4 ways admin and IT can work together for better campus security

While corporate data breaches grab media headlines, colleges and universities are certainly not immune to security challenges. In fact, five of 2014’s biggest cyber security breaches occurred in higher education. Among the malfeasance: student information was exposed, Social Security numbers were stolen, and staff records were compromised.

Forget Sony, Target, and Home Depot – some of the biggest threats are right here in our classrooms, labs, and dormitories. Colleges and universities are ripe for cyber threats, thanks to the sheer number of devices on campuses and the expansiveness of access granted within and throughout educational institutions. Combine that with an educational environment filled with technology-savvy students that have the skills, access, and perhaps even the motivation to seek access to data, and suddenly network security has become a key part of every administration’s studies.

Further, the more tech-savvy students become, the greater the likelihood that they’ll adopt the skills that allow them to access proprietary data. Not all of these attempts will be malicious – in fact, it’s likely that most will be completely innocuous. But the insider threat that hounds corporations is just as real on college and university campuses.

Seeking Leadership

Combatting these threats falls squarely on the shoulders of college and university IT administrators. It’s certainly a massive task, as is evidenced by the aforementioned 2014 breaches. But it’s not impossible, so long as administrators work with IT and equip them with the proper weapons.

Ensuring IT staff is well-trained one of the most important components of any school’s network security arsenal. Sam Musa, a cyber security adjunct professor at the University of Maryland, once wrote “while 10 percent of security countermeasures are technical, 90 percent of security measures rely on users and other stakeholders.”

But this doesn’t just apply to IT. Working with IT to institute an information security awareness program for all faculty and administration is critical. The program should include training on how to protect and manage personal information, authorized devices, and network access. Schools may even go so far as to institute classes for students on the ethical use of devices and campus networks. Ideally, this training should be refreshed and given once a year. It’s a great way to cut down on insider threats and raise awareness of the potential for external hacks.

(Next page: Tips for security collaboration 3-4)


What does Betsy DeVos mean for higher ed?

School choice advocates likely let out a collective cheer when President-elect Donald Trump nominated conservative billionaire Betsy DeVos for U.S. Education Secretary, but the higher education community was left to wonder about the impact on its institutions.

The nomination was felt strongly at the K-12 level, where her advocacy for school vouchers pitted school choice advocates against those who feel vouchers funnel valuable tax dollars away from public schools and into parochial and unaccountable private schools. [Read the K-12 version: “Here’s what you need to know about Betsy Devos, likely Education Secretary.“]

But the impact DeVos might have on higher education has been less evident in the few days since her nomination, though this follows Trump’s lead, as he himself has been sparse on plans for higher education. [Read: “Who is the best president for higher education?“]

Overall, Trump has said he feels the federal government is too involved in education and policy.

His transition website says “a Trump Administration also will make post-secondary options more affordable and accessible through technology-enriched delivery models.”

(Next page: Lawmakers react to the nomination)


Here’s how to prevent academic dishonesty in the digital age

Technology has expanded educational opportunities, but it also makes it easier for academic dishonesty to succeed.

Academic dishonesty goes beyond cheating on tests or assignments–it includes anything that gives a student an unfair advantage, or anything that violates the academic trust of a faculty member or institution.

And catching academic dishonesty is only part of the challenge. Institutions need to put in place and enforce policies and technologies that deter and prevent instances of academic dishonesty.

Eighty-four percent of higher education professionals said they believe student dishonesty is a significant issue, and 68 percent of all undergraduate students admit to cheating on tests or written work, according to a whitepaper from ProctorU.

(Next page: 4 tips to avoid academic dishonesty on campus)


6 ways dual enrollment helps institutions and students

Dual enrollment has emerged as a critical component of institutions’ enrollment initiatives, with 75 percent of colleges and universities saying it serves as a recruitment tool.

From 2002 to 2011, dual enrollment increased 75 percent among institutions, and 90 percent of institutions agreed that it improves access to college courses, according to a report from The American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admissions Officers (AACRAO) and Hobsons.

The new report, “Dual Enrollment in the Context of Strategic Enrollment Management,” builds on existing Institute of Education Sciences (IES) research to reveal the institution-level practices of dual enrollment as it pertains to strategic enrollment management and benefits to students and institutions.

Policymakers and education leaders have adopted new policies to broaden college course access and establish common K-12 state standards. That growth is reflected in the survey–78 percent of institutions reported offering dual enrollment options during the 2015-2016 academic year, and 86 percent accepted dual enrollment credit for transfer.

Forty-seven states, plus the District of Columbia, have common state-wide dual enrollment policies with guidelines for access, qualifications, funding, and related issues, according to report data citing the Education Commission of the States. Of these, 10 states require “all public high schools and eligible public postsecondary institutions to provide dual enrollment,” and 28 states plus the District of Columbia “allow nonpublic, proprietary or tribal colleges, or approved workforce training providers to participate in dual enrollment programs.” Three states–New York, New Hampshire and Alaska–leave policies up to local districts and postsecondary institutions.

The report found that one-quarter of participating institutions awarded at least one associate’s degree to high school students during the 2015-2016 academic year, an increase since 2013 when the IES study was published.

Its benefits include:

1. Discounted tuition–fifty-eight percent of institutions discount tuition for dual enrollment, and two-thirds of those do so by more than 50 percent
2. Supporting student success and/or diversity on campus–one in four use dual enrollment for this purpose
3. Reducing the likelihood of students needing to enroll in remedial courses once they enter college
4. Promoting relationships between colleges and high schools
5. Providing a college course experience to traditionally underserved populations
6. Increasing the rigor of career and technical programs, thereby better preparing students for the workforce

The report also offers 10 examples of how various institutions use dual enrollment.


5 must-haves in a student-friendly campus app

[Editor’s Note: This article was originally run on Optimal Partners Blog–a source of news and information for today’s higher ed IT staff and leadership. To read more, visit the blog at http://blog.optimal-partners.com/]

Mobile apps are meant to give your students a solution to a specific problem, for example, an app for dining services. The type of mobile app your team creates may vary depending upon your users’ needs. Regardless of what problem you’re trying to solve, here are a few key points that you should consider before you begin development.

1. Have you pinpointed your goal?

When developing a mobile app for university students, you want to make sure that you have a goal in mind. Do you want to create an app that connects them to academic support? Do you want the app to supplement their residential life experience?

Poll your students to find out what would be most useful to them. Their feedback can help your team determine what components of the app to focus on first. Depending on your app’s success, you can release updates that include more features.

Garnering student feedback can happen in many ways, from a poll to a survey to in-person conversations. We suggest getting your marketing department involved and creating a campaign to promote the app before development begins. This will allow you to get the feedback you’ll need from your target audience while also building buzz around the app by getting your target audience excited.

Your feedback should not only identify the needs of your population but also specific details about their usage, allowing your team to consider the various mobile devices that your students use.

(Next page: Mobile app considerations 2-5)


7 ways to harness technology for campus branding

If you walk on any campus today, you’d be hard-pressed to find a student that didn’t have a laptop or smart phone. In fact, 96 percent of young adults ages 18-29 use the internet – and those with a college education are more likely to use the internet than those who do not, according to a Pew Research Study. Your college can benefit from strengthening its online brand by reaching prospective students, current college attendees and alumni. The stronger the online brand, the more likely students and visitors will engage with a school.

Fortunately, there are some simple ways colleges can grow their online brands that ultimately lead to offline results:


1. Optimize Your Website

Your school’s website is likely the first thing visitors see before they even step foot on campus – so your website should be visually appealing as well as easy to navigate. Additionally, make sure to keep all of your target audiences in mind when it comes to content and website design. Not only does your website need to appeal to current and prospective students, their families, alumni and donors, it also needs to inform them. For example, if a prospective student is interested in your school, is it easy for them to find the information they need? What about a loyal sports fan? If your website is too complicated to navigate, it will lose visitor attention very quickly.


2. Provide Essential Information

Do students rely on your school’s website for information that they count on every day? While this might not be applicable for alumni, an interactive campus map, professor directory and updated event calendar can keep current students engaged on a daily basis.


3. Get Social

The great thing about college is the diversity of students. This presents both a unique opportunity and a challenge when it comes to social media because your target audience is so vast – each department and student group can pull in a different audience. Don’t try to control everything, but do give both departments and student groups guidelines when it comes to social media – what they publish online reflects your entire institution. Also, make sure you’re up-to-date with the people who manage the most influential social media presences at your school to quickly collaborate and spread the word about truly big news.

(Next page: Campus branding steps 4-7)


In the marketplace: Online learning partnerships, veteran education programs, and more

Tech-savvy educators know they must stay on top of the myriad changes and trends in education to learn how teaching and learning can best benefit from technology’s near-constant change.

Check below for the latest marketplace news to keep you up-to-date on product developments, teaching and learning initiatives, and new trends in education.

An analysis of collegiate graduate and post-graduate programs by AffordableCollegesOnline.org has determined the best places to earn a Master’s and Doctorate Degree Online in the nation for 2016-2017. The site measured cost and quality data to determine the top online programs for each degree level, identifying Western New Mexico University, Fort Hays State University, University of Central Arkansas, Arkansas State University and Wilmington University as the top scoring schools for earning an online master’s degree and the University of Colorado Denver, University of Mississippi, Indiana State University, University of Arkansas and Texas A&M University as the top scoring schools for earning an online doctorate degree. Read more.

The College of Business Administration at San Diego State University is launching a fully online Bachelor of Science in Business Administration degree program. This is the first-ever undergraduate online degree program offered at SDSU. The fully-accredited program will begin in fall 2017 and applications are now being accepted through November 30. SDSU’s undergraduate business program is ranked among the nation’s best according to the latest issue of U.S. News & World Report’s “America’s Best Colleges.” Read more.

element14 is launching a new global competition to discover how engineers can ‘Change the World’ with their design ideas. The aim of the competition is to find out how the world of electronics can have a positive impact on the world we live in by challenging designers to come up with creative ideas of how they could use $1,000 of products from element14. No purchase is needed to enter: entrants simply download their bill of materials and write a short description of how they would use the products to change the world. The competition is open to all, whether they are hobbyists or experienced established engineers. Read more.

The Online Learning Consortium announced two new institutional partnerships with the State University of New York’s Open SUNY Center for Online Teaching Excellence and Center for Professional Development, and Drexel University Online. Through these alliances the OLC community will have access to exceptional professional development, quality benchmarking and best-practice research resources. Read more.

A program within the McCombs School of Business at The University of Texas at Austin is teaming up with the Department of Veterans Affairs to improve services for veterans. The Master of Science in Business Analytics (MSBA) program in the McCombs School of Business has formalized a relationship with the Department of Veterans Affairs Financial Services Center (FSC) to provide graduate student expertise in support of the VA’s efforts to increase efficiency and reduce fraud. Read more.

Recognizing the urgent need to increase the number of Ohioans earning college degrees, Youngstown State University and Ohio’s other public four-year universities have launched a wide range of initiatives designed to increase efficiency, affordability and degree attainment. This past spring, the state established an Ohio Attainment Goal: By 2025, 65 percent of working-age adults in Ohio will have a degree, certificate or other credential of value in the marketplace. Achieving that goal will require Ohio to produce 1.7 million additional adults with postsecondary credentials. Read more.


How to boost campus engagement combining mobile with CRM

Campus-wide CRM tools have become the technology foundation for aiding colleges and universities in their focus on engaging students as individuals, respecting their preferences and unique characteristics–a transformation focused on individual outcomes, redefining success not only in terms of persistence and completion rates but also ultimately on gainful employment.

The tactics to execution have also evolved with each generational shift. Consider these data points from the Beloit College Mindset for the class of 2020:

  • If you want to reach them, you’d better send a text—emails are often ignored
  • Books have always been read to you on audible.com
  • There has always been a digital swap meet called eBay
  • Robots have always been surgical partners in the O.R.
  • Airline tickets have always been purchased online

The common thread is that technology-based content today is more than expected – it is assumed. Whether there is “an app for that” versus a website, providing that content is irrelevant to today’s students. Young adult learners assume that they can find what they need through their mobile devices. Consequently, institutions must embrace these expectations. This is why the term “CRM” gets tossed around as much as “ISIR” and “FERPA” in the halls of academia nowadays.

Fully Utilizing CRM

As advertised, CRM is supposed to help institutions deliver the right content to the right student – and to the right device at the right time. But it’s more than technology. It takes a change in the way that we engage with students.

Consider the transformation that a college applicant undergoes before becoming a student. We evaluate many factors in the admissions cycle. We “woo” applicants, treat them as individuals, listen to their goals and read their essays. We give them a clear “checklist” of requirements to complete their applications.

At the point of acceptance, we believe that we have chosen the right classes or, in some cases, believe that we have the right programs in place to foster success. The next challenge comes in the first-year experience. How do we keep the enthusiasm of bright-eyed, first-year students? How do we ensure that we have captured student intentions from the very beginning? For example, if they come in expecting to transfer, can we change their minds, or do we let them go? By knowing who our students are – beyond academic information, by knowing their intentions – we take a huge step toward completion success.

Beyond the first year (again when many institutions have programs in place that are focused on individuals), how do we maintain the right focus? Do we assume that “they got it” and stop focusing on an action plan? Retention and attrition data show that drop-outs continue beyond the first year. We can’t afford to take our eye off of the ball as a result.

(Next page: Harnessing mobile for CRM and engagement)


Visionary: How 4 institutions are venturing into a new mixed reality

A new collaboration between Pearson and Microsoft is using a self-contained holographic computer to develop “mixed reality” learning experiences for students.

The collaboration will explore how mixed reality can help solve real challenges in areas of learning, ranging from online tutoring and coaching, nursing education, and engineering to construction and surveyor training.

Microsoft says its HoloLens is the world’s first self-contained holographic computer. Pearson is developing and piloting mixed reality content at colleges, universities and secondary schools in the United States and around the world.

Video: Hololens

HoloLens leverages virtual reality and augmented reality to create a new reality – mixed reality. With virtual reality, the user is immersed in a simulated world. Augmented reality overlays digital information on top of the real world. Mixed reality merges the virtual and physical worlds to create a new reality whereby the two can coexist and interact.

By understanding the user’s environment, mixed reality enables holograms to look and sound like they are part of that world. This means learning content can be developed for HoloLens that provides students with real world experiences, allowing them to build proficiency, develop confidence, explore and learn.

(Next page: Four schools using mixed reality)