teach a course in the virtual reality world known as Second Life.

Instead of meeting on the IU Kokomo campus, students create avatars and log in to move their avatars through a virtual classroom, according to IU Kokomo officials.

Second Life is an environment that crosses cartoons with real life. IU’s Second Life campus includes landmarks like IU Kokomo’s Hunt Hall and Bloomington’s Sample Gates. The virtual campus also includes ocean views from most directions.

Read more about virtual learning in higher education…

College turns to virtual world to train emergency workers

Nursing students can learn in a virtual world at UTA

Ga. Tech to host disabled STEM students in Second Life

Steel said he combines the virtual classroom with video chats, eMail, and Facebook to meet all of his students’ academic needs.

“I have found that the students are more engaged in learning because there is more room for interaction than in a traditional online course,” Steel said. “This offers the flexibility and convenience of an online course but still allows for a significant amount of the kind of interaction you find in a real classroom. We’re not located in the same space, but at the same time, we are.”

Steel first taught the virtual class in the fall of 2011. He said he found more students participated in class discussion than in a traditional classroom.

Tarja Harney took Steel’s first virtual class. She said she felt less pressure when she was participating in the online discussion.

“When the teacher asks a question, you don’t feel like, ‘Oh no, he’s picking on me, and everybody is looking at me,'” she said. “You could say something without worrying about what everyone else thought because it’s your avatar’s comment, not yours.”

University officials are looking for other ways to use the Second Life program to enhance course offerings, said John Gosney, IU faculty liaison for the Learning Technologies Division of University Technology Services.

The virtual classes are more interactive, so nursing students could use it to treat virtual patients in a safe environment. Or an archaeology class could virtually visit a dig site.

“This has infinitely more possibilities than the current standard of online teaching,” he said. “I think we have an opportunity to look at something that would extend the classroom out into the world. It could become a pretty powerful tool.”

Copyright (c) 2012, the Kokomo Tribune (Kokomo, Ind.). Visit the Kokomo Tribune online at Distributed by MCT Information Services.


Study: What higher education will look like in 2020

In 2020, students may be able to travel to faraway continents, and attend a school halfway around the world, Mashable reports. Experts predict technology will facilitate distance learning outside of traditional classrooms, according to a survey published by the Pew Internet & American Life Project. In the study, 1,021 education experts and stakeholders including technology researchers, university directors, venture capitalists and Ivy League university professors, relayed their predictions about the future of higher education.  About 60% of respondents believe higher education will look completely different from the way it is today. While, 39% of participants think the traditional college structure will not change drastically aside from a deeper integration of in-classroom technology. For now, class attendance, in-person participation and on-campus commitment are key factors of college success. In the future, that may all change. Teleconferencing, online universities and distance learning will lead to hybrid campuses, experts said. Hybrid campuses will incorporate online learning plus in-person class meetings. The ballooning cost of a college degree is driving the need for a new school system. Outstanding student debt in the U.S. is upwards of $1 trillion…

Click here for the full story


U-Va. star professor: Why I won’t ‘un-resign’

Computer scientist William Wulf was a star professor at the University of Virginia until he recently resigned to protest the forced resignation of popular President Teresa Sullivan by leaders of the governing board, the Washington Post reports. Sullivan was reinstated earlier this month after a revolt on campus, but Wulf has refused to reconsider his decision, despite pleas by faculty and administrators, including Sullivan herself. Here is a letter that Wulf, president emeritus of the National Academy of Engineering, has written and publicly released explaining why he will not “un-resign.” For Wulf, the crisis has not really ended. Here’s the letter where he explains why…

Click here for the full story


Top higher-education technology news: August 2012

Here are some of the top higher-education technology news stories in our July/August 2012 edition.

eLearning programs have gotten a reprieve from a controversial federal rule that some people viewed as too heavy-handed; a new resource helps ed-tech leaders understand the various standards for ensuring that campus technology systems are compatible with each other; and two recent court rulings have important implications for campus technology use: These are among the top higher-education technology stories in the July/August edition of eCampus News.

Our July/August edition is now available in digital format on our website. You can browse the full publication here, or click on any of the headlines below to read these highlights:

eLearning programs get a reprieve

The U.S. Court of Appeals has sided with an earlier court ruling that would eliminate a controversial federal regulation that some higher-education officials characterized as heavy handed and a potentially devastating blow for online learning…

Ed-tech leaders schooled on interoperability standards

When campus technology directors purchase an innovative product from one vendor and a new upgrade from another vendor, they can find themselves in a tangle of incompatible formats. A primer released by the Software & Information Industry Association explains how adoption of interoperability standards can streamline technology systems in K-20 education…

Colleges join web giants in long-awaited IP change

June 6 was perhaps the most important day in the history of the commercial internet, and hardly anyone noticed…

Admissions officials: Students shouldn’t bank on multimedia gimmicks

College applicants shouldn’t rely on a viral YouTube video to spring them from the confines of a university’s lengthy wait list, admissions officials say—despite the success of one high-profile applicant whose video plea recently went viral…

For colleges, social media ‘Klout’ isn’t everything

A blitz of retweets and Facebook likes can be a nice boost for a college’s social media presence, but measuring success with the popular Klout score could give schools a false read of their Twitter and Facebook influence…

Court: Facebook posts about student’s lab cadaver justified punishment

The Minnesota Supreme Court has ruled that the University of Minnesota did not violate a mortuary student’s free-speech rights by punishing her for Facebook posts about the school cadaver she was working on, which included “satirical commentary and violent fantasy.” But the court, in one of the nation’s first decisions addressing college students’ online free-speech rights, said the sanctions imposed by the university were justified by “narrowly tailored” rules directly related to “established professional conduct standards.”

Judge: Schools can publish small excerpts of texts online for students

In a case closely watched by academia and publishers, a federal judge in Atlanta has ruled mostly in favor of Georgia State University in a copyright case that would allow professors to continue posting excerpts of published works online for their students…


Microsoft Surface to officially surface on October 26th

Just in time for Halloween (and the launch of Windows 8), Microsoft (MSFT) has revealed that it plans on releasing its first Surface tablets on October 26th, BGR reports. Microsoft buried the Surface release date in a recent filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission last week, where it told the SEC that “on October 26th… we will begin selling the Surface, a series of Microsoft-designed and manufactured hardware devices.”

Click here for the full story


NSF Grant Enables City Tech to Establish ‘Fuse Lab’ to Teach Advanced Tech Skills at Associate Degree Level

Brooklyn, NY — July 26, 2012 — How do you hook students on technological careers while ensuring they have the fundamentals to succeed in rapidly changing industries?

With this question in mind, New York City College of Technology (City Tech) has set up a “Fuse Lab” for students earning associate degrees in architectural technology, construction management technology and civil engineering technology.

The project, which is transforming the way these subjects are taught at City Tech, has been launched with the support of an $877,322 three-year grant from the National Science Foundation/Advanced Technological Education program (NSF/ATE).

Instead of engaging in hypothetical scenarios, students learn new technologies through immediate application to projects they are developing in their content courses. Students from different disciplines come together using state-of-the-art computational tools to work on real-world problems.

The Fuse Lab is supporting the development of new courses and tutorials in the key areas of building information modeling (BIM), sustainability or “green” technology, and digital fabrication. Projects and assignments will be continuously tweaked for workplace relevance in collaboration with project advisors and industry partners.

For example, students in second-year architectural technology and civil engineering technology courses will work together on the design of steel frame structural components for buildings designed in architectural studios. Utilizing powerful computational tools for 3D modeling and analysis, team members can immediately see the consequences of a given architectural or engineering decision in a collaborative process that mirrors the 21st century workplace.

Located near City Tech, City Poly High School is a partner in the Fuse Lab. There, the project’s emphasis is on enhancing summer programs for high school freshmen and mathematics programs by focusing on career awareness, real-world applications and foundational math preparation.

“Technological advances in these industries are encouraging the ‘fusion’ of architecture, engineering and construction (AEC) teams in today’s workplace by allowing real time, continuous collaboration that was never before possible,” says Shelley Smith, City Tech’s architectural technology department chair and the project’s director. “We want to prepare our students to meet the challenges today and give them a foundation for future developments.”

Smith is a registered architect with significant project management experience over three decades, including large multi-disciplinary teams and a variety of project and construction types. Among her research interests are construction and preservation technologies, and architectural history. She has been teaching at the college level since 2003.

The Fuse Lab grant is enabling faculty to develop curricula that both integrates the teaching of AEC technologies and gives students a solid foundation in mathematics. “The City Tech architectural technology department has moved away from teaching stand-alone computer courses,” Smith explains. “When the technology training is integrated, students learn the purpose, best use and underlying principles of the technologies, and are therefore better prepared and willing to learn and adapt when the next new innovation comes along.”

While Fuse Lab encompasses the three disciplines of architecture, engineering and construction management, Smith emphasizes that “it was not our goal to create a new discipline from a fusion of the three.” Instead, she says, the three disciplines are fused into “an effective team approach in which each discipline maintains its distinct role.” Educators and practitioners involved in the Fuse Lab will be engaged at every stage for input into the curriculum process, from development through assessment.

Smith describes the curriculum as serving as “a model for other undergraduate architecture, engineering and construction programs nationally,” one that will “produce students who can take advantage of and continually adapt to the fields’ rapidly evolving computational, construction and sustainable technologies. The project will prepare students to be leaders in their industries by giving them an advantage over their peers coming out of a more traditional curriculum.”

In addition to Smith, Fuse Lab team members include City Tech’s Anne Leonhardt, Alexander Aptekar, Paul King, Sanjive Vaidya, Brian Ringley and Claudia Hernandez (architectural tech); Gerarda Shields, Hamidreza Norouzi and Department Chair Tony Cioffi (construction management/civil engineering tech); Huseyin Yuce (mathematics) and Marie Segares, City Tech’s liaison for Early College Initiatives (representing City Poly High School).

On June 1, the NSF/ATE grant funded a symposium, Intersections: Building Interdisciplinary Pedagogy/Building Integrated Practice, held at City Tech. It focused on the topic of leading-edge technology and design and the interdisciplinary collaborations that facilitate the implementation of digital ideals into reality. The symposium included lectures and panel discussions by leading practitioners, educators and innovators in architectural computation and fabrication practice and pedagogy. An exhibition of projects and research by the City Tech team and invited participants was held in conjunction with the symposium.

Go to to view photos of the exhibition, and for photos of the symposium.

The Fuse Lab project marks the second time since 2010 that City Tech has received a NFS/ATE grant. The first supports a Mechatronics Center that enables City Tech faculty members and students, as well as high school pupils, to participate in multidisciplinary engineering activities, such as robotics competitions.

The largest public college of technology in New York State, City Tech/CUNY enrolls nearly 16,000 students in 62 baccalaureate, associate and specialized certificate programs.


University of Georgia Chooses Banner by Ellucian and Services to Better Support Students and Faculty

FAIRFAX, Va., July 27, 2012 – The University of Georgia has licensed a suite of software solutions and services from Ellucian to help deliver personalized and intuitive online access for learners while also delivering key administrative functionality to help the university support student success.

The university licensed Banner by Ellucian and an array of tailored services following an extensive fit-gap process led by a third-party consultant. The process involved an interdisciplinary team that considered all options, including open source and building their own system, as well as other vendor solutions.

“We believe that Banner will benefit our students by providing greater accessibility and usability in an intuitive platform that can help them be successful from the very beginning of their college experience,” said Laura D. Jolly, UGA vice president for instruction. “Banner also will provide increased efficiency and productivity for our faculty and staff by connecting all the functional administrative pieces and streamlining business processes in order to improve student services, and support and administrative functions, and provide increased access to data to better support data-driven decisions.”

The university also expects that Banner will enable:
• New reporting capabilities like dashboards and early alerts that can lead to better decision making and improved student support
• Ability to leverage best practices supported by the Banner administrative system, and an opportunity to review existing business processes for areas of improvement
• A single integrated data system, eliminating redundancy and improving accuracy
• More communication and collaboration among departments fostered by an integrated, shared database
• Ability to respond to faculty requests for new functionality

The migration from the university’s legacy system to Banner, coupled with the reengineering of its overall internal information structure, also is expected to deliver considerable IT efficiencies. For example, accessing and retrieving data will no longer require extensive coding, and the university will need to interact only with one vendor for Banner software support.

Ellucian will implement and manage Banner through its Application Management Services as well as provide programming support for the institution’s current mainframe. This approach frees up the university’s internal IT staff from the enormous workload associated with implementing a new ERP and allows them to focus on delivering other key functionality in support of students and faculty.

“We are taking a strong multi-faceted service approach to our implementation and support of Banner,” said Timothy M. Chester, UGA vice president for information technology. “Ellucian offers economies of scale and specialized expertise around its products that we can’t create ourselves. They also have the experience and product knowledge to extract the fullest potential from a Banner application from the start.”

“The university took a very strategic approach to selecting a mix of services that meet their unique needs and that will give them maximum benefit in the shortest amount of time,” said Bruce Bleiman, senior vice president, customer relationships, Ellucian. “We are pleased to support them as they undergo this significant transition to a more productive and student-centered digital campus.”

Visit Ellucian at, follow Ellucian on Twitter (@EllucianInc), and like Ellucian on Facebook (/EllucianInc).

About Ellucian
Ellucian, the new company formed by the combination of Datatel and SunGard Higher Education, helps education institutions thrive in a dynamic world. It delivers a broad portfolio of technology solutions, developed in collaboration with a global education community, and provides strategic guidance to help education institutions of all kinds navigate change, achieve greater transparency, and drive efficiencies. More than 2,300 institutions in 40 countries around the world look to Ellucian for the ideas and insights that will move education forward, helping people everywhere discover their futures through learning. Visit

About The University of Georgia
Founded in 1785, the University of Georgia is America’s first chartered state university and Georgia’s largest and most comprehensive educational institution. More information on the university is available at

For more information contact:
Laura Kvinge
Tel: 801.257.4158

Trademark information: Ellucian and the Ellucian logo and Banner are trademarks or registered trademarks of Ellucian, Inc. or its affiliates in the U.S. and other countries. Other trade names and trademarks used herein are owned by their respective holders.


Seton Hall giving students Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks

Seton Hall has been at the forefront of using technology for the past 14 years.

Earlier this year, Seton Hall University announced that it was giving all incoming freshmen this fall a Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone. Now, according to Microsoft, the university is also giving incoming freshmen and returning juniors Samsung Series 7 tablets or Samsung Series 5 ultrabooks running Windows 8.

The university also has decided to standardize on the Windows platform to help reduce its IT support and maintenance costs, officials said.

“We have a responsibility to give all our students access to the technology they need to be successful learners today, as well as future leaders in the workplace,” said President Gabriel Esteban. “By putting the most advanced mobile computing system in the hands of all of our students, regardless of prior experience or socio-economic background, we are leveling the playing field and creating opportunities for tomorrow’s … leaders.”

Seton Hall has been at the forefront of using technology for the past 14 years through the school’s Mobile Computing Program, which provides a standard laptop to all its undergraduates as part of their tuition and fees.

Along with Windows phones and tablets or ultrabooks, Seton Hall has also equipped incoming freshmen with Office 365 for education, the web-based version of Office that Microsoft recently said it would offer to students and faculty free of charge. The Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phones will provide seamless integration with the students’ Windows 8 desktop environment, giving them access to familiar programs and documents on both devices, officials said.

“From students’ perspectives, Windows 8 delivers an environment that allows them to be as productive as possible,” said Stephen Landry, chief information officer, Seton Hall. “They want integration of their tablet experience with their desktop experience, and products like Microsoft Office 365 for education help make that possible. Other devices out there have the form factor and battery life, but miss the mark on offering efficient content creation and consumption.”