EdTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Education https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/rss.xml en How to Create a Positive User Experience for Higher Education Events https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/how-create-positive-user-experience-higher-education-events%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Campus events are a big part of what makes the college experience memorable. When students and guests attend alumni weekends, arts performances and sports activities, they expect technology to enhance their experiences. Often, colleges must get creative to come up with the right tech solution for each type of event.</p> <p>When considering that question initially, it can be easy to shoot for the moon. “While you can do nearly anything with technology if you have the time and resources, this can be a roadblock,” says Tony Chavez, an IT strategist and enterprise solutions architect at <a href="https://www.stedwards.edu/" target="_blank">St. Edward’s University</a> in Austin, Texas.</p> <p>Instead, he recommends starting by <strong>considering the infrastructure and resources already in place</strong>. In addition, it’s important to know what users want, what the college seeks to achieve and any challenges that must be overcome. After all, solutions are valuable only if they are used.</p> <p>“If your audience can’t easily use the technology, it becomes a barrier, and therefore there’s no reason to invest the time and energy needed to create it,” says Isaac Podolefsky, senior project manager at <a href="https://uiowa.edu/" target="_blank">the University of Iowa</a>.</p> Larry Bernstein https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/how-create-positive-user-experience-higher-education-events%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Total Cost of Ownership: The Tech Triad of Successful Esports Programs https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/total-cost-ownership-tech-triad-successful-esports-programs-perfcon%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>In some quarters, esports has gone from game to big business.</p> <p>As <a href="https://www.npr.org/2020/01/08/794704377/esports-posts-its-first-1-billion-year" target="_blank">NPR</a> notes, the competitive gaming industry posted its <strong>first billion-dollar year in 2019</strong>. There’s no sign of slowing as player skills ramp up, winnings get bigger and word of mouth helps digital matchups shift from media outliers to mainstream opportunities.</p> <p>This creates a natural fit for institutions already familiar with the process of recruiting and training high-profile players, building out top-tier teams and generating sponsorships.</p> <p>The head coach of <a href="https://www.boisestate.edu/" target="_blank">Boise State’s</a> esports program, Chris Haskell, <a href="https://www.ktvb.com/article/sports/to-be-the-biggest-the-best-to-be-the-alabama-of-esports-boise-state-esports-team-has-big-ambitions/277-d8220225-5bac-4e84-995d-7eb5d20b7879" target="_blank">puts it simply</a>: “The only difference in esports is really just the ‘e.’”But just like with traditional varsity teams, success isn’t a given; even the best athletes can’t deliver wins without the right program infrastructure. And while this starts by equipping top players with best-in-class <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/07/when-building-esports-arena-cpus-are-important-consideration-perfcon">PCs and CPUs</a>, strong programs <strong>require a technology triple threat</strong> to streamline competitive connections, keep gamers geared up and foster fan support.</p> Doug Bonderud https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/total-cost-ownership-tech-triad-successful-esports-programs-perfcon%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E How 5G Will Advance Educational Technology on Campus https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/how-5g-will-advance-educational-technology-campus%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The buzz about 5G has been around for a couple of years, but <strong>many in IT say that 2020 is the year 5G will really take off</strong>.</p> <p>The next generation of cellular connection includes <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/11/5g-and-wi-fi-6-whats-difference-and-where-do-they-belong-campus-perfcon">both speed and simultaneity improvements</a>, meaning that more devices can connect at once while also enjoying better download and upload speeds. That’s a huge benefit for higher education, which continues to see a steady uptick in the number of connected devices on campus. </p> <p>Consider some ways the college classroom will change from the impact of upgrading from 4G to 5G.</p> Larry Bernstein https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/how-5g-will-advance-educational-technology-campus%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E How Windows 7's End of Life Affects Colleges and Universities https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/how-windows-7s-end-life-affects-colleges-and-universities%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>The day has arrived: As of January 14, <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/microsoft.html" target="_blank">Microsoft</a> is no longer offering <a href="https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/4057281/windows-7-support-will-end-on-january-14-2020" target="_blank">support</a> or updates for Windows 7. The latest and most up-to-date version of the Windows operating system is <a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/microsoft/windows-10.html" target="_blank">Windows 10</a>. It features stronger built-in security, swifter functionality, more stability — and, more crucially, active and ongoing support from Microsoft. </p> <p>If your higher education institution hasn’t made the <strong>switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10</strong>, here’s a quick rundown on why universities should embrace Windows 10, how one university navigated the migration and what to do if you haven’t started the transition yet.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/04/4-ways-manage-faster-updates-windows-10" target="_blank"><strong><em>MORE FROM EDTECH:</em></strong><em> Help your team manage the faster updates in Windows 10.</em></a></p> <h2>Get Institutional Security With Windows 10</h2> <p>Instead of leaving security updates up to the user, Windows 10 updates automatically with bug fixes, security patches and general upgrades. While some individual users may feel stymied by not having control, it offers institutions, at minimum, a broad form of protection.</p> <p>The security upgrades themselves are substantial: Microsoft Defender Advanced Threat Protection offers stronger preventative protection, post-breach detection, and automated investigation and response. This level of security frees up IT teams to focus on needs specific to their institutions instead of manually investigating every incoming threat. Security teams can also use <strong>Windows 10 to craft systems </strong>that fit their needs. </p> <p>Users will welcome Windows 10’s increased compatibility with cloud computing as well as heightened browsing security. Institutions that haven’t yet made the shift will find themselves vulnerable to attacks and malware. Even if users are diligent about complying with internally mandated security updates, the protections themselves simply aren’t as strong as those in Windows 10.</p> Autumn Whitefield-Madrano https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/how-windows-7s-end-life-affects-colleges-and-universities%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Prepare Your IT Department for an AI Skills Gap https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/prepare-your-it-department-ai-skills-gap%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>In higher education, we’re already past the point at which artificial intelligence has gone from a theoretical development to a technology alive and well on campuses. As I’ve <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/07/ai-has-potential-ease-campus-budget-burdens" title="AI Campus Budgeting">written before</a>, institutions have put AI to work in lots of ways that save time and money. At <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/chatbots-go-work-it-help-desk-george-washington-university" target="_blank" title="George Washington University chatbots">George Washington University</a>, chatbots provide 24/7 support to the IT help desk. Other colleges use AI systems to support faculty by answering routine student questions.</p> <p>Given that colleges have traditionally been viewed as slow to adapt, it’s exciting to see a widespread embrace of this emerging technology.</p> <p>Yet in higher education, as in other industries, IT leaders are likely to encounter a gap between what’s possible in AI and who can execute it — soon, if they haven’t already.</p> <p>Cloud computing created a similar need for new skills. Even though most institutions have embraced the cloud, they’ve still had to work to facilitate the transition in terms of both employees and workflow. As we know, the cloud skills gap is a challenge for IT leaders. A similar transition is on the horizon for AI.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/04/optimize-cloud-deployments-close-skills-gap-perfcon" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM EDTECH:</strong> See how colleges are making strides to close the cloud skills gap.</em></a></p> <p>In mid-2018, which seems like a relatively long time ago in terms of the speed of tech, Forbes ran an <a href="https://www.forbes.com/sites/bernardmarr/2018/06/25/the-ai-skills-crisis-and-how-to-close-the-gap/#68ce619b31f3" target="_blank" title="AI Skills Gaps Forbes">article</a> with the headline “The AI Skills Crisis and How to Close the Gap.” If we had a crisis on our hands back then, what are we facing now, when AI is even more ubiquitous?</p> <p>LinkedIn’s <a href="https://business.linkedin.com/content/dam/me/business/en-us/talent-solutions/emerging-jobs-report/Emerging_Jobs_Report_U.S._FINAL.pdf" target="_blank" title="2020 Emerging Jobs Report">"2020 Emerging Jobs Report”</a> notes that jobs related to AI and data science are expanding across industries. In fact, the report names AI specialist as the top job in the U.S., with a 74 percent annual growth rate. LinkedIn predicts a widespread effect: “Artificial intelligence will require the entire workforce to learn new skills, whether it’s to keep up to date with an existing role, or pursuing a new career as a result of automation.”</p> <p>Colleges face an extra challenge that businesses don’t, and that’s the inability to match the lucrative salaries of the corporate world. Still, there are ways to augment the proficiency of existing staff.</p> Wed, 12/31/1969 - 19:00 Dave Doucette https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/prepare-your-it-department-ai-skills-gap%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E How Colleges Use Audiovisual Experiences to Attract Tomorrow’s Students https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/article/2020/01/how-colleges-use-audiovisual-experiences-attract-tomorrows-students%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Increasingly, colleges are <strong>integrating audiovisual technology into learning spaces</strong>. Students and faculty are more likely than ever to experience huge video walls on campus, high-brightness projectors in lecture halls and advanced visualization systems enabling immersive, interactive education — for good reason.</p> <p>Prospective students live in a tech-rich, digital world, <strong>surrounded by AV experiences</strong>. Colleges and universities, therefore, are adopting AV technologies to help attract <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/qa-unc-professor-gary-kayye-how-gen-z-will-transform-campus-tech">this generation of digital natives</a>.</p> <p>“Students come with an expectation that technology will be available to them,” said Craig Park, a committee member of the <a href="https://www.scup.org/" target="_blank">Society for College and University Planning</a> who recently joined an EDspaces 2019 panel, “Integrating the Digital with the Physical to Create the Campus of the Future,” moderated by <a href="https://www.avixa.org/" target="_blank">AVIXA</a>, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association. </p> <p>Park cited <a href="https://www.lib.ncsu.edu/huntlibrary" target="_blank">North Carolina State University’s Hunt Library</a> as a good example of <strong>an institution adopting leading-edge technology</strong> in the service of students and faculty. </p> <p>“It shows off different kinds of technology-enabled learning spaces that any department can draw from and use,” he says.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/how-videoconferencing-platforms-help-connect-campus-communities" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM EDTECH:</strong> See how colleges use videoconferencing to connect campus communities.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">Advanced Display Technology Makes a Statement on Campus</h2> <p>Breakthroughs in display technology are among the most impactful ways<strong> colleges demonstrate their tech savvy</strong>. Recently, the University of Richmond finished its 56,000-square-foot <a href="https://www.richmond.edu/queally-center/" target="_blank">Queally Center for Admission and Career Services</a>, a welcome center and administrative office designed to serve as a “front door” for prospective students, families and recruiters.</p> <p><strong>AV experiences were central</strong> to the Queally Center’s design, says Doug West, the university’s assistant vice president for telecommunications, media support, user services and academic computing services. </p> <p>“Visitors encounter video even before they enter, with digital signage out in front,” he says. “AV directs them throughout the building, from the video walls and touch-screen kiosks in the front, through a hallway lined with screens, to a video wall at the end. It all leads to a conference center with <strong>12-foot screens</strong>, short-throw projectors and <strong>82-inch displays</strong> programmed with custom content. It’s intended to be an immersive experience — and it is.”</p> <p>University officials say the technology has<strong> improved the flow of people and processes</strong>, from recruiting freshmen to connecting them with prospective employers. And, with admissions, financial aid and career counseling under one roof, the AV technology allows the university to engage with students in a unified manner at all stages of their education.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/12/oregon-state-university-athletics-soars-thanks-innovative-it-team" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM EDTECH:</strong> Watch a video about innovation involving data analytics and college sports.  </em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_1">High-Resolution and Interactive Displays Increase Engagement Options</h2> <p>Often, when colleges develop signature facilities, such as NC State’s Hunt Library, AV is practically a requirement. <a href="https://www.clemson.edu/centers-institutes/watt/" target="_blank">Clemson University’s Watt Family Innovation Center</a>, which opened in 2016, communicates the university’s <strong>commitment to delivering a 21st-century education</strong>. </p> <p>The Watt Center was designed around nearly<strong> 200 displays</strong>, including an enormous multitouch LCD video wall, a 3D LCD video wall and various other high-resolution displays. Many are interactive, equipped with multitouch technology, and offer wired and wireless access to computers, laptops, tablets and other resources. Some function as split-screen, electronic whiteboards, <strong>letting users share information, ideas and projects</strong>, and they support digital signage, wayfinding, distance learning and videoconferencing.</p> <p>At<a href="https://www.ohsu.edu/knight-cancer-institute" target="_blank"> Oregon Health and Science University’s Knight Cancer Institute</a>, designers installed a large LED video wall on the first floor that’s meant to be seen from outside, through the institute’s expansive windows, and to <strong>draw attention to its mission</strong>. </p> <p>“The video wall allows the institute to tell the story of the science occurring in the building and change our message as the science changes,” says Director of Marketing and Strategic Communications Allen Tomlinson.</p> <p>Planners also included a <strong>high-resolution, four-by-four-screen LED video wall in a 200-seat auditorium</strong> for scientific presentations and other communications. The installation also gives the institute another way to engage the public. </p> <p>“We’re planning on using the video wall as a backdrop for some<strong> TED Talk-style presentations</strong> that will allow our scientists to inform the community about the work they are doing,” says Tomlinson.</p> <p>Today’s AV technology can play multiple roles on campus. It allows college and university planners to <strong>create digital canvases that serve a variety of purposes</strong>, perhaps the most important of which is to connect with students and the community. In addition, <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/modern-classrooms-clear-way-new-pedagogies-higher-education">weaving modern AV solutions into the campus experience</a> exposes students to new modes of working that will serve them well after graduation.</p> <p>Ron Cramer, a technology consultant at the <a href="https://www.wisc.edu/" target="_blank">University of Wisconsin</a>, explained at EDspaces 2019 that feedback from alumni and local companies has influenced the university’s application of AV technology. </p> <p>“We’re using technology that can help students become more effective at communicating and team building,” Cramer says. “<strong>This is the kind of environment</strong> we want to produce for them.”</p> Dan Goldstein https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/higher/article/2020/01/how-colleges-use-audiovisual-experiences-attract-tomorrows-students%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E 4 Ways to Improve Tech Conversations with Your Board of Trustees https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/4-ways-improve-tech-conversations-your-board-trustees%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>A tech-savvy board can make the difference between technology-based initiatives that get off the ground and those that don’t — that’s true for higher education as well as any other enterprise. Many universities, however, may not have a board <strong>stacked with trustees who are deeply knowledgeable about today’s enterprise technology</strong>, much less the emerging technologies of tomorrow. </p> <p>In the past, choosing members from technology fields hasn’t been a priority in higher education. In addition, <a href="https://www.insidehighered.com/views/2019/07/18/college-boards-trustees-should-be-more-generationally-diverse-and-have-term-limits" target="_blank">as one writer has noted</a>, trustees traditionally have been chosen from among older candidates, who are less diverse generationally and otherwise, and this can affect their knowledge of IT. </p> <p>This matters to IT leaders who have a stake in<strong> securing technology funding</strong> <strong>and making sure that technology is part of — and perceived to be part of — institutional strategic planning</strong>. The first step toward buy-in, of course, is achieving understanding and consensus, and that’s no less important for trustees than for any other stakeholder. </p> <p>Here are four ways IT leaders can elevate conversations with boards about technology initiatives on campus.</p> Shailaja Neelakantan https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/4-ways-improve-tech-conversations-your-board-trustees%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Review: NETGEAR WAC540 Supports Cross-Campus Connectivity https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/review-netgear-wac540-supports-cross-campus-connectivity%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Wi-Fi connectivity may be the biggest workhorse of the IT stable in higher education, and a well-planned, well-integrated set of high-performing access points is key to making it shine. The <a href="https://www.cdw.com/product/netgear-insight-managed-tri-band-ac3000-wireless-access-point-wac540/5514859?pfm=srh" target="_blank">NETGEAR WAC540 Insight Managed Tri-Band AC3000 Wireless Access Point</a> is sold individually or in packs of three, a clue to its intended use as a campuswide system. </p> <p>Because the WAC540 is intended to be powered by Power over Ethernet, the standard model doesn’t include the usual AC adapter, but it does include a ceiling-mount bracket. <strong>The device is designed to be easy to install and manage</strong> through the Insight app, either onsite or remotely from any location. </p> <p><a href="https://www.cdw.com/content/cdw/en/brand/netgear.html" target="_blank">NETGEAR</a> also added all the institutional features needed to support a large wireless environment, from separate guest and user accounts to support for separating departments or classrooms into virtual local area networks to keep students from seeing the work of other classrooms or isolating a network that’s just for faculty. </p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/about-insider" target="_blank"><em><strong>SUBSCRIBE:</strong> Become an Insider for access to exclusive EdTech product reviews, videos and articles.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">NETGEAR AP Offers a High-Quality User Experience</h2> <p>The mesh network capability makes it simple to ensure adequate network over a large area with up to 600 users. Port aggregation allows for more bandwidth between the WAC540 and the wired Ethernet network by connecting two wired gigabit ports per device. </p> <p>To deliver the seamless connectivity that campus users expect, <strong>assisted roaming makes it easy for students, teachers and administrators to stay connected</strong> to the wireless network as they move from one area to another. The APs automatically pass wireless devices to the next AP as needed, without the user having to change a setting. The system will also minimize congestion by automatically connecting a user to the least-used WAC540. </p> <p>Finally, since students will try to watch movies or other bandwidth-intensive apps over the campus network, bandwidth shaping can limit the bandwidth available to certain devices or apps, ensuring that official apps continue to work well. </p> <p>The WAC540 is an ideal wireless AP for campuses. It’s remotely manageable from anywhere, easy to install without nearby electrical outlets via PoE and includes enterprise-class security and network features that ensure a high-quality experience for users. At a little over $200 per unit, it’s not the least-expensive AP on the market, but <strong>the features make it a good deal for institutions</strong>. Over time, the management and maintenance features will save more in administrator time than the extra cost over a basic unit.</p> Logan G. Harbaugh https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/review-netgear-wac540-supports-cross-campus-connectivity%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E What You Need for Digital Transformation in Higher Education https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/what-you-need-digital-transformation-higher-education%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>We hear a great deal about the need for higher education to adapt to cultural shifts, technological changes, revenue pressures and student demands for engagement. Given this, it is not at all surprising that leaders are thinking about ways they can adapt their institutions to address these concerns, including <strong>pivoting to different approaches to teaching and learning, exploring the predictive value of data, and acquiring technological solutions</strong>.</p> <p>These steps may make sense in terms of responding to immediate needs, such as reaching yearly enrollment goals or improving annual retention rates. They do not, however, address the more foundational question of how an institution will transform itself to address future needs. Likewise, these steps overlook deeper concerns, such as how an institution will realize its organizational vision. In essence, adopting a tactical, reactive and immediate approach to institutional pressures obfuscates how an institution might truly transform — that is, remake its operational and education models to meet current <em>and</em> future needs. In our view, transformation requires <strong>four essential components</strong>.</p> James Wiley https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/what-you-need-digital-transformation-higher-education%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E 3 Factors to Consider in Developing Your College Esports Program https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/3-factors-consider-developing-your-college-esports-program%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Seldom does a week go by without a new development in the world of <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/12/heres-what-happens-behind-scenes-esports-competitions-infographic">collegiate esports</a>. Most of these reports focus on the surge in popularity of this pastime on college campuses across the country. But as <strong>collegiate esports matures and novelty fades</strong>, those institutions that weren’t early to the party will face an important decision: To what extent should they invest in esports on campus? </p> <p>While the enthusiasm around esports is undeniably enticing, it’s <strong>important to look beyond the hype</strong> to address three less-discussed factors that institutions should consider when developing or growing esports programs. </p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/12/esports-programs-dont-need-break-budget-thrive" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM EDTECH</strong>: Esports programs don’t need to break the budget to thrive.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_0">New Esports Programs Must Account for Recurring Costs</h2> <p>Whether it’s a couple of computers or a fully equipped arena, <strong>any equipment used for esports will require regular upgrades and maintenance</strong>. The aging technology that is common on many campuses, whether legacy student information systems or dust-collecting projectors from the early 2000s, won’t suffice. The range of what an institution may need to spend on computers for <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/12/new-partnership-eleague-win-esports">esports program</a> can be significant, ranging from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars. These computers will need to be updated or repaired on a two- to three-year cycle. </p> <p>While institutions have a variety of options when it comes to <strong>financing the acquisition of gaming hardware</strong>, the development of esports programs should come with an understanding of long-term financial commitment. These are not outdoor courts that can go unsurfaced for years and still meet the needs of intramural sports; <strong>these are high-tech machines that see significant wear and tear</strong>. They will break and they will require updates. </p> <h2 id="toc_1">Esports Career Pathways Are Still Uncertain</h2> <p>Despite the reported <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/08/game-building-collegiate-esports-program-ground">surge in esports’ popularity</a>, there do not yet seem to be any outsized gains in the number of jobs in the field. Data provided by Emsi/ Economicmodeling.com indicates that<strong> job postings citing “esports” increased nearly sixfold over the past three years</strong>; however, the number of jobs remains small, reaching a peak of slightly more than 2,000 openings in July of this year. Mirroring a national trend of declining job postings, esports job postings declined in the last three months. </p> <p>The jobs that are being posted tend to fall into two categories: technology careers at large gaming companies based in Los Angeles or New York, or school administrator jobs that include working on esports programs (a category far less common but growing). While <strong>esports is undeniably expanding</strong>, caution should be exercised around messaging its explosive growth in terms of opportunities for students to land jobs in the industry. While that may turn out to be the case, it’s <strong>too soon to gauge what these career paths may look like</strong> or how extensive they’ll be. </p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/esports-coaches-share-lessons-learned-path-building-new-program" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM EDTECH</strong>: Esports coaches share lessons learned on the path to building a new program.</em></a></p> <h2 id="toc_2">The Potential Benefits of Esports Go Beyond Gamers</h2> <p>Even given the above cautionary notes, <strong>esports can be an opportunity to engage students who are not necessarily gamers</strong>. Similar to your typical campus basketball or tennis court, the necessary building blocks required for an esports program may provide opportunities for other activities and learning experiences. </p> <p>For example, high-performance computers have uses in running power-hungry technical software used in academics, such as computer-aided design. Perhaps even more applicable, <strong>esports programs provide opportunities not only for gamers but also for students looking to develop cocurricular skills in data analytics and broadcasting </strong>and seeking familiarity with specific technologies such as Twitch, a widely used video streaming platform. </p> <p>The communication and teamwork required in esports programs may also contribute to the soft skills that many employers say today’s graduates too often lack. <strong>Creating a community around esports takes a village</strong>, but those who successfully establish a healthy culture around esports programs may impact numerous students, gamers or not. </p> <h2 id="toc_3">The Right Planning Makes Esports Sustainable for Higher Education</h2> <p>Making an investment in a sustainable esports program should be viewed as a long-term, continuous endeavor in an evolving field rather than a one-and-done addition to the list of cocurricular activities offered on campus. <strong>The promise of esports programs is massive</strong>, and some institutions will undoubtedly realize positive outcomes in numerous forms. But this will not be everyone’s experience. </p> <p>The <strong>first-to-market esports programs have particularly benefited in attracting students</strong>, but as more institutions enter the fray — especially those with major brands and athletic programs — smaller institutions may have to pour more resources into esports to remain competitive. Keep in mind that the empty classroom or dorm has long been the stadium of choice for baccalaureate gamers and would continue to be so if an institution were to take a more passive approach to esports.</p> Michael Miller https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/01/3-factors-consider-developing-your-college-esports-program%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E