3 interventions to increase faculty tech use

Students on campus, no matter their age, increasingly expect technology to be seamlessly woven into instruction–making it all the more important that higher-ed leaders work to support and increase faculty tech use.

There are a number of reasons to increase faculty tech use on campus, according to a new Barnes & Noble College report, including lowered costs for students as a result of using digital course materials like OER; digital courseware boosting academic achievement with increased engagement; and preparing students for the future workforce by exposing them to the technologies and tools they’ll encounter after graduation.

Related content: Campus faculty are asking for more tech

“Digital courseware allows us to provide today’s students with learning tools that fit their lifestyle. This digitally native generation expects resources that parallel their interactions with other areas of their lives, including social communication and commerce,” says Kanuj Malhotra, president of digital student solutions at Barnes & Noble Education. “They are looking for seamlessly integrated, easily accessible solutions. Enhanced classroom technology ensures content is available to students whenever and wherever, increasing the opportunity to drive their engagement in the class and subject matter.”


Efforts to “upskill” workers grow across industries

An ambitious new partnership between the nonprofit Education Design Lab and Virginia Western Community College (VWCC) aims to design employer-driven pathways that will “upskill” highly-qualified healthcare professionals to high-growth careers in the region.

Backed by a Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act (WIOA) grant from  the U.S. Department of Labor, the partnership draws on VWCC’s reach as the state’s third-largest community college to meet growing demand from the region’s fast-growing medical centers.

Rooted in the Education Design Lab’s learner-centric design process, the program will align short-term training programs with skills required for in-demand positions, such as registered nurses, medical assistants and administrators.


Do students need a “nudge” for graduation success?

Institutions hoping to improve graduation success for students could look to the British government for inspiration.

In 2010, the British government, looking for innovative solutions to some of their most challenging social problems, formed the Behavioural Insights Team, better known as the Nudge Unit.

The Unit identified places where a combination of data-driven insights and simple interventions can have positive social impacts. For example, to help curb unnecessary antibiotic usage (which saves money and may help fight antibiotic resistance), the Unit sent letters from the country’s chief medical officer to prescription-happy doctors notifying them that 80 percent of their peers prescribed fewer antibiotics than they did.

As a result, the doctors decreased their antibiotic prescriptions by 3.3 percent in a 2016 pilot program – a notable outcome, given England’s goal of decreasing antibiotic prescriptions by 5 percent over five years.


4 applications for VR in higher education

Virtual reality (VR) is continuing to grow in both popularity and accessibility. And more and more higher education institutions are embracing VR technology. According to Internet2’s 2018 VR/AR in Research and Education Study, 28% of higher education institutions are integrating VR into their campuses, and that number is only going up.

With easy mobile access and affordable VR viewing hardware, more and more universities and colleges will find utility in offering immersive experiences for prospective students. But there are many different uses for VR. And once an education institution has proven some success in one area, the use of VR in applications like facilities management, fundraising, and other applications will become much more common.

Related content: Here’s how your campus can tap into extended reality

Following are four applications for VR of the ways that higher education institutions can use and benefit from virtual reality.


Food insecurity on campus is growing–technology can help

Higher education brings with it a number of concerns for students, but one of the least talked-about–but most concerning–is the increasing issue of food insecurity on campus.

A new study from researchers at the University of Tennessee, Knoxville shows that college students in the university’s geographic area are impacted by food insecurity on campus at a higher rate than the national average, according to information from the university.

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Facing food insecurity on campus can lead to poor academic performance, unhealthy spending habits, and other negative coping mechanism, the researchers explain in the study, which is published in Current Developments in Nutrition.


Esports on campus: A new era of competition and study

Esports on campus was not something many of us from the Pong and Pac Man generations saw coming. Much has changed in the last twenty years, yet the idea of organized, competitive video gaming is still a tough concept to grasp.

That said, if we look a little closer at the groundbreaking technologies and innovative career paths that have evolved to support the now $200 billion gaming industry, it becomes clear that esports on campus isn’t only a logical adoption for students, schools, and technology brands, but an incredibly exciting opportunity in this new era of technology-rich sports and education.

Related content: The explosive growth of collegiate eSports

Just look at the numbers. To say that esports is gaining momentum would be an understatement. National esports is expected to reach 84 million U.S. viewers by 2021 with a value of $1.7 billion, passing every professional U.S. sport in viewership other than the NFL. Competitors are also collecting sizable winnings, even at the student level. For example, players for the University of Texas, Dallas (UTD) won the Southern Regional Conference last year, with each player taking home $8,000.


Unbundling the 4-year degree: Designing education for the future

Employers are in desperate need of skilled workers to address current employee shortages and prepare for projected disruption in the workplace. For example, artificial intelligence will create 2.3 million jobs while eliminating 1.8 million by 2020, according to a 2017 Gartner report. The answer might lie in micro-credentials.

To fill jobs now while preparing for the future, countless organizations are rethinking how students learn and earn skills in postsecondary education. Such a change requires new mindsets for institutions and businesses.

Related content: How to do micro-credentials the right way

The rise of micro-credentials

Perhaps the biggest trend that has the attention of colleges and universities is that of micro-credentials, especially as enrollment continues to decline in traditional college degree and master’s programs.


10 ways colleges use analytics to increase student success

The success of higher education institutions depends on the ability to excel across the student life cycle. Regardless of the type, size, or focus of a college or university, they all strive to attract and enroll high-quality students, retain and graduate students, and maintain strong relationships with alumni.

One of the keys to realizing these outcomes is using analytics to go beyond reporting on what has happened in the past, to providing a best assessment on what will happen in the future. By applying analytics to student life cycle data, universities can generate deeper insight into students before they arrive, while they are on campus, and after they leave.

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Higher-ed institutions that are already using advanced analytics in these areas have successfully transformed their processes, decision making, operations, and funding. Let’s look at how some of these innovative organizations are enhancing the student journey with analytics.

Recruitment and marketing

Universities face fierce competition for students. With increasingly restrictive budgets, recruitment officers need to focus their limited resources on the students most likely to enroll. Having a better understanding of the factors that lead to successful recruitment of a talented student requires analyzing the data of past students.


Redesigning how we educate our educators

Imagine walking into a classroom with an average amount of chaos that begins each school day. Students start to gradually settle down and take their seats and an argument escalates toward the back of the classroom. A boy named Jordan is screaming and shoving his neighbor. You notice his tattered shirt and the stress in his eyes; however, your priority is to break up the fight and restore a positive learning environment, so you send Jordan to the principal’s office to restore order and begin today’s lesson.

What you don’t know is that Jordan and his mother have been living out of their car, and he hasn’t had a decent night’s sleep in over a month. Jordan is in survival mode–a persistent state of fight or flight that is controlled by the primal brain stem function. Because learning takes place in the cerebral cortex, he is unable to learn when in this mindset.

Related content: How higher ed can better prepare students for the workforce

As educators, we are called to this profession. We want to make a difference in children’s lives. However, most traditional training doesn’t adequately prepare us for teaching students like Jordan–students in trauma.

Through a holistic, hands-on approach to educator training and capacity building, school districts can better prepare educators to work with students facing personal challenges and promote a safe, caring learning environment that re-engages and empowers students regardless of their history.


Assessment’s role in higher ed’s digital transformation

The digital transformation is restructuring industries and making organizations more competitive. It encompasses technologies such as artificial intelligence, machine learning, block-chain, and the Internet of Things.

The strategic use of these technologies is remaking processes and products. It is easy to see the impact in segments such as retail or communication. What might the digital transformation mean in higher education?

Using blockchain for digital diplomas, employing chatbots to respond to enrollment questions, or turning to artificial intelligence to reduce energy use are examples of the digital transformation in colleges and universities.

Related content: Is your campus ready for AI and other tech trends?

However, one often-forgotten area in which the digital transformation is taking hold is in testing or assessment.