May 04 2017

Survey Says Students Find University Tech Lacking

Overwhelmingly, those at colleges want single sign-on tools and better digital interactions.

One-third of college students say they think less of their universities because of their digital strategies or lack thereof, a new report from DJS Research finds.

About 40 percent of these students say their schools’ administration systems are so clunky it is causing them to spend less time studying, and 7 in 10 students recommend their schools update their digital offerings.

The survey indicated that students would like to interact more with their colleges through digital tools, and 87 percent said they want a more simplified solution — like single sign-on — for all the apps, tools and administration systems they use.

Collaboration Tools From Cisco Create Easier Interactions

Some universities have implemented Cisco solutions like WebEx and Spark to give students platforms to interact.

Building from their Cisco tools, the University of La Verne in California was able to create an app that brings almost all university services online.

“Students can log in using their IDs to access their grades, look up classes, register for classes, identify the closest place to eat, find facilities on campus and even see where parking shuttles are,” reports the Cisco case study. Cisco also has the Connected Campus tool that can help universities to digitize things like parking and transportation through facilities management solutions.

This tool has been used at Wageningen University in the Netherlands to make sure classrooms are used efficiently and to digitize class scheduling.

In 2016, Cisco launched its Digital Education Platform that brings together collaboration tools like Cisco Spark — which can be seamlessly used on any device — and WebEx.

EdScoop reports that Georgia State University has been using the platform to manage attendance and scheduling in the cloud.

Renee Patton, director of education for U.S. public sector at Cisco, says the platform can help colleges “improve the student experience by giving learners more ways to connect, engage, learn and succeed.”

Single Sign-On Makes the Most of Students’ Time

The survey indicates that automating administrative things like onboarding and creating a single sign-on is quite important to students.

“Ten or 20 years ago, a university may have just had one or two systems; now they have a myriad of systems,” says David Meyer, vice president of product management at OneLogin, in an EdTech article.

The University of Mary Hardin-Baylor in central Texas has made use of OneLogin to help everyone on campus keep apps straight. They are using a single sign-on tool with two-factor authentication, so security is not an issue. OneLogin uses security assertion markup language (SAML) to exchange authentication and authorization data.

“As we continued to launch new apps, we needed a way to have a single username and password for our community, and SAML helped us do that,” says Matt Irvine, director of media services at UMHB.

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