With this new solution, students can test out of skills they already have, LoudCloud said. Each student sees a unique dashboard with recommendations for the skills they still need, based on their indicated field of interest—as well as a list of courses that can satisfy these needs. Collin College of Texas is piloting the cloud-based platform, which will be rolled out to schools nationwide early next year.
As more students bring smart phones and tablets to campus, colleges are responding by launching mobile apps to enhance students’ campus experience. According to the 2013 Campus Computing Project survey, four-fifths of colleges and universities have activated mobile apps as of this fall or will do so in the coming year, compared to three-fifths in fall 2012.
At the EDUCAUSE conference, AT&T discussed its mobile app development platform, which is based on open standards and technologies. Using AT&T’s platform, Maryville University in St. Louis has developed a campus app for enrollment that engages with prospective students in a number of ways.
The app had more than 800 downloads in its first month, said Shani Lenore-Jenkins, Maryville’s associate vice president for enrollment. “It’s giving [prospective students] content the way they want it, when they want it,” she added.
Recognizing that students today are more mobile and expect access to key applications on the go, Microsoft announced a new program called Student Advantage, which extends licensing for the company’s Office 365 ProPlus cloud-based offering to students at qualifying institutions free of charge, beginning Dec. 1.
Office 365 ProPlus allows users to install Office applications such as Word, PowerPoint, and Excel on up to five Windows-based devices: PCs, laptops, phones, or tablets. Users have full access to Office functionality on any of these devices, and their work roams with them, so that when they open a file on any device, they see the current, most up-to-date version.
Microsoft’s offer applies to any college or university that currently licenses Office 365 ProPlus or Office 365 Professional for its faculty and staff, the company said.
The theft of computing devices with confidential data on them is a growing concern for campus technology leaders, the 2013 Campus Computing Project suggests: While attacks on campus networks are still the top IT security threat for colleges and universities, the theft of devices with sensitive information is now the second most common IT security threat they face.
Absolute Software highlighted a service, called Absolute Secured Campus, that can help colleges answer this challenge. The service provides LoJack for Laptops to students through a volume licensing program, allowing stolen laptops to be traced and recovered without tying up the efforts of campus police.
Besides helping to recover stolen devices, LoJack for Laptops can remotely lock devices so a thief can’t log in, and it can remotely delete selected files, passwords, or other sensitive information to help prevent identity theft, Absolute says.