University incorporates smart parking on campus

UNC Charlotte (UNCC) has partnered with NuPark, a provider of integrated, real-time open parking management solutions, to bring smart parking to campus operations. The University will optimize its parking operations across campus by implementing NuPark’s open parking management platform, including License Plate Recognition (LPR), virtual permits, Gate System Integration, and multiple mobile payment options.

LPR-based Smart Parking Management

NuPark’s management platform offers UNC Charlotte’s Parking and Transportation Services (PaTS) a new way to issue, modify, or remove parking privileges in real time. LPR technology is used to streamline the permit verification process and to gather parking occupancy and utilization analytics. This new data will allow PaTS to increase the flexibility, efficiency, and availability of parking on campus.

“License plate recognition for enforcement is becoming popular for institutional use across the country as the technology becomes a more reliable, cost-effective solution, “ says Doug Lape, UNC Charlotte’s PaTS director. “We are excited to bring advanced technology to the UNC Charlotte campus.”

Virtual Permit Parking and More Convenient Mobile Payment Options

LPR technology offers additional convenient options for students, faculty and staff: virtual parking permits can be linked to license plates, which means customers no longer need to go to the parking office to receive their parking permits. Students, faculty, and staff can access the new parking system’s web portal to purchase permits, manage accounts, and much more, all from the convenience of their computer, tablet, or phone.

NuPark System Will Integrate with Sentry SKIDATA Plus System

SKIDATA access and revenue control system (PARCs) provided by Sentry Control Systems will seamlessly integrate with NuPark’s open management platform. The two systems will seamlessly communicate parking data, including permits, utilization, and occupancy, in real time. Blair Taylor, Vice President of Sentry, asserts that “SKIDATA’s unique flexibility allowed UNCC to easily transition from their legacy solution. This enhances convenience for all users.” This communication will offer unprecedented visibility, which will permit the PaTS staff to make more informed parking decisions.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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The top 5 disruptive technologies in higher ed

Despite Higher Ed’s reputation for being slow to adapt, it is undeniable how disruptive certain technologies have been in recent years. The Internet of Things (IoT), augmented reality, and advancements in online learning have changed the way universities reach prospective students, engage with their current student body, and provide them the resources they need.

As with any disruption, there are certain “growing pains” that forward-thinking universities must endure to stay on the leading edge of Higher Ed technology. It’s up to IT leaders within these institutions to explore the pros and cons of integrating new technologies, so that they may guide decision-making processes before external elements force their hands.

Here are some of the most disruptive technologies that are either impacting higher education now or will become more relevant in the near future.

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1. Online Learning

Online learning technology has done a significant job of changing how higher education institutions operate, educate, and innovate over the past few years. While MOOCs may not have been all they were cracked up to be, other innovations in online learning have helped make Higher Ed more accessible, opened up new opportunities for students, and changed how many view the value of an online education.

Now that online learning is becoming ubiquitous in Higher Ed, colleges and universities are able to reach students that they were previously unable to. Non-traditional students, such as parents and those fully employed, had often been inaccessible due to scheduling issues, but now have access to a higher education thanks to advances in online learning.

Despite online learning’s successes, many still believe that it lacks the interaction of its in-person counterpart. However, innovations in pedagogical strategy and technology are helping make it much more engaging. For example, video communication technology now allows professors to teach from the comfort of their homes while still being able to speak directly to their students. Those students are also able to work more closely together, as they would in a traditional classroom.

Additionally, professors are able to have experts from their field join the discussion online to speak with students directly. Advancements in online learning technology are helping make higher education more impactful and accessible to more people than ever before.

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Competency-based Education

Competency-based education (CBE) recognizes that all students enter a program with different skills and proficiencies and that each moves at a different rate. We now possess the technology to better measure these differences and design adaptive learning programs accordingly. These programs aim to increase student engagement, as time is spent expanding on what the students already know rather than having them relearn familiar material.

With advancements in CBE, learning can be more self-paced and individual-focused, which makes it a more efficient and effective. If a student needs more time focusing in a certain area, CBE technologies allow this to be clearly measured. Technology has enabled pedagogy to meet the needs of students that don’t fit match the strict criteria of a “traditional” student. Expect this technology to continue to make waves in how people view formal education.

(Next page: 3 more of higher ed’s top disruptive technologies)

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Higher ed institutions are moving to the cloud for tuition payments

ACI Worldwide (NASDAQ: ACIW), a leading global provider of real-time electronic payment and banking solutions, announced today that Mount Saint Mary’s University is powering its tuition payment system with ACI’s UP Bill Payment Solution.

Mount Saint Mary’s University, the only women’s university in Los Angeles, is known nationally for its research on gender equity and innovative health and science programs. The University focused its search on electronic payment gateways that integrate into Colleague by Ellucian®, the leader in higher education technology. Mount Saint Mary’s selected UP Bill Payment Solution for tuition payments as well as transaction visibility to help streamline its accounting processes.

“ACI delivers the industry’s most efficient payments gateway as well as incredible ease of use for both administrators and students,” said Shannon Shank, senior director, Enterprise Application Services, Mount Saint Mary’s University. “It is an added benefit that ACI has an existing strategic partnership with Ellucian, providing a more streamlined payments experience for both students and their families—including a comprehensive self-service feature that allows them to gain an expanded view of a student’s payments history.”

“Cloud-based payments models are appealing for colleges and universities—and 54 percent of organizations are likely to move to SaaS/Cloud-based delivery models, according to ACI and Ovum’s Global Payments Insight survey,” said Steve Kramer, vice president and product line manager, ACI Worldwide. “We are delighted to work with an innovative institution like Mount Saint Mary’s –to make it easier for students to pay their tuition and gain insight into payments history via a self-service model.”

Electronic Bill Presentment and Payment (EBPP) Services are part of ACI’s UP Bill Payment solution. ACI’s Universal Payments (UP) portfolio of solutions orchestrates all aspects of payments processing for any payment type, any channel, any currency and any network.

Material from a press release was used in this report.

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Opinion: New programs are killing colleges and universities

Conversations around the planning table for new programs often hinge around the word “demand.” Employer demand usually gets the first mention, and hopefully student demand gets a nod as well. Yet instead of plugging an institution into the heartbeat of their local economy, sometimes “high-demand” programs actually set the institution up for failure.

Consider data analytics. Programs in data analytics are gaining attraction to both employers and prospective students, with seemingly no end in sight. So, to answer this demand, many colleges have begun pooling resources and forming teams to incorporate data analytics programs into their institutional offerings.

Yet, the development and maintenance of a data analytics degree program can provide more logistical challenges than it’s worth, for two main reasons: an ill-prepared student body and difficulty in meeting faculty requirements.

Students are Underprepared for These Programs

Preparation for some degrees, particularly those in the STEM fields, really starts in grade school—long before these programs have been marked with the “high demand” signifier.

While students may understand that a degree in data analytics would give them a competitive advantage in the workforce, many students simply do not have the background in subjects like calculus and statistics to adequately prepare them for success in these programs.

Though larger R1 schools may have an adequate pool of prepared students to draw from when filling such programs, smaller private schools will often either have trouble filling these programs or have trouble graduating students from them.

Neither of these scenarios justifies the cost it takes to develop and maintain a full data analytics degree program.

Faculty Positions are Hard to Fill

Frankly, faculty salaries in subjects like data analytics tend to be quite high. And again, while larger schools might have a large pool of faculty members to draw from to fill the requirements of such programs as data analytics, the salary requirements of qualified faculty might be too expensive for small, private nonprofit institutions to hire.

If a professor in a data analytics program is making more than some C-level executives at the institution, the situation becomes untenable from both a logistical and political standpoint.

So what to do? If the logistical constraints of adding degree programs like data analytics may be unmanageable, there are a few mitigating options you can explore.

(Next page: 2 ways to implement high demand programs aspects in a reasonable way)

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Universities increase grad rates 10-15 percent with popular software

In the midst of graduation season, two universities have significantly increased their graduation rates—and both say it’s due to the effective use of relatively new-to-education sales software.

Online institution Western Governors University saw a 10 percent increase in graduation rates within two years just by switching to Salesforce technology that allows its students to create connections in a virtual environment.

George Mason University is on track to increase its graduation rate by 15 percent by upgrading its advising model to manage the workload of its advisors and make them more available for students through Salesforce.

Salesforce at Western Governors University

Western Governors University (WGU), an online university designed in 1995 by 19 U.S. governors to break the mold of traditional higher education and harness technology to teach in new ways, focuses on measuring learning rather than time, and provides more students the opportunity to build their careers by finishing that bachelor’s or master’s degree.

WGU is providing exactly that by using Salesforce’s Communities technology in 3 different areas: enrollment, active students, and student services. Communities are allowing students and student-mentors to connect, share information, build relationships, and work towards graduation.

The Salesforce Knowledge Base allows students to find up-to-date course content, information, videos, and FAQs. They know exactly what’s going on at all times and can plan or study accordingly.

Salesforce at George Mason University

Founded in 1972, George Mason University is the largest public 4-year school in Virginia and is using Salesforce to help the small staff of advisors and career counselors reach their students.

Students are able to sign in for counseling appointments and specify what they want to talk about through Salesforce. When a student comes in for the appointment, any of the available advisors can see the student and start off the discussion at the right point and makes notes in the student’s case record.

Salesforce also helps identify and track students who need to see an advisor are indeed coming in and getting assistance. Previously, only about two-thirds of at risk students came in for advising, whereas now that number is closer to 90 percent. This has been a critical first step in getting students on successful academic trajectories.

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Does your campus have a strong video culture? Here’s why it should

A quiet revolution is gaining speed in colleges and universities worldwide.

No, people aren’t beating down the schools’ doors, but there is an important paradigm shift under way because educators and university leaders are embracing technology; more specifically, video.

A recent study from Wainhouse Research revealed the ability to capture lectures as video for student access is a key success factor in increased retention and graduation.

From lecture capture to flipped classrooms to streaming education, video technology is a key driver of advancements in higher education. But what drives the successful use of video on campus?  How do you facilitate a campus-wide shift to leveraging video strategically?  More importantly, how do you instill a strong video culture on your campus?

What is “Video Culture?”

First, let’s define what a strong video culture means.

Having a video culture means all students have access to online, anytime video at their fingertips. It means faculty members use video to take courses to the next level, and administrators facilitate staff development, preserve campus knowledge and events and offer competitive programs.

Student achievement and retention is strengthened with video, and you have a unified campus video library. Your institution is competitive with flexible programs that reach more students.

A video culture sounds pretty great, right? It’s not as daunting as it might seem to get there, and it’s important that you do.

Students Expect Video and Its Culture

At Campus Technology 2016, Richard DeMillo, a Georgia Institute of Technology educator and author, said during his keynote that you can’t change the old order by fighting it, but rather you find new inventions that make the old way obsolete.

He’s absolutely correct. From an educational standpoint, that means it’s essential that a shift in campus attitude to embrace technology occurs. Technology buy-in from all players–faculty, administration and students–is important.

The students are the easy part of this equation. They don’t consider online, anytime instruction a luxury. It’s a staple in their minds. They’ve grown up with technology their whole lives, and in this world of Facebook Live, Snapchat, YouTube and Netflix, not being able to watch a lecture in real-time from a distance or review that content on-demand is counter intuitive.

(Next page: How can faculty incorporate video culture without massive disruption?)

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