Oct 28 2011

6 Takeaways from EDUCAUSE 2011

IT leaders see future where technology is pervasive across campus — and off.

A team of EdTech reporters and editors conducted 14 interviews with college IT leaders at this year’s EDUCAUSE conference in Philadelphia. Here are six important takeaways:

College IT departments are managing through very challenging budget times:

“What’s the highest priority for investment at this point? The size of my staff has gone down by over 10 percent and my state budget has been reduced by 25 percent but the workload hasn’t decreased at all. How do we leverage those limited resources that we do have in the best way possible?”
Larry Conrad, CIO, UNC Chapel Hill

Technology has become the lifeblood of the university:

“You think of what’s changed over 15 years, if accounts payable goes down, honestly, who cares? A couple of hours or a couple of days, the checks will get out. If e-mail or your learning management system goes down for a nanosecond people will be at your door and rip off body parts, particularly during finals."
Kenneth “Casey” Green, Founder, Campus Computing Project

Today’s users, namely students and faculty, are driving change at colleges and universities:

“It used to be that as academic head of technology I would be telling the students and faculty, ‘OK, this is what we have here and this is what we’ll support and this is what you must use.’ No. They’re telling me. So they bring in their smartphones, whether it’s Android or iPhone or you name, or their notebooks and saying ‘make it work.’ And if we don’t, the other thing is they can go elsewhere. They’re not tied to the university’s technology."
Sheri Stahler, Associate Vice President, Computer Services, Temple University

A successful wireless deployment takes a strong team:

“Plan your support staff because you have more people in need of wireless than you think.”
Philippe Hanset, Network Architect, University of Tennessee

Colleges are moving to virtual desktop environments to deliver enhanced security:

“Implementing things like virtual desktops creates a more secure environment, not a less secure, because although you can access it from your iPad, if your iPad were to get lost or stolen none of your data is out there, it’s all sitting safe and sound in the data center somewhere.”
Raechelle Clemmons, CIO, Menlo College

Cloud computing for high-end applications is moving slowly on campus:

“Some 70 percent of campuses have already migrated or are migrating as of this year student e-mail to third-party providers and to the cloud, less so with faculty, they seem to want to hold on to that. But if you talk about the really big targets and big opportunities in terms of theoretical costs savings: ERP functions, high-performance computing, disaster recovery, data backup, very little deployment of the cloud at this point.”
Kenneth “Casey” Green, Founder, Campus Computing Project

Read all of our EDUCAUSE 2011 coverage here.


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