As summer comes to a close, it’s prudent to look ahead to what technologies will emerge as the most significant for Higher Ed during the coming year. It’s important to take technology developments into account to support your users as well as to remain competitive with other forward-thinking institutions.
Here are the top 5 Higher Ed technology trends for 2018:
1. Analytics and Transparency
Higher Ed IT professionals will need to ensure that they are setting up “proper policies around use of student data and are looking to other industries as examples (e.g., health care),” according to eCampusNews.
With easier access to data and the resulting questions about how to use student information ethically, increased transparency is in order. To achieve better visibility into the processes and techniques of analytics, IT will need to avoid the use of proprietary algorithms or so-called black box solutions. Instead, analytics solutions should be objectively vetted with peer review before adoption.
2. Internet of Things
An anticipated increase in the use of Internet of Things (IoT) devices will present technology and security issues that your institution’s network will need to address. The rewards should be worth the effort and will impact such areas as resource usage, parking and campus security.
For example, the maturation of IoT should enable better facilities management. “Building sensors could provide data on facility usage, informing capital planning projects and space allocations,” according to EdTech Magazine. “Smart parking lots could direct campus visitors to lots with available space, while IP-enabled video cameras tied to analytics software flag anomalous activity so that public safety officers can investigate.”
Higher IT department heads will have to set policies for securing these devices against criminal intruders to the institution’s network.
3. Learning Management Systems
Learning Management Systems (LMS) are becoming increasingly robust, doing more than simply providing students learning materials and allowing them to submit assignments digitally. You can anticipate that next generation versions of LMS technology will handle much more complex processes than what is currently implemented at the average university.
In a recent article, Educause described a variety of LMS features, such as offering just one hub that consolidates access to different learning tools, video on demand, along with analytics to illustrate which videos prove to be most effective.
In a process akin to the rewards systems users are already familiar with when playing online games, an LMS using digital badges lets instructors quickly single out students and recognize their high quality work.
With an LMS, Educators can personalize students’ experiences and enable them to work at their own pace. Students will enjoy access to all the course materials at once instead of waiting for it to be doled out at a uniform pace.
4. Artificial Intelligence
Artificial intelligence is affecting all sectors of the economy and higher learning institutions could be adopting AI within a year, according to Rutgers University’s Office of Instructional & Research Technology.
Rutgers noted that “AI is used in adaptive learning systems. Artificial intelligence algorithms personalize learning for the student, using the data collected through adaptive learning systems and next-generation learning management systems.”
Artificial intelligence developments in the coming years should also free up instructors to use their time more constructively, when AI tutors begin taking care of low-level and repetitive tasks for them.
5. Natural User Interface
A natural user interface involves devices that people use to input information by tapping, swiping and making gestures with their hands and arms. You can see a futuristic view of such a system in the movie “Minority Report,” where the police interact with large, floating virtual screens to track down criminals.
According to Rutgers, natural user interfaces are now deemed highly effective for training professionals in education, engineering and medicine. Expect to see them being used more frequently in higher education as we enter 2018.
While the advance of technology is non-stop, you likely have less time than you’d prefer to keep up with developments and shifting trends. A free consultation with a Higher Ed IT consultant may be in order to help you remain current. For fast answers to your most pressing questions and to get help addressing various technologies, send a request to us today.
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