- Tech-savvy schools recognizing the world of work is changing dramatically are investing in more tools to better prepare students for employment.
- In an interview with Microsoft VP for worldwide education Anthony Salcito for Ed Tech Magazine, data collection tools to enhance student retention efforts and artificial intelligence to generate trends and projections with the collected data on student outcomes, as well as create more efficiencies in the management of campus life, were identified as two emerging trends.
- Institutions are also investing in collaboration technologies that can close digital skills gaps among students and better prepare them to enter a more technologically entrenched world of work, such as applications that allow students to better collaborate with each other outside of the classroom.
Artificial intelligence has the potential to completely disrupt higher education, as the technology can be used to replace a number of jobs in the workforce and render certain types of majors less valuable. To stay ahead of this, leaders can actually leverage artificial intelligence as a tool for both collecting data and keeping students in schools and integrating technologies into the classroom that will give students an opportunity to learn the types of skills employers will actually want.
An example of this is Henry Ford College, where students are being taught how to "learn to learn" for jobs that don't exist yet, but will be highly mechanized. Students engage with troubleshoot exercises using technologies, because as jobs become more automated, employers will look for graduates that know how to manage the machinery and communicate any problems and solutions with soft skills.
By taking advantage of data, institutions can better target the needs of their students and prevent them from falling off track early on — thereby creating efficiencies not only in how students are being handled, but also in how leaders can manage faculty engagement. For instance, Southern Connecticut State University has used pre-college experience data to help administrators and student affairs officials predict rates of retention, graduation and academic performance. This practice helps campus leaders more effectively focus on student ROI.
But at the same time, it's critical that as institutions continue to invest in technology, they make sure there's an understanding between faculty, campus leaders, and the CIO and IT team. Education Dive spoke with Virginia Tech CIO Scott Midkiff who explained how to do this and why it's necessary:
"I think what's really important is to have pre-established relationships between those different functional units between academic units, the provost office, administrative units — between those units and the the information technology organization," said Midkiff.
"But too often what happens is there is sort of sales opportunity, someone believes something is interesting and they go out and they get well down into procurement process and then IT get involved. And, then you start running into well the integration challenges, the data privacy challenges, compliance challenges for this product. And, especially some of companies that aren't very mature — that can lead to real issues, so I think it's that early engagement between functional units and the IT organization that leads to success."