Researcher: College CIO shortage on the horizon

Forty-five percent of college CIOs plan to retire by 2020, according to a recent study.
Forty-five percent of college CIOs plan to retire by 2020, according to a recent study.

Wayne Brown’s seven years of research has identified a wide swath of campus technology officials eager to become chief information officers someday. They’re just not quite sure how.

Excelsior College, an online school based in Albany, N.Y., unveiled this month the Center for Technology Leadership (CTL), which will open next October in Silver Spring, Md., and host week-long courses designed to plug the “readiness gap” for computer experts who strive to head their college’s technology office, but need extensive training on how to translate techno-speak for campus higher-ups and allocate responsibilities to staff members.

The lack of guidance for aspiring CIOs, coupled with projections that show nearly half of higher-education technology chiefs plan to retire in the next decade, translates to a potential CIO shortfall for college campuses of every size, said Brown, head of the Center for Higher Education Chief Information Officer Studies and Excelsior’s vice president of technology.…Read More

Colleges turn to unified communications to save costs, boost productivity

More schools are implementing unified communications solutions.
More schools are implementing unified communications solutions.

More K-12 schools, colleges, and universities are turning to unified communications as a way to streamline campus communication and save money in unpredictable economic times, a new survey suggests.

Unified communications is the convergence of enterprise voice, video, and data services with software applications designed to achieve greater collaboration among individuals or groups and improve business processes. Component technologies include video, audio, and web conferencing; unified messaging; and more.

The benefits that education technology stakeholders see in implementing unified communications are the same that executives in the government and business sectors see, according to the second annual Unified Communications Tracking Poll from CDW Government Inc. (CDW-G), which provides products and services to education and other sectors.…Read More

Universities save much-needed cash with the help of technology

UC officials said IBM analytics will help manage the university system.
UC officials said IBM analytics have helped save money for the university system, which has 228,000 students and 180,000 faculty.

An analytics system designed to manage risks and improve security has saved the University of California’s 10 campuses and five medical centers more than $160 million since 2006, officials announced March 25—helping the university system cut costs during an economic crisis that has crippled campus budgets.

The universities in the UC system have used IBM’s analytics software since 2006 to better aggregate massive amounts of data from the 228,000-student system and help administrators target wasteful spending and isolate dangerous areas on campus that result in injury or operation failure.

Using IBM’s Enterprise Risk Management System program, UC officials said decision makers at every campus and medical center have been able to mine the system’s database and spot trends, such as pushing and pulling injuries at medical centers.…Read More

Microsoft opens its cloud to researchers

A new partnership between Microsoft and NSF will give researchers access to Microsoft's cloud-computing infrastructure.
A new partnership between Microsoft and NSF will give researchers access to Microsoft's cloud-computing infrastructure.

Researchers have until March 15 to submit proposals to the National Science Foundation (NSF) that would grant access to Microsoft Corp.’s massive cloud-computing power for three years.

Researchers and academic teams chosen by NSF officials will use Microsoft Azure, a program that offers enormous data storage and computing capabilities using the corporation’s data centers.

College and university researchers have gravitated to cloud computing in recent years as the model has proven cost efficient—campuses don’t have to maintain pricey on-site server racks—and has removed many restrictions prevalent on traditional computer networks.…Read More

Wireless mic frequency change could affect colleges

Faculty members might have to use new wireless microphones after a recent FCC ruling.
Instructors might have to use new wireless microphones in lecture halls after a recent FCC ruling.

Colleges and universities that use wireless microphones operating on the 700 megahertz (MHz) frequency band have until June 12 to change the radio frequency or buy new equipment, according to a Jan. 15 ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC).

The FCC’s decision is part of a larger government effort to clear the 700 MHz band for use by cell phones, digital TV transmissions, and emergency communications. About 25 percent of the country’s wireless microphones will have to be modified or replaced, according to federal projections.

The ruling affects schools, colleges, sports stadiums, churches, theater groups, musicians, and others who rely on wireless microphones to amplify sound. Some colleges using wireless mics to help their instructors or performers be heard more clearly could end up spending hundreds or even thousands of dollars to replace the banned equipment.…Read More

Interest in hybrid courses on the rise

Hybrid courses combine the benefits of online and face-to-face instruction.
Hybrid courses combine the benefits of online and face-to-face instruction.

Several colleges and universities say they’ve seen double-digit increases in the number of students taking online courses in recent years. Increasingly, some of the online offerings are what’s known as “hybrid” courses, which mix an online experience with traditional classroom learning.

Scott Pilgram is working on his business management degree from Metropolitan State University in St. Paul, Minn. Last semester, Pilgram took his first hybrid course.

The class, Linguistics in Society, alternated between classroom work one week and online work the next.…Read More