5 ed tech tips for financially strapped institutions
- There are several suggestions for CIOs and other directors of digital services of financially strapped schools which came out of a recent three day conference on leadership practices specifically for vulnerable institutions, writes Joshua Kim, Director of Digital Learning Initiatives at the Dartmouth Center for the Advancement of Learning for Inside Higher Ed.
- Among these include recommendations that online learning programs start immediately, rather than being rolled out or spun up, because the demand for online courses is already high. And, IT departments ought to make tech spending and changes transparent to the public to build open dialogue and buy-in.
- Kim also writes that tech leaders shouldn't host their own servers, but rather rent them out and have them run by a third party, as vulnerable institutions are like "start ups." They should also shift all productivity programs to a cloud based app, such Google drive, while at the same time the institutions should commit their IT department to being a profit center that brings in revenue.
While many schools have opted to sell many of their assets, considered merging with other institutions and renting out some of their space on campus, another option for revenue is to simply revamp and reorganize certain departments. Kim's suggestions showcase how IT departments can become sources of revenue, rather than inefficient and costly drains on the institution. By streamlining IT services to third parties that can handle errors more effectively and swiftly, as well as cut down on spending for expensive applications — the departments can start to become important powerhouses for these institutions.
But of course, true success relies on CIOs understanding what the needs of faculty, students, and the institution are in conjunction. Scott Midkiff explained this to Education Dive earlier this year.
"I think what's really important is that the CIO and the IT organization better integrate itself really with the core missions of the university. So, I think that if you look at maybe sort of maturity level IT organizations — at one level you're strictly kind of providing commodity IT services for the university, and good IT organizations go beyond that to make sure that they're really supporting the business needs, the functional needs. And that's on the teaching side, the research and the policy, administrative side of the university, to really sort of understand how to best support those organization with their IT needs," said Midkiff.
- Inside Higher Ed My First 5 Tech Steps at an Economically Vulnerable Institution
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