Colleges and universities are relying on technology advancements to transform the higher education experience. And, student success remains the main driving force for technological change. Here are five higher ed tech trends that are improving student success in 2019 and beyond.
1. Classroom Accessibility
College enrollments are predicted to decline which means tuition revenue will drop. As one of the highest revenue generating initiatives, colleges must find new ways to make up for the shortfall in funding. To make up, universities are turning to continuing education, expanding existing programs, and launching new programs to attract both adult and mobile learners.
The shift to building programs around an online-only learning experience has opened a new gap in meeting the learning requirements of students. To bridge the gap between online only and in-person only classes, colleges are creating hybrid programs. These programs focus on delivering a mix of both online and in-person classes.
One way colleges are creating successful hybrid classes is through leveraging videoconference technology. With this technology, faculty can extend the reach of their in-person classes by using a video conference software to synchronously reach students in real time. This class structure is also beneficial for students who are out sick or traveling for work. Bringing this type of mobility to the classroom enables students to learn on their own time and in their own environments.
2. Digital Course Material
Technology is an integral part of the campus learning experience. With the higher education environment becoming geographically dispersed, increasingly mobile, and virtualized, it’s no surprise that universities are integrating digital technologies in their classrooms.
Today’s students – especially Millennials – expect the same digital experience from their colleges as they get from popular consumer brands. Faculty must bring a variety of engaging educational media to each class to keep students engaged and learning. Not only do students require a mix of digital content, but they also require access to this digital content instantly and in one place. Having coursework, lectures, and content available in one location that students can access at any time and any place is a necessity.
3. Learning Experiences Anywhere, on Any Device
New challenges and opportunities arise as mobile devices and mobility become more common. With an influx of new technology and devices – like tablets, touch screen displays, 3D printers, and even drones – universities are taking big steps to provide the latest and greatest technology. However, these technologies often become a flashy, expensive toy without the right infrastructure, mobility strategy, or learning plan in place first.
When IT services and resources work anywhere on any device, it makes other critical technology initiatives – like BYOD, collaborative learning spaces, and flipped classrooms – easy to introduce and expand. These programs increase learning continuity and reach students in new ways. When you can deliver any application – even heavy applications like AutoCAD and SPSS – to any device, you level the playing field for education.
4. Internet of Things (IoT)
Simply put, the Internet of Things (IoT) is the concept of connecting any device with an on and off switch to the Internet – and/or to each other. This includes everything from mobile devices, laptops, washing machines, headphones, lamps, wearable devices, and almost everything else you can think of. Anything that can be connected to the Internet can become a source of data as part of the IoT.
IoT predictions and forecasts vary, but there is almost universal agreement that the IoT will grow exponentially. Gartner has predicted the IoT will increase from 6.4 billion connected things in 2016 to 20.4 billion in 2020.
Student success rates can be improved with the right IoT strategy. Student behavior and activity can be monitored to identify students who are struggling and need assistance. Colleges can monitor study habits and empower students to learn at their own pace. This leads to faculty being able to offer more personalized instruction and adjust lesson plans during the semester.
By leveraging IoT, colleges can offer personalized learning experiences that improve student success rates and attract more recruits.
5. 5G Technology
Over the course of 2019 there will be a U.S.-wide rollout of 5G technology – a new mobile spectrum meant to replace 4G/LTE. Although 5G is in the early stages of implementation, it’s set to be about 40 times as fast as the average home Wi-Fi network.
With thousands of connected phones, tablets, laptops, watches, and smart appliances straining the campus Wi-Fi network, 5G will be more robust for connecting a large number of devices and will work equally well inside and outside of buildings. This increase in bandwidth and connectivity will open the door to more reliable use of existing education technology and fewer spinning wheels waiting for your learning management system to update.
The advance of mobility combined with emerging technologies keeps universities competitive. By focusing even more on student success by leveraging and adapting these emerging technologies to make education more accessible and adaptable, your university can stay ahead.