improvement trends

14 hot higher ed trends for 2017

Educators and tech leaders look back on 2016; predict where higher ed trends in teaching and learning will head this new year.

schnittman-photoEmbrace the Relationship between Data and Human Intelligence

By Matthew Schnittman, Helix Education

In 2016, institutions continued to discuss the tension between their missional foundations and their economic realities. The 2016 Inside Higher Ed Survey of College and University Business officers revealed that “84 percent of CBOs say the enrollment level in a program is an extremely or very important factor in determining its future, making it nearly as important a factor as institutional mission and academic quality.” 2016 proved that when institutions seek innovative ways to both grow enrollments and maintain missional integrity, they’re more poised to provide the economic and social benefits of a higher education.

In 2017, institutions will embrace the relationship between data and human intelligence. As higher education looks to incorporate more data into the decision making process, data must be used to augment human intelligence, not replace it. The key to striking a balance between data and human intelligence is to act on data with high-touch, on-the-ground strategies. This is the step that transforms data insights into actionable intelligence.

Matthew Schnittman is President and CEO at Helix Education. He has an extensive background in education technology where he has worked with some of the most forward-thinking college and university leaders to develop and implement game changing solutions, including large online learning programs and student data management systems.

corporate-picture-jim-miltonThe Business of Education will continue to Reinvent Higher Ed

By Jim Milton, Campus Management

In 2016, Campus Management noticed a major change and shift in the business of higher education. As the sector continued to respond to the ever-evolving needs of learners who sought to achieve education goals on their own terms, institutions had to adapt to this environment simultaneously through the deployment of new and innovative learning modalities, including accelerated online learning, competency-based education and workforce development. As a result, the business of education has transformed the needs of institutions, driving them to respond by creating new ways to sustain and grow their share of the market.

As we look toward 2017 trends in higher education, we believe that technology will continue to enable much of the change that we have already seen in 2016, and which will shape the industry in the years to come. The cloud is an obvious enabler of that transformation, as we have experienced great strides since its implementation across higher education. As institutions look to find more effective ways of adapting and growing, new and innovative technology will help to drive better performance and operational efficiency, creating overall improved student success – the new bottom line for institutions.

Jim Milton is the CEO of Campus Management, responsible for leading the team toward delivering superior student information systems and CRM solutions to more than 2,000 campuses in 19 countries. He brings more than 30 years of experience at a range of innovative technology companies, where he has successfully led product expansions, mergers, acquisitions and sales strategies.  

catalano-profile%5b1%5dMore Transparency in Analytics

By Darren Catalano, HelioCampus

This year higher education experienced a surge in conversations around data privacy and ethical use of student data, driving a push for standards in this area. Access to data has become more pervasive, between the rising popularity of learner analytics and a growth in use and adoption. As a result, the higher ed community wants to ensure they have proper policies around use of student data and are looking to other industries as examples (e.g., health care).

As analytics becomes more pervasive in 2017, we will likely see an increased push back against or rejection of proprietary algorithms and black box solutions. Institutions need visibility into the variables and techniques used to develop these models and the opportunity to apply appropriate vetting and peer review. As the stakes continue to raise in higher education, institutions will require more transparent and extensible analytics solutions.

Darren Catalano is the Chief Executive Officer of HelioCampus, an analytics and data science company that spun out of the University System of Maryland.  Prior to launching HelioCampus, Darren was the Vice President of Analytics at UMUC. 

grajek-profile-412Information Security is King

By Susan Grajek and Joanna Grama, EDUCAUSE

In higher education, the influence of an IT trend can profoundly impact on how colleges and universities educate students, conduct research, and connect globally. For 17 years, EDUCAUSE has tracked the top issues in higher education IT. In 2016, amid constant threats and wide-ranging, fast-changing user expectations, information security rose to the #1 spot on the list. It occupies the #1 spot again in 2017. Information security is not a binary state: it is a persistent trend in higher education—today and tomorrow.

In 2016 the focus was on reinvesting in information security—ensuring that institutions reinvested in developing policies and creating secure networks. Agility was key: the fast-paced adoption of cloud-based services means that solutions must be architected, introduced, modified, and retired quickly—and securely. The changing nature of IT service delivery (e.g., moving enterprise applications to the cloud) and the fast pace of introduction continue to be a challenge for higher education. Institutions must reinvest in information security to address this challenge.

Although reported higher education data breaches seem to be decreasing (Kim Milford and Joanna Grama, “This Magic Moment: Reflections on Cybersecurity,” EDUCAUSE Review, September 28, 2015) institutions must not be complacent about information security practices. The 2017 information security trend focuses on a layered and constantly adapting approach to reducing risk, which requires a comprehensive program that encompasses people, process, and technologies to educate users, identify and protect sensitive data,  and find and block advanced information security threats.

In higher education, IT must be strategically influential: it must support and positively influence the various missions of colleges and universities. From educating students, to supporting research and development, to promoting campus and global community outreach, IT has an influential and enabling role to play. Understanding the most influential IT trends helps higher education meet and accomplish its missions—today and tomorrow.

Susan Grajek is the Vice President for Communities and Research and Joanna Grama is the Director of Cybersecurity and IT GRC Programs at EDUCAUSE.

david-doucetteSpecifically, Cloud Security

By David Doucette, CDW-G

Cloud was a standout IT trend in 2016 within the higher education community. In 2014, higher education IT experts delivered 39 percent of their services either totally or partially via the cloud, according to our Cloud 401 report. And since then, we have seen an increase in interest and motivation. There has been a significant uptick in cloud interest and migrations over the last 12-to-18 months, which will likely carry into next year.

Looking to 2017, security is top of mind for higher ed institutions. When we ask our customers about their primary focus, they consistently say cloud and security–the two go hand-in-hand. Security is a primary consideration when migrating to the cloud. However, many higher ed institutions have not spent much on security over the last few years, waiting instead to invest after a breach or cyberattack. The issue with that approach–aside from the compromised data–is that purchasing security post-attack can cost ten times more than if higher ed institutions purchased and implemented security solutions proactively. The per capita data breach cost within education is $259 per record containing sensitive information–one of the highest costs per sector, according to the Ponemon Institute. It’s safer and much more cost effective to invest in security before an incident occurs. As higher education institutions embark on or continue the transition to the cloud, the need for security will become a priority in the new year.

David Doucette is director of higher education for CDW-G, where he helps address institutions’ most pressing technology challenges. He has worked in the IT industry for more than 19 years, with a focus on higher education for the past seven years. Doucette holds a Bachelor of Science degree in psychology from DePaul University (Chicago, Ill.).

jon-mottLearner Choice and Flexibility

By Jon Mott, Learning Objects

I predict that the new administration will put an emphasis on learner choice and flexibility. In higher education, this will most likely manifest itself in the form of wider options for using federally funded financial aid. This could make it easier for institutions to provide competency-based programs that aren’t tied to semesters and seat time. Students might also be able use Pell Grants, veteran’s benefits, and student loans to pay for non-credit, even non-accredited programs like coding boot camps.

Jon Mott, Ph.D., is Chief Learning Officer at Learning Objects, a Cengage company.