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To help make sense of it all, we gathered a panel of four IT lead- ers from institutions across the country for a virtual roundtable discussion. We asked them what trends they think will be the most important in 2018 and why, where higher education technol- ogy is going, what implications they see for teaching and learning, and more. Here’s what they told us.
1) Data-Driven Institutions
Brian Fodrey: In the age of big data, with leaders focused on making data-driven decisions, having a data and information management strategy in place in IT is no longer just a luxury, but quickly becoming a necessity.
A unified data standardization effort can make all sys- tems and processes better and can be directly managed by assessing how data is collected, cleansed and ultimately stored. Employing a data in-information out mindset forc- es us to be strategic in why data is being requested, how it is solicited and the manner in which it will inform future offerings, services and/or systems enterprise-wide. Addi- tionally, having reliable data sets also lessens the need for redundant collection points to exist at various application levels, and instead creates a more uniform and positive user experience.
Beyond the capturing and management of data, under- standing and recognizing the diversity in where and how all constituents at an institution are consuming various data sets can also lead to learning more about those who value our information, utilize our services and influence how we collect data in the future.
Thomas Hoover: Data and big data have been buzz- words — rightfully so — for the last several years. Univer- sities are making great progress when it comes to using data to help with retention and student success. However,
there is still much room for improvement to take advantage of data-driven decision-making across the entire campus.
For instance, data can be used to determine if class- rooms are being utilized optimally before new construction projects are kicked off. It can and should be used to deter- mine if aging computer labs should be renewed or trans- formed into something that is more useful to the university. Efforts like these can not only streamline campus opera- tions, but also ensure that we are making most of the re- sources we have in the service of teaching and learning.
Another area where data can be used more is GIS data. Historically, GIS data has primarily been used in the hard sciences — but that same data could be analyzed in practi- cally any class on a college campus. Think history, political science, criminal justice, urban planning — there is so much data out there, and we can all do a better job of using it.
David Goodrum: The future of any innovation in teach- ing and learning is almost always a combination of all — or at least most — of the following: academic discipline, peda- gogy, learning environment, data and educational technol- ogy. And data-informed research and formative evaluation are the key to avoiding just chasing shiny new objects on the one hand and just staying with what we’ve always done on the other. The foundational blocks for making any head- way in analytics, particularly learning analytics, are: a) insti- tutional (rather than vendor) ownership of data generated
Brian Fodrey
Assistant Dean for Facilities & IT and Chief Information Officer, School of Government, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
David Goodrum
Director of Academic Technology, Information Services, Oregon State University
Thomas Hoover
Chief Information Officer and Dean of the Library, University of Louisiana Monroe
Anu Vedantham
Director of Learning and Teaching Services for FAS Libraries, Harvard Library, Harvard University
CAMPUS TECHNOLOGY | January/February 2018

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