How to run a successful 1:1 program in higher ed

At Maryville University in St. Louis, Missouri, every incoming full-time student gets an iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. University leaders credit the 1:1 iPad program with saving money and promoting student equality.

“Trying to educate all students the same way simply doesn’t work, and that’s been the great tragedy of education,” says Mark Lombardi, president of Maryville. “So many people fall through the cracks. Not because they’re unintelligent. Not because they’re lazy. Because the way they’re being taught doesn’t fit their learning style.”

Maryville is turning an outdated system of teaching into something that’s vibrant and alive, says Lombardi. Instructors are fighting tradition by allowing students to access content, information, and knowledge in the ways that best suit their learning styles.…Read More

Overcoming multi-cloud security challenges

Over the past decade, technology that supports e-learning environments in higher education settings has evolved rapidly. This has enabled a number of benefits for education, such as more efficient teaching and sharing of information, personalized lessons to let students progress at their own pace, and great cost savings. To bring cloud-based technologies into higher education, students are accessing these tools from their laptops or mobile devices.

Meanwhile, administrative offices have seen rapid growth of cloud-based support technologies such as enrollment, recruiting, and financial-management systems. Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) apps are being used primarily for collaboration, content delivery, communication, and accessing learning materials. The economic advantages, speed, agility, flexibility and elasticity are the main reasons higher education is increasingly adopting SaaS.

Colleges and universities are turning to public clouds for flexibility and cost savings. Higher-ed IT managers need to store—and share—vast quantities of data. As analytics and big data technologies facilitate ever-more-complex analyses, the volume of student information and research data in higher ed continues to skyrocket. IT managers are increasingly choosing to augment on-premises data centers with highly scalable public cloud storage. These solutions offer faster deployment and are more efficient and cost-effective.…Read More

5 keys to implementing cyber education at your school

Cybercrimes are growing exponentially, posing tremendous threats to our financial markets, undermining public confidence, violating our privacy, and costing hundreds of billions of dollars annually (estimated to cost up to six trillion dollars by 2021). Malicious cyberattacks are also used by government-led groups and terror organizations, inflicting chaos and fear, threatening critical infrastructure and nations’ stability.

It’s no wonder cyber professionals are in great demand in every walk of life. Contrary to common belief, cybersecurity is much more than a technical challenge. It is also a business challenge and a human challenge.

As a result, cybersecurity education has become one of the fastest growing disciplines in higher ed and vocational training. Building the cybersecurity workforce of the future and integrating cybersecurity awareness across all industries are top priorities for our national security, financial stability, and economic prosperity.…Read More

How to maintain the balance between security and privacy

We’re in a unique moment in history, where the negative consequences of organizations tracking our digital traffic are painfully clear. It’s certainly understandable that “security measures” can seem to many people more like intrusive surveillance than personal protection. But a lack of defenses will also have negative consequences for our safety and feeling of trust.

What can security professionals in higher ed do to maintain the balance between safety and privacy? Is it possible to maintain trust in the institution and yet enable users to explore safely?

The importance of context…Read More

A quick look at cloud terminology

The cloud may be easier and more affordable than advertised, but it isn’t free. Still, computing horsepower is finally a virtual (or, perhaps more appropriately, a virtualization) bargain. It’s entirely possible for your college or university to spend $10K a month and tap enough power to drive a 1,000-user organization. That’s less than the cost of hiring a single engineer (even if it may sound like overkill, especially given today’s budget realities).

It’s essential to place your applications and data in a maximum-security environment. Hosting plans should be designed expressly to deliver both data integrity and data protection, deploying technologies such as clustered firewalls and intrusion detection and prevention software, which is capable of detecting threats to sensitive client data that even the best firewall won’t catch. And as cyber threats become ever more insidious, those in higher education are looking to implement systems that go well beyond basic malware and antivirus “solutions.”

In IT, as in higher education, language is everything. Teaching undergraduates is tough enough; most university administrators would prefer not to wade into the fog of IT, especially given just how obtuse the tech world has become. Familiarizing yourself with some basic terminology won’t turn you into an expert but it can provide a grounding in the fundamentals. With that in mind, let’s look under the hood and decipher some of the more pervasive and vexing terms.…Read More

What are higher-ed’s analytics priorities?

Higher-ed leaders are increasingly focused on institutional analytics, despite challenges associated with implementing enterprise-wide programs, according to a new Ellucian survey of 200 college presidents, provosts, CFOs, CTOs, and CIOs.

Fifty-eight percent of surveyed leaders say institutional analytics that improve operational efficiency are of greater priority than learning analytics that will improve student outcomes, according to What Will It Take to Build an Analytics-Driven Campus?

Analytics priorities seem to differ by role, with presidents, CFOs, and CIOs focusing on improved learning outcomes; provosts are focused on improved retention and completion; and CTOs are concerned with improved operational efficiency.…Read More

3 best practices for managing student travel

It’s a familiar challenge for colleges and universities sending students, faculty, and staff on off-campus trips: how to ensure travelers’ health and safety while minimizing security risks. Students study abroad or travel regionally for group events; faculty attend conferences or travel for research purposes. However, it is difficult to predict when crisis situations may arise. From natural disasters to violence and health outbreaks, the list of possible off-campus crisis situations can be overwhelming and fraught with communication disruptions and confusion as events unfold.

As a result, many higher-education institutions are updating their student and faculty travel protocols. This includes using technology to maintain real-time connections with travelers and provide them with emergency resources to be used in the moment of need. It is no longer enough to send travelers with a printout of emergency numbers and instructions. Managing today’s higher-ed travel risks requires ongoing communication. Here are three best practices.

1. Set risk-management expectations…Read More

Classroom tech is reshaping the campus experience

In the rapidly evolving world of science, universities are creating a standard of technology in the classroom. Technology not only produces high-quality education through time-saving applications and effective communications, it also makes life easier for the user and can ultimately be incredibly cost-effective.

Centralized management technology is one area seeing increased adoption in classroom settings. By creating a centralized management system, universities can simplify the monitoring and management of on-campus technology.

The University of Central Florida (UCF) has implemented a centralized management system and standardized technology usage across campus. Streamlined and easy-to-use technology offerings help students and faculty achieve their academic and professional goals while making troubleshooting and maintenance easy for the IT department. “As the unit responsible for supporting multimedia across all of our sites and rooms, it was critical for us to have the ability to deliver the quality of service that’s expected of us,” says Don Merritt, director of the office of instructional resources.…Read More

How to prevent a phishing attack

You know that email you once received from a friend or colleague that clearly wasn’t sent by him or her? More than 90 percent of all cyberattacks begin with this kind of phishing email. Unfortunately, higher education is no stranger to phishing. In March 2017, Coastal Carolina University revealed it lost more than $1M to a phishing scam. The attackers succeeded in the theft by masquerading as a company with a contractual relationship with the university. In an official-looking email, the phony sender requested changes to the university’s bank information. An employee complied, and the rest is history.

Phishing and spoofing attacks against students and staff are most likely when these three items are not properly in place:

  • a Sender Policy Framework (SPF), which is an email-validation system that detects spoofing attempts. (Spoofing is when a third party disguises itself as a particular sender and uses a counterfeit email address.)
  • DomainKeys Identified Mail (DKIM) and/or Domain-based Message Authentication: DKIM uses an encrypted token pair to validate message integrity during sending and delivery.
  • a Reporting and Conformance (DMARC) policy, which is considered the industry standard for email policy and reporting tools that help to prevent such attacks.

250ok recently analyzed the 3,164 top-level .edu domains controlled by accredited U.S. colleges and universities. The scope of this study focused on DMARC adoption and found that almost 90 percent (3,211) of top-level .edu domains in the U.S. lack the most basic DMARC policy, which leaves students, parents, alumni, and employees at risk.…Read More

Why private colleges & universities are forming buying consortiums

One of the primary issues higher-ed institutions currently face when it comes to attracting and retaining students is the rising cost of education, balanced against the benefit of a college degree. With increasing costs, there’s also a rise in the number of students who don’t complete their degrees; in fact, less than 50 percent of students complete their degree within six years. All the while, colleges and universities are dealing with increasingly outdated core systems, and the upkeep costs increase every year.

To overcome these challenges, an emerging strategy among smaller, private institutions is to form consortiums to meet student success targets. While this trend is well established in public and state-level systems, its emergence among smaller, private institutions provides group-purchasing power and pricing transparency when negotiating with IT vendors.

In 2014, 11 public universities joined together to form the University Innovation Alliance. Its goal is to improve the graduation and retention rates among an estimated 400,000 U.S. undergraduate students. Through the alliance’s work, awarded degrees have increased by 10 percent.…Read More