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.
Earlier this spring, it was reported that Washington State University agreed to pay over $4.7 million to settle a lawsuit involving the breach of 1.2 million individuals’ confidential records. The settlement grabbed headlines likely for three reasons: a rare privacy and cybersecurity case involving a public university, the staggering figures in question in terms of both the settlement amount and alleged victims involved, and last but not least, the can-you-believe-what-happened circumstance that has since come to light behind the breach.
Related content: How to balance transparency and security in cybersecurity education
It is not everyday news to see a university involved in a cybersecurity breach. Yes, it happens likely more than we know, but it is not typically as dramatic in scale. Perhaps you would see a case where 50 faculty members from one department had their online access hacked by a student, or something similar, but rarely would it involve 1.2 million records. Most universities do not have one single database that contains millions of valid social security numbers, as is the case here.
One may say what transpired was also dramatic in terms of the actual breach event. Not dramatic by ways of car chases or state-sponsored transcontinental heists–quite the opposite actually–but rather it was gasp-inducing in terms of the recklessness involved, according to at least one legal expert interviewed. Missed opportunities to practice basic cybersecurity awareness were precursors for the breach that affected over a million people.
Generation Z students say they vastly prefer video as a learning method, according to a new study that outlines similarities and differences among these learning and Millennials.
Beyond Millennials: The Next Generation of Learners, from Pearson and The Harris Poll, notes that Generation Z students, ages 14-23, have had their educational expectations shaped by technology in more ways than Millennials, ages 24-40.
Generation Z students ranked YouTube second only to teachers as a learning tool. In fact, YouTube is ranked well ahead of lectures, in-person collaboration with classmates, learning applications, and books.
As much as Generation Z has embraced technology for social engagement, they very much still value an on-campus education experience. Compared to Millennials, 45 percent of whom seek out as many online courses as possible, only 26 percent of younger students say they would prefer taking as many online courses as possible.
Everything around us is rapidly going digital. Once manual processes are now handled by intelligent and efficient machines, while phone operators and secretaries are being replaced by computers and digital means of communication. You can book a trip, order dinner, pay your bills, make a doctor appointment and even apply to college without ever picking up a pen, talking on the phone or printing out a sheet of paper.
When it comes to the business of higher education, these facts are relevant. So, what is higher education doing to keep up with this rapidly evolving digital world? It’s called digital transformation.
With the digital age moving faster than ever, higher education needs to set themselves up for the scalable capabilities it will require to remain competitive. So how are schools meeting the demands and expectations of their students and staff? Below are 7 examples of digital transformation within the higher education space:
1. Chatbots and online Q&A availabilities in libraries: Despite the rapid digitization of information, the library is still an important and relevant piece of the education landscape. However, allocating funds and staff resources to the traditional library in the same ways of the past no longer provides enough ROI.
To meet the changing needs of their students and budget allocation, libraries are exploring digital transformation. One relatively simple way they are doing this is by digitizing periodicals and books so they can be available online to more than one student at a time. This increases the library’s value and convenience to students and staff.
With the high-school graduation season over, it’s time for grads and parents alike to celebrate and relax a bit – and maybe enjoy a long summer before recently minted graduates start college or a new job.
But here is something to contemplate (hopefully not too strenuously) over the coming summer weeks and months: What is the next learning step in the graduate’s preparation for a future career?
Related content: 10 ways colleges are using data analytics
Whether a recent graduate plans to study 18th Century English literature in college or jump right into the workforce in any number of jobs, I have a one-word suggestion for them: Data.
Specifically, start learning about the analysis of data.
Community college transfer students who enroll in certain four-year institutions perform just as well–and in some cases, better than–their peers who enrolled right from high school.
The report from the Jack Kent Cooke Foundation shows that while community college transfer students make up just 7 percent of students at selective institutions (those defined as “most competitive” or “highly competitive”), they are just as likely, or more likely, to graduate than some of their peers.
Related content: Schools focus on community college pipeline
Seventy-five percent of community college transfer students analyzed in the report graduated from selective four-year institutions, compared to 73 percent of students who enrolled directly from high school and 61 percent who transferred from another four-year institutions.
With many of today’s students bringing an average of eight or nine devices to campus, it’s no surprise that the latest Educause survey shows nearly all students rate laptops and smartphones as very important to academic success. As mobility expectations and device densities continue their precipitous ascent, higher education institutions are now exploring infrastructure adjustments that will help them keep up. If you’re among those considering your options, here’s what you need to know about Wi-Fi 6.
Related content: The answer to better campus Wi-Fi
What is Wi-Fi 6?
Having anticipated today’s device realities, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) began working on the successor to 802.11ac in 2014. Originally dubbed 802.11ax, the standard is also now known as Wi-Fi 6. Access points (APs) built upon the Wi-Fi 6 standard are on the market and higher ed deployments are already underway.
Concurrently, the Wi-Fi Alliance, the industry association that owns the “Wi-Fi” trademark, began developing the accompanying certifications that ensure interoperability and security among mobile product manufacturers. Its Wi-Fi Certified 6 program is slated for availability in the third quarter of 2019, meaning your institution will likely see the first wave of certified Wi-Fi 6 devices on campus after winter break in the coming academic year.
Most everyone knows what TED Talks are. The talks are so popular that many cities, including colleges and universities, host their own TED conferences and education talks. And TED Talks for higher education in particular offer wisdom and insight.
The talks range from inspiring to humorous and cautionary, but there’s something we can learn from each speaker’s experience.
Related content: 5 ways innovation is inspiring higher ed
Here, we’ve gathered a handful of TED Talks for higher education. From college access and math to learning how to debate and build creative confidence, these TED Talks touch on a variety of topics.
Some are a couple years old, and others are brand new, but they all have one thing in common: they’ll get you thinking about higher education’s place in society, its future, and what learning truly means.
Meeting the expectations of today’s mobility-centric students has become a top priority in higher ed, including at Chapman University. Here, our student surveys consistently designate campus Wi-Fi as the most important service our institution provides. In our classrooms, mobile is rapidly becoming the norm with some colleges, such as in our School of Pharmacy, already all-wireless.
To meet the needs of the 13,000 mobile and IoT devices concurrently connecting to our campus Wi-Fi network, as well as support whatever comes next, we recently found ourselves at a crossroads. Here are the reasons a complete overhaul of our wireless infrastructure proved the right path for us.
Reason #1: Effectively resolve reliability complaints
About four years ago, student complaints about campus Wi-Fi skyrocketed. Connections frequently dropped when moving between classes, which often required a device reboot. It was also common for an individual to be standing in close proximity to an access point, but their connection was still unreliable.
Related content: 9 critical steps to Wi-Fi innovation
Higher education attainment is linked to greater earnings potential and lower unemployment rates, but there are still factors at play that keep today’s working adults from pursuing higher education.
Today, less than one-third of U.S. adults ages 25 or older have a bachelor’s degree or higher, and a new University of Phoenix survey shows that while many U.S. working adults would like to go back to school and believe that it can be helpful in providing a better life for their family, time and financial barriers are holding them back from pursuing higher education.
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According to the survey, only 36 percent of U.S. working adults are very satisfied with their current level of education and nearly seven in 10 (68 percent) want to pursue more.