campus IT

CIOs: OER will storm campuses in next 5 years, “high cloud” just isn’t happening

Annual Campus Computing Project survey details the challenges, successes of campus IT for 2017 and beyond.

Eighty-two percent of institutions say open educational resources (OER) will be an important source of course content in 5 years, according to a survey of CIOs detailed in an annual report that takes a look at campus IT. [Read last year’s Campus Computing results here “CIOS: 5 campus IT priorities for 2016 and beyond.“] The results of the report were released during the recent EDUCAUSE 2017 conference held in Philadelphia, Pa.

This year saw small gains in formal institutions support for using OER in course materials, but faculty concerns remain about the quality of OER and updates surrounding the materials, according to the annual Campus Computing Project.

Video is increasingly important for hybrid, flipped and online classes, and the growing use of video lecture capture has surpassed audio in institutions. Overall, universities have much more capacity for video, according to the report.

And while artificial intelligence has drummed up lots of buzz in education, early data in the report suggest that more initial interest lies in the technology’s use in analytics, and less in instruction.

(Next page: “Hot spot” campus IT issues)

Of the 199 CIOs participating in the survey, general satisfaction with key campus IT resources and services is low. While more than 50 percent were satisfied with their campus wireless network/WiFi and user support services, satisfaction with student information systems, financial systems, e-portfolios and analytics tools failed to break 30 percent.

There is no mass movement to the cloud for ERP by 2022, and according to the campus IT report, this might be due to the absence of a clear path from ERP providers or the fact that institutions can’t visualize moving to the cloud. While there was minimal movement in 2017, most CIOs said they still don’t see “high cloud” applications arriving on campus anytime soon.

Hot Spot Areas that Need Attention

The report highlights “hot spot” areas where careful attention should be paid. Those areas include realizing campus IT success, funding, analytics, going digital, and innovation and the fear of trying.

IT earned a grade of C+/B-, according to the report, and with that rating comes the imperative to do better. Better communication will reinforce the impact and value of IT, and relying less on opinion and more on evidence is important.

When it comes to going digital, CIOs and IT staff say they are much more optimistic about the benefits of digital curricular resources than faculty are–90 percent of CIOs said digital curricular resources provide a richer learning experience than traditional print materials, compared to 35 percent of faculty; 30 percent of CIOs and 28 percent of faculty said their institution’s efforts to “go digital” are hampered by lack of student access to computers or tablets.

Funding presents another challenge, and institutions are suffering the consequences of continuous budget cuts over the past seven years. Sixty-two percent of CIOs and IT leaders said their IT funding has not recovered from recent budget cuts, despite support from leaders and faculty. Seventy-six percent of CIOs and IT leaders said their institution’s faculty strongly support the role of IT to enhance teaching and instruction, and 79 percent said senior leadership understands the value of investments in IT infrastructure.

CIOs report that existing analytic tools, resources and efforts are rather disappointing, falling “far short” of both provider promises and campus needs and expectations. Just 16 percent of CIOs would rank their institution’s investment in analytics as very effective and just 13 percent would rank their campus as very satisfied with their current analytic tools.

The full results of the 2017 Campus Computing Survey will be released soon on the Campus Computing Project website here.

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Laura Ascione

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