The European higher education sector is in the midst of a fundamental transformation. It is under pressure because of resource constraints, new demand from the job market and growing expectations from the student population to innovate its learning, teaching, research and administration experiences.
Universities and colleges are changing the learning experience to make it more student-centric, immersive, self-directed, collaborative, enjoyable. To do so they are investing in information technology to be used as a cognitive companion in a blended learning environment, by students, teachers, researchers, parents and all other stakeholders involved in campus activities (see Figure 1).
Higher education executives are embracing digital transformation by investing in cloud computing, big data, 3D printing, virtual reality, IoT and mobile to increase efficiency and collaboration of administrative processes, such as student recruiting, admission and retention, to enhance operational effectiveness and resilience of campus operations and to respond to new demands for learning, research, and teaching. In fact, according to IDC European Vertical Markets Survey, November 2016, which included 53 higher education digital leaders from across Western Europe:
- Higher education executives’ top business priorities are security and data protection, student experience enhancement and reducing costs of campus operations.
- Mobile computing, cloud computing, and social media are mainstream in higher education. In fact, of the surveyed higher education IT executives 51% have already invested in public cloud and 40% have invested in mobile apps for students. Such a hybrid environment, favors shadow IT, which is both a source of innovation and a source of security concern for higher education CIOs
- Big data and analytics (BDA) is in high demand. 28% of IT executives surveyed by IDC plan to use it to improve student recruiting and retention, and 26% for course planning, and back office process optimization.
- The combination of BDA and IoT will support optimization of campus resource management from classroom allocation, to HVAC, to physical security.
Higher education digital leaders shall:
- Work with faculty, administrators, and students to prioritize use cases and goals for personalized, immersive, adaptive learning experiences.
- Engage with the industry to uncover opportunities to orchestrate capabilities enabled by new business models that are shaping up in blended learning.
- Aggregate data that can help build a 360-degree view of students and campus operations to harness the power of advanced analytics.
- Make security a business priority. Educate all constituencies across the campus to help them comply with simple guidelines and understand the nature of threats.
Please contact Massimiliano Claps if you want to learn more about this or related topics.