Report: Campus technology budgets on the mend

Community colleges are lagging behind other institutions in higher education's economic recovery.
Community colleges are lagging behind other institutions in higher education's economic recovery.

Campus technology chiefs are still seeing their department’s budget trimmed, but in far smaller numbers than in 2009, as a nationwide survey suggests that higher education is slowly beginning to recover from the national economic downturn that has downsized IT staff and shelved programs in recent years.

About four in 10 campus technology officials reported budget cuts this fall, down from 50 percent in 2009, according to the 2010 Campus Computing Survey, published by the Campus Computing Project, an organization that examines technology’s role in colleges and universities.

The news is even better for private, nonprofit colleges and universities, where only 24 percent of campus technology officials saw their budgets slashed this year, compared with 56 percent in 2009.…Read More

Purdue’s student achievement technology goes national

A tech tool can helps students stay on track for success.
Course Signals is an educational technology tool that can help improve student achievement and lead to better student retention.

A Purdue University-piloted tool that uses educational technology—and online “signals”—to warn some students that their grades are dropping, offer study-habit suggestions, and provide positive reinforcement to students who are acing quizzes and exams is being released nationally.

Course Signals” is being made available to higher-education institutions through a joint effort by SunGard Higher Education and Purdue University to help increase student achievement. Course Signals was developed at the university and piloted for three semesters before its 2009 launch. (See “Tech helps students adopt good study habits.”)

“We found in our research that this can improve student [achievement] an average of one letter grade for many students,” said Gerry McCartney, Purdue’s chief information officer, vice president for information technology, and Olga Oesterle England Professor of Information Technology. “Course Signals is an important step forward for higher education that can be implemented successfully at many universities and community colleges across the nation to improve student retention and success.”…Read More

Vendors link e-textbook content with LMS software

CaféScribe eBooks are available online and on more than 850 college campuses
CaféScribe eBooks are available online and used on more than 850 college campuses.

As digital textbooks become more common on higher-ed campuses, providers are making it easy for professors to share textbook notes and resources with students through their class learning management system (LMS) software. The latest provider to do so is Follett Higher Education Group, which announced May 19 that a new standards-based system would integrate its eBook material with popular sites such as Moodle, Sakai, and Blackboard.

Educators who use textbooks supplied by Follett’s CaféScribe, which also brings students together through social networking to form online study groups, can take detailed notes in the web-based format, pointing out the most important lessons to students and fellow faculty.

Until recently, those notes couldn’t be shared on a college course’s LMS, where students go to see class assignments, chat with peers and faculty members, and watch class videos online.…Read More