- The use of big data or cloud computing and the expansive and unpredictable inroads made by online learning were among the most important changes in higher education brought on by technology, according to a review of trends by Educause as it celebrated its 20-year anniversary.
- According to a report from EdTech, Educause asked IT experts about “the most significant moments of the past, the most promising trends of the future and everything in between.”
- The experts said data analytics were being used in very different ways at institutions, and that it had become critical in many aspects of college operations, including recruitment, measuring student success and fundraising. Cloud computing has also dramatically changed how colleges operate, they said, and willingness to make IT a key part of operations has had a significant impact.
Experts have noted that colleges acquire abundant data, as the Educause report suggests, but should coordinate the compilation and use of it better. They are, however, finding new uses for it, including in admissions recruitment and monitoring student activity to predict dropouts.
With regard to cloud computing, while Educause notes it has benefited higher education institutions, some are concerned that it may be more costly than expected.
The effect of online courses is regularly reported and seen as both an opportunity and challenge to higher education, and survey respondents say institutions are making a mistake if they don’t become involved.
Other experts surveyed felt technology allowed students the tools they need to succeed in a technically savvy workplace, even providing training opportunities through virtual and augmented reality that they wouldn’t have otherwise.
A common theme, according to EdTech, was the need for higher education to find ways to adapt to the changes that technology brings.