EDUCAUSE '22: The Future for Higher Ed IT
We’re proud to be operating
in such an innovative sector.
The future for higher education starts with institutions; Universities and colleges across the globe are consistently adopting new technologies, breaking through barriers of student learning, and applying new advancements to enhance the student experience. We see all of this firsthand.
“One of the reasons we only work in education is that it’s a sector that strives to adopt new technologies”
With the EDUCAUSE annual conference 2022 less than a week away, AppsAnywhere CEO and Co-Founder, Nick Johnson, expands on Pete Cooke’s (AppsAnywhere’s COO) reflections by looking ahead at how higher ed institutions are facing the future of learning.
The Future of Higher Education
“I've said this before, but there’s no harm with it being quoted again, I think outside of our world and our sector in general, people don't realize how innovative higher ed institutions are, and I don't think that's appreciated enough. I’ve said this in presentations and on webinars that especially during the pandemic, everyone deserves a massive pat on the back because of what they’ve achieved.
“I think when we talk about the future of education, what is really interesting is that during the pandemic, time scales got accelerated. We read of solutions being implemented in weeks rather than months and there being no proof of concept. There was no pilot. Institutions had to establish solutions very quickly.
“The pandemic brought in a lot of changes that needed to take place and would have happened anyway. What we’re seeing now is the future of higher education.
A New-Style of Learning
Many higher ed institutions haven’t just adopted new approaches to their IT service as interim measures. Many have adopted them indefinitely as their new way of operating, especially on a remote learning front.
“A friend of mine has just gone through clearing and it was interesting to hear that Sheffield Hallam, one of our customers, have called it out early in their clearing process that 50% of all their learning will be online. We know Sheffield Hallam well, and knowing them as a great customer of ours, they can deploy software to students remotely, which makes sense to continue to deliver that way.
“It’s interesting to see how in one sense, the student experience has become so welcoming of a remote approach yet in turn has provided an abundance of collaborative opportunities.”
Campus Labs - Collaboration Spaces
Pete spoke about the future of traditional campus lab settings in higher ed institutions and expected to see in the next few months the true reflection of the future for campus labs.
“How tied institutionally is the Higher Ed Industry to the concept of campus labs? Is the concept too much of a comfort blanket?”
With a rise in BYOD policies to such an extent which offer environmental, financial, and operational benefits, we’re seeing a large shift away from campus labs full of specialist equipment.
We’ve seen our customers, such as Utah University in the US and Middlesex University in the UK (to name just two) focus their IT efforts on loan laptops through a check-in-and-out service. By doing so, repurposing pre-existing campus labs into open, non-hardware populated spaces to embrace and encourage student collaboration.
“I was on a webinar with Nathan from Queensland University of Technology and he spoke about ‘if a student has bought their own device, they want to be able to use their own device’. This of course saves the university expenses on infrastructure, air-conditioning, server rooms etc and opens the discussion to design the layout of their rooms differently too.
“Nathan spoke about how students would simply move the university-provided equipment out of their way to open their own device. So now the focus isn’t completely on removing campus labs, but majorly scaling back to provide collaborative spaces where students can congregate with their peers and work together on projects while making IT support more targeted to their students’ expectations.”
A Changing Landscape
Overall, the higher education landscape is changing.
“Going back to the point of the higher ed industry being incredibly innovative, I’m sure in time we’ll see the introduction of AI and automation into all areas of the student experience. The technology isn’t perhaps there yet, but it’s certainly on the horizon.
“We see the demand with AppsAnywhere to progress the analytics functions and delve deeper into the student use trends for a majority of reasons spanning student wellbeing and financial.
“With all the technological approaches surrounding remote working, we’re also going to see geographical restrictions broken down. With a rise in working vacations, there is a comparable rise with student expectations. The pool for student applications has grown considerably too. We’ll see more students studying overseas and more students broadening their horizons in search for the best possible student experience.
“The interesting aspect to look at is who and where meets the expectations most effectively first.”