Thursday at Educause 2017: Top IT issues and diversifying the campus tech workforce
The second day of the higher ed IT gathering saw a preview of Educause's 2018 Top 10 IT Issues as well as new Campus Computing Project survey results
The second day of Educause 2017 kicked off Thursday morning in Philadelphia with a preview of the 2018 Top 10 IT Issues from the Educause Center for Analysis and Research (ECAR). As you might imagine, given recent events like the Equifax breach, last year's DDoS attacks, and the education sector's ongoing status as a prime target of cybercrime, the issue topping the list this year is cybersecurity.
Top 10 IT Issues. Student Success. Get IT involved with students. Meet with student government regularly. #edu17— jeantags (@jeantags) November 2, 2017
Top 10 IT Issues. Use data. Communicate data regularly to a select constituent group. #edu17— jeantags (@jeantags) November 2, 2017
CIOs believe the major challenge to evolving the workforce is skills/resources followed by finance. Culture also a challenge #edu17— Peter Tinson (@pat3460) November 2, 2017
How can higher ed IT leaders develop and maintain diversity and inclusivity in their workforce?
As Educause rolled out its annual list of the top higher ed IT issues, we also checked out a morning session on how to develop and maintain a diverse and inclusive campus IT workforce. For more on how Stony Brook University CIO Melissa Woo, University of Richmond CIO Keith McIntosh, and Yale University Chief Diversity Officer Deborah Stanley-McAulay have worked toward accomplishing this at their own institutions, with stories of their failures as well as successes, keep an eye out for a full recap in the coming days.
U of Dayton shares strategies and lessons learned on building cyber-mindfulness
In an afternoon session, University of Dayton CIO Thomas Skill, IT Communication Coordinator Kimberly Conde, IT Risk Management Officer Dean Halter, Web Services Manager Elizabeth Timmons, and Professor of Communication James Robinson explored the ongoing top IT concern for higher ed: cybersecurity.
Skill has previously detailed his institution’s efforts for us, specifically as it pertains to the implementation of phishing tests, but the session dug much deeper into those strategies. To become cyber-mindful, users must become aware of the personal and institutional risks that are online by learning about potential threats and how to avoid them, embrace personal agency in their own role in avoiding shared risks, and take action to adjust behavioral habits and be mindful of preventive and defensive actions.
To do so, you must find a balance between cyber-carelessness and cyber-fatigue — opposite ends of the spectrum where users feel there’s little they can do.
Robinson detailed how the communication process can be utilized to build that compliance and find that balance. With communication theory, messages must provide context with their content while recognizing that fear appeals can only go so far. People need to know they can deal with the threat. Organizational thought leaders can strongly influence acceptance by interacting with users, and users must believe they are susceptible to those risks, that the consequences are severe enough for them to change their behavior, that the benefits of change outweigh barriers, that their actions are effective in reducing risks, and that they can successfully make those changes.
In planning an awareness campaign, an institution should survey the campus community to find out attitudes and aptitudes; develop a story, theme and voice to explain to users what’s in it for them; gather logs, phishing stats, stories, and survey results to measure success; develop engagement options and opportunities across a variety of platforms; design messaging across a variety of engagement levels; find ways to facilitate real actions and relationships between actual people; and encourage IT staff to personally participate in the campaign.
Perhaps the biggest lesson learned: It takes a significant amount of time and work hours to achieve the level of awareness desired.
Campus Computing Project unveils results of 28th annual national higher ed IT survey
Another afternoon session brought together Campus Computing Project Founding Director Kenneth Green joined by University of Pittsburgh Center for Teaching & Learning Director Cynthia Golden and Seton Hall University Associate CIO Paul Fisher for the release of results from the organization's 28th annual survey of computing, eLearning and information technology in American higher ed.
The survey involved 199 campus participants across four-year public and private institutions as well as public community colleges, utilizing web-based data collection. Of respondents, 79% reported senior academic leadership understand the strategic value of institutional investments in IT — down 10% from the prior year.
Deployment numbers, however, are low, with only 14% of general ed classes using courseware and just 7% of developmental and general ed courses using adaptive learning tech. CIOs report that if they had to give campus IT a grade, they'd choose a C+ or B-, based on modest benefits for all the dollars spent on IT for instruction and operations, low satisfaction with IT services, continuing IT funding challenges, and little recognition and reward for faculty. CIOs rated data analytics and managerial analytics as the investments their campuses are doing the worst with, and on-campus teaching and instruction as those with which their campuses are doing the best.
Few CIOs reported that their campuses are "very satisfied" with key IT resources and services. "We should not be willing to settle for a C+ or a B-," Green said.
As with previous years, Green noted that campuses still have "lawsuits waiting to happen" when it comes to digital resources and services for disabled users, as campuses continue to struggle to meet legal mandates for accessibility. "It's not a matter of if, it's a matter of when," he said. "This is a recipe for disaster."
Mid-year IT budget cuts are rising, with BA/MA institution and community colleges most-effected. About 10% of respondents said their IT security plans haven't been updated in the past two years, and large numbers of campuses still lack IT disaster recovery plans in the event of hurricanes, earthquakes, etc.
On the cloud, results are showing rising confidence in IT security from providers, and 74% agree or strongly agree that third-party services are an important important part of campus plans to provide high-performance computing. 62%, however, agree or strongly agree that faculty and researchers pose a potential risk to data security, driving home the need for better awareness and prevention campaigns.
Regarding artificial intelligence, many respondents saw its biggest potential impact as a resource for analytics and campus decision-making.
Blackboard gathers thought leaders to develop framework on ethical AI use in higher ed
- Blackboard announced a Jan. 11 event that will unite thought leaders from global higher ed institutions, non-profit organizations and law firms to explore ethical and legal issues around the use of artificial intelligence in higher ed and develop a standards framework around its use.
- Among those involved are New America Senior Policy Analyst Iris Palmer, University of California Berkeley Postdoctoral Scholar Joshua A. Kroll, and University of Barcelona Vice Rector of Digital Transformation Oriol Pujol
- The initial gathering is expected to produce an early framework around the ethics of AI, including usage standards and best practices for vendors and institutions, which will then be presented to the broader educational community, according to a press release.
Moodle and Moodlerooms to get SafeAssign plagiarism prevention integration
- Blackboard also revealed that it plans to make the SafeAssign plagiarism prevention tool available for use with Moodle and Moodlerooms in early 2018, helping students to better attribute sources.
- The tool analyzes assignments submitted against several sources to ensure existing works weren’t plagiarized, both deterring students from the act and providing a learning opportunity, according to a press release.
- The existing works that assignments are compared to include 150 million documents across content sources as vast as the Internet and Blackboard’s Global Reference Database of papers by other students, ultimately producing an “Originality Report” for faculty or students.
CDW-G issues cybersecurity infographic
- A new infographic from CDW-G details the results of a survey asking 250 higher education IT professionals and 300 students about their college or university’s cybersecurity measures.
- In the wake of recent large-scale cyberattacks like the Equifax breach, cybersecurity is a top-of-mind concern for education institutions, which have long been a favored target of cybercrime.
- Notably, the data shows 60% of institutions have been the victim of a data breach in the past year, and while 91% of IT professionals say they’ve communicated data breaches to the student body, only 26% of students know any such event occurred at their institution in the past 12 months.
Ohio University’s Top Hat OER partnership to save students estimated $500K on texts
- A new partnership between Ohio University and cloud-based education platform Top Hat will expand open educational resource access to 36,000 students at the institution, saving them an estimated $500,000 each semester.
- Through the platform, faculty will be able to create their own interactive content, homework and exams while accessing content on the Top Hat Marketplace, where they can publish, share or collaborate, according to a press release.
- Ohio University President M. Duane Nellis called the partnership “an integral part of Ohio University’s dual mission of educational access and educational excellence.”
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