1. Do: Use smartphones for classroom learning.
Don’t: Expect students to use them for complex coursework.
According to recent research from EDUCAUSE, which used data from over 195 institutions and over 100, 000 students, laptops (85 percent) and printers (84 percent) are practically tied for “devices most important to academic success.” The next most important device is a USB drive (68 percent), then a desktop computer (65 percent), followed by tablets (45 percent), smartphones (37 percent), and eReaders (31 percent).
The report went on to note that though students like using mobile devices for accessing the internet and social media platforms, most scholarly work happens on personal computers with software typically included in Microsoft Office. Read the full story here.
2. Do: Assign “maker” homework using digital resources.
Don’t: Expect student to be internet-savvy.
21st Century college curriculum is currently undergoing a maker movement, with more educators assigning students project-based assignments that are characterized as technology DIY. For example, students can be asked to create anything from a video documentary of a sociological theory to an interactive iPresentation on chemical reactions. The goal of maker homework is to allow student to personalize their learning through the use of digital tools and creativity to express deeper learning of a topic.
However, just because students can access digital tools and resources, doesn’t mean they know how to vet and analyze appropriate resources. Read the full story here.
3. Do: Use cloud technology.
Don’t: Assume it’s secure.
The benefits of using cloud technology are myriad, but many campus data repositories hosted by third parties have been hacked the past year, leaving colleges and universities scrambling to locate the security weakness and find better solutions; for example, just take a look at what happened to the University of Delaware.
For a great resource on better preventing issues with cloud security, take a look at Internet2’s “Security Considerations for Cloud Computing.”
4. Do: Use social media to attract & retain students.
Don’t: Make it all about marketing.
“Colleges and universities are using social media more than ever before to connect with alumni, students, prospective students, and their communities. But there’s a big difference between who’s doing it well and who’s just doing it to, well, just keep up in a U.S. News & World Report kind of way,” explains Jill Carlson, marketing manager at Argyle Social for a Social Media Explorer article. “And the universities that are dominating social media seem to have a few things in common.”
Carlson notes that one of the major ways campuses use social media well is by serving up both “cake” and “broccoli,” or balancing the content that is important and good for the school (broccoli) and the content that is fun and delicious (cake). “If you share enough cake, your audience will consume the occasional broccoli,” she advises.
Broccoli often includes news of awards and published research, while cake includes human interest pieces, crowd-sourcing content, and contests. For more of Carlson’s tips, read here.
5. Do: Encourage staff to use technology.
Don’t: Skimp on the professional development (PD)
It’s common sense that technology can’t be effective if you don’t know how to implement it properly. Yet, as budgets continued to tighten for campuses across the country during the Great Recession, technology was implemented to attract students, with PD often left out of the equation.
However, according to the 2013 Yearbook, 55 percent of surveyed universities now plan to invest in PD. Besides offering faculty PD on how to develop an online or blended learning course, integrate digital resources, and cater to students tired of all-lectures, campuses should also offer PD in multiple delivery methods (MOOCs, Twitter chats, et cetera).
(Next page: Do’s and Don’ts 6-10)