EdTech Magazine - Technology Solutions That Drive Education https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/rss.xml en See the Big Picture, but Keep an Eye on the Small Moments https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/higher/higher/higher/article/2020/02/see-big-picture-keep-eye-small-moments%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>When higher education leaders seek to reimagine the campus experience, they often start with the big picture. It makes sense: Identify desired outcomes and develop a high-level strategy to achieve them. Yet when we focus too closely on the big picture, it’s easy to forget that our constituents experience campus technologies one interaction at a time.</p> <p>The University of Alabama at Birmingham, whose CIO, Curtis Carver, appears in our “<a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2020/02/it-trends-watch-higher-education-moves-new-decade" title="IT Trends to Watch in Higher Ed">IT Trends to Watch in 2020” feature</a>, calls these discrete interactions “digital moments.” UAB deems these so important to the user experience it has solicited suggestions from the campus community about digital moments that will drive the next three-year IT strategic plan.</p> <h2 id="toc_0">Small Steps in Tech, Big Effects on Learning</h2> <p>You might call this a reversal of the familiar idiom: We shouldn’t miss the trees because we’re so busy looking at the forest. We need both perspectives to truly improve the user experience at our institutions. We absolutely must have a clear end goal in mind, but we need to recognize the individual milestones that will get us there.</p> <p>Often, these increments can be incredibly valuable in informing our end goals. Paying attention to them can ensure that we’re solving the right problems and prioritizing the improvements our communities care about.</p> <p>This sensibility echoes the way that we experience all technology. The rapid expansion of <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2020/02/virtual-reality-advances-bring-new-possibilities-higher-education" title="VR in colleges and universities">virtual reality in the classroom</a>, for example, is taking place one learner at a time. From the outside, the shift seems huge and dramatic (and it arguably is), but in practice, VR’s ascendance is led by individual instructors willing to figure out new ways to advance this pioneering tool.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2020/02/telepresence-tools-help-colleges-and-communities-pursue-rich-partnerships" title="College-Community Partnerships">Colleges that partner with their communities</a> to solve social, health and economic challenges also make a difference on both levels. Consider institutions using telepresence solutions to fill gaps in healthcare education and addiction treatment. To me, this speaks to the ideal balance: big-picture thinking applied to individual experience.</p> <p>A single community college may not be able to fix the entire opioid crisis plaguing its region, but it can do something. The same is true for most IT initiatives: They are efforts that can make a meaningful difference — one person, one moment, at a time.</p> Ryan Petersen https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/higher/higher/higher/article/2020/02/see-big-picture-keep-eye-small-moments%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E VR Tracking Is Evolving Quickly and Becoming More Appealing for Colleges https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/vr-tracking-evolving-quickly-and-becoming-more-appealing-colleges%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>When Ken Perlin opened the <a href="https://frl.nyu.edu/" target="_blank" title="Future Reality Lab">Future Reality Lab</a> at New York University in September 2014, it was a big project — literally.</p> <p>“We have the largest VR mocap space in Manhattan,” says Perlin, referring to motion-capture technology used in virtual reality.</p> <p>There’s a ceiling grid for hanging tracker markers, special lighting and audio equipment. That grid was nonnegotiable five years ago; Perlin needed a place to securely hang the $50,000 worth of infrared cameras then required to track users.</p> <p>“Now, using the latest technology, you can actually get by without those things,” says Perlin. His lab’s holdings today include Oculus Quest headsets featuring inside-out tracking, which eliminates the need for a large-scale tracking grid.</p> <p>“It shows that, whatever you do with high-end equipment, you’re showing what the consumer world will look like about five years in the future,” says Perlin.</p> <p><a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2020/02/virtual-reality-advances-bring-new-possibilities-higher-education" target="_blank"><em><strong>MORE FROM EDTECH:</strong> See how universities are using VR tech to push the boundaries of learning.</em></a></p> <h2>Mistakes Help Write the Rules for VR Interaction and Cooperation</h2> <p>The massive advances in VR tracking make getting into virtual reality more attainable for colleges that may lack the budget or space for a dedicated lab full of specialty equipment. And because the aesthetics of VR experiences are still very much developing, even tracking errors can turn out to be happy accidents.</p> <p>“We put on a theater piece at the Future of StoryTelling Festival in 2017,” says Perlin. The lab was presented with a scene from <em>Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland</em>; both the actors and the audience were in the VR environment.</p> <p>“At some point, three of us who had created the piece together were in the experience, trying it out, and something went wrong,” says Perlin. “Instead of being in Alice’s drawing room at the beginning, with a nice chandelier on the ceiling, suddenly we were floating up by the chandelier.”</p> <p>They quickly realized two things, says Perlin: First, they had a bug in the tracking software. Second, it was incredibly cool.</p> <p>“Nobody planned that, but once it happened, we thought, ‘We have to build this kind of stuff into future experiences, because this is just delightful,’” he says.</p> <p>People are also still writing the rules for how to interact and cooperate in VR. Perlin gave the example of a time when he had three people in a shared drawing experience at a conference in Germany and one participant’s controller stopped working.</p> <p>“We were like, ‘Oh, no! We have three people and only two controllers! Should we go on with the experience?” he said.</p> <p>In fact, the loss of one of the controllers improved the experience.</p> <p>“Now they’re handing these things back and forth to each other and having a much better time because it’s more of a social experience,” explains Perlin. “And that was an accident.”</p> <p>So, what’s coming in the next five years that will continue to alter how we use VR? Perlin is betting on feet: His lab is experimenting with shoes that, combined with other body-worn components, allow for full-body representations of multiple users in a VR environment.</p> <p>“In five years, that technology will just be built into all shoes everywhere,” he says.</p> Jacquelyn Bengfort https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/vr-tracking-evolving-quickly-and-becoming-more-appealing-colleges%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E To Better Protect Student Data, Know the Difference Between Security and Privacy https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/better-protect-student-data-know-difference-between-security-and-privacy%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>It’s no surprise that privacy ranked second on <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/educause-2019" target="_blank">EDUCAUSE</a>’s 2020 Top 10 IT Issues <a href="https://www.educause.edu/research-and-publications/research/top-10-it-issues-technologies-and-trends/2020" target="_blank">list</a>.</p> <p>With high-profile <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/hackers-evolve-attacks-methods-higher-education-breaches">cyberattacks</a> in the news and strict <a href="https://ferpasherpa.org/state-laws/" target="_blank">regulations</a> on how higher education institutions should handle student data, it’s well understood that administrators and faculty play a critical role in protecting sensitive student information.</p> <p>Part of that responsibility involves understanding the principles of security and privacy and how they relate to the collection and use of data in higher education.</p> <p>Doug Welch, chief privacy officer at <a href="https://www.baylor.edu/" target="_blank">Baylor University</a>, and Jon Allen, Baylor’s CISO and interim CIO, focused on this matter during a session at the <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/educause-2019-data-driven-landscape-increases-pressure-privacy-concerns">2019 EDUCAUSE Conference</a> last October. As the two presented on building strong privacy programs on college campuses, they distinguished between efforts to secure data and keep it private.</p> Michael Durand https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/better-protect-student-data-know-difference-between-security-and-privacy%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Virtual Reality Advances Bring New Possibilities to Higher Education https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/virtual-reality-advances-bring-new-possibilities-higher-education%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>What if virtual reality is more than a novelty or even a tool? What if it’s a technology with the potential to change, well, everything?</p> <p>When Emory Craig and Maya Georgieva, both experienced educators, first encountered modern VR at the Tribeca Film Festival several years ago, the experience was so revolutionary that it altered the course of their professional lives. The pair went on to establish <a href="https://www.digitalbodies.net/" target="_blank" title="Digital Bodies">Digital Bodies</a>, an organization dedicated to researching and consulting on the transformative power of VR, augmented reality and artificial intelligence — collectively referred to as extended reality, or XR — in education and society.</p> <p>“I’m interested in experimenting with how this is going to change everything we do in education — and the way we work, play and learn in the future,” says Georgieva. She and Craig hesitate to link VR to any existing pedagogical models, cautioning that we’re still in an early stage of figuring out how to best apply the tech to education.</p> <p>“It is natural for educators to look for pedagogical models to inform practice,” says Craig. “However, with XR, we have the opportunity to create new learning experiences, test new hypotheses and inspire new models.”</p> <p>But they do see incredible potential.</p> <p>“We’re moving from the information age to the experience age,” says Georgieva.</p> Jacquelyn Bengfort https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/virtual-reality-advances-bring-new-possibilities-higher-education%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Telepresence Tools Help Colleges and Communities Pursue Rich Partnerships https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/telepresence-tools-help-colleges-and-communities-pursue-rich-partnerships%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Alpena Community College sits in northeastern Michigan, near the shore of Lake Huron, in a part of the state that some observers have called an “education desert.”</p> <p>While many in the region may bristle at the term, ACC is the only institution of higher education within three hours in any direction. That makes it a focal point not only for academic learning but also for facilitating connections with nearby communities, a responsibility that ACC leaders take seriously. And so, when an opportunity arose to seek a federal grant to expand distance-learning opportunities and help address the opioid crisis plaguing the area, they jumped at it.</p> <p>“We’re a <em>community</em> college,” notes ACC President Don MacMaster. “It’s in the middle part of our name. We view our community as the entire northeastern side of lower Michigan. Those are the folks we’re attempting to serve. If we don’t approach it that way, those folks really suffer from a lack of opportunity. We have to invest — and do invest — in reaching out.”</p> <p>Increasingly, colleges see themselves as “anchor institutions” in their communities, with both the opportunity and the responsibility to spur improvements in areas such as education, economic development and public health, says Josh Yates, executive director for the Ormond Center for Thriving Congregations and Communities at Duke University.</p> Calvin Hennick https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/telepresence-tools-help-colleges-and-communities-pursue-rich-partnerships%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E IT Trends to Watch as Higher Education Moves into a New Decade https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/it-trends-watch-higher-education-moves-new-decade%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>With the new year — and a new decade — underway, three key trends will continue to take hold in higher education.</p> <p>The conversation about digital transformation is shifting from “What is it?” to “How do we do it?” Campus leaders are rethinking the user experience in response to competition, financial pressure and a growing expectation that technology be optimized to improve education, boost productivity and simplify operations.</p> <p>As part of that quest, artificial intelligence is emerging as a multipurpose timesaver. AI-driven chatbots field questions about classes, admissions and help desk support. Other AI-powered applications enhance learning and help faculty develop more engaging lessons.</p> <p>Meanwhile, privacy is in the spotlight, in part due to growing consumer awareness and new privacy laws. In 2019, just one year after its debut on the <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2019/10/educause-2019-top-10-it-issues-list-envisions-new-role-cios" title="EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues">EDUCAUSE Top 10 IT Issues list</a>, privacy jumped to No. 2, and chief privacy officer roles are starting to appear on campuses.</p> <p><em>EdTech</em> spoke with six experts about these trends and how to embrace them this year.</p> Wylie Wong https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/it-trends-watch-higher-education-moves-new-decade%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Q&A: UC San Diego CIO Vince Kellen Offers Advice on Building a Winning IT Culture https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/qa-uc-san-diego-cio-vince-kellen-offers-advice-building-winning-it-culture%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Inductees to the 2019 <a href="https://www.cio.com/article/3151468/cio-hall-of-fame-honorees.html" target="_blank" title="CIO Hall of Fame"><em>CIO Hall of Fame</em> </a>included just one representative from higher ­education: Vince Kellen, CIO at the University of California San Diego.</p> <p>Kellen is notable for what he builds beyond IT: strong teams and consensus among disparate stakeholders. <em>EdTech</em> spoke to Kellen about recent highlights of his tenure, including a major system redesign, a data analytics initiative and a cross-campus focus on collaborative leadership.</p> Erika Gimbel https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/qa-uc-san-diego-cio-vince-kellen-offers-advice-building-winning-it-culture%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E To Make the Most of Classroom Design, Keep Things Flexible https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/make-most-classroom-design-keep-things-flexible%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>In college classroom design, flexibility has become a top priority. In fact, “classrooms” might be too limited a term to describe what have become learning spaces of all shapes and sizes (including virtual reality spaces).</p> <p>As administrators, IT leaders and instructional technologists evaluate the best ways to repurpose existing classrooms or design new ones, they often seek to create settings that can pivot between traditional arrangements — rows of desks, all facing the front of the room — and more collaborative settings.</p> <p>What looks like a traditional lecture hall, for instance, might actually be a flex space in which students’ seats can turn around backward, allowing students to collaborate with peers on either side and with students sitting behind them. Seemingly small changes like these can make a big difference in both the feel and function of a classroom.</p> <p>Other institutions create learning spaces that lack any default arrangement whatsoever: All the elements of furniture and technology can be mixed and matched to suit any need or project that might arise. A major reason for this shift is that students coming to college from K–12 schools are used to movable furniture and modular spaces, like those created in CDW’s <a href="https://blog.cdw.com/services/how-cdws-blueprint-to-design-initiative-builds-the-modern-classroom" target="_blank">Blueprint to Design</a> service.</p> Michael Durand https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/make-most-classroom-design-keep-things-flexible%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E 5 Things to Know About Software-Defined Networking https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/5-things-know-about-software-defined-networking%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>With a centralized dashboard that allows administrators to prioritize and provision applications and data packets on a network, <a href="https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/article/2018/04/SDN-Technology-Increases-Speed-Visibility-for-Campus-IT">software-defined networking</a> (SDN) can provide higher education campuses some much-needed simplicity. </p> <p>Still, implementation of SDN requires stakeholder planning and a thorough understanding of the technology. Here’s what to know when exploring a rollout:</p> Joel Snyder https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/5-things-know-about-software-defined-networking%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E Why GPS Tracking Matters for University Fleets https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/why-gps-tracking-matters-university-fleets%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E <p>Universities, especially those in urban areas, often have one foot in the transportation business as they operate buses and shuttles on which students, staff and faculty depend. Many institutions still prohibit freshmen from bringing cars to campus, and at urban locations, maintaining and parking a vehicle is often impractical and expensive.</p> <p>As a result, reliable, university-provided transit is often essential for students to get to and from class. For institutions in cities without reliable public transportation, dependable university transport is even more critical for students to access food, healthcare and job opportunities.</p> <p>From athlete transportation to off-campus rental services, university fleets include a variety of vehicles, each of which serves a critical purpose. But how can you be sure you’re making the most of your fleet data? And without access to that data, is GPS tracking worth the investment?</p> <p>Across the country, more and more institutions are implementing <a href="https://cdw-prod.adobecqms.net/content/dam/cdw/on-domain-cdw/solutions/digital-transformation/new/connected-school-bus.pdf" target="_blank">GPS tracking</a> into their fleets. GPS tracking, powered by a <a href="https://blog.cdw.com/networking/how-samsara-fleet-management-solutions-drive-business-outcomes-while-meeting-eld-mandates" target="_blank">unified fleet management platform</a>, can have a significant ROI for any university. In addition to offering vehicle location tracking, telematics systems provide data on maintenance diagnostics, fuel consumption and idle times, fleet utilization, and safety metrics — all of which can reduce costs and improve the quality of transportation services.</p> <p>Here are the top four reasons why GPS tracking and a robust telematics platform should be top of mind for campus fleet managers.</p> Sherry Wu https://edtechmagazine.com/higher/%3Ca%20href%3D%22/higher/article/2020/02/why-gps-tracking-matters-university-fleets%22%20hreflang%3D%22en%22%3Eview%3C/a%3E