As one school year comes to a close, it is time to reflect on what went well the previous year as well as ways to improve results. This break allows schools to review all the data collected all year and create plans of action to achieve new results in the years to come. As such, it is only appropriate that the May/June issue of Educause Review included a list of the top ten IT issues of 2013 according to higher education institutions. Let’s take some time to reflect on how MediaCAST can help schools resolve some of these issues.
The Educause Review Top Ten IT Issues of 2013:
- Leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus
- Improving student outcomes through an approach that leverages technology
- Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy to help the institution select the right sourcing and solution strategies
- Developing a staffing and organizational model to accommodate the changing IT environment and facilitate openness and agility
- Facilitating a better understanding of information security and finding appropriate balance between infrastructure opened and security
- Funding information technology strategically
- Determining the role of online learning and developing a sustainable strategy for that role
- Supporting the trend toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own-device
- Transforming the institution’s business with information technology
- Using analytics to support critical institutional outcomes
1 – Leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus
Mobile devices have exploded onto the campus scene in recent years, with some schools reporting an average of three devices per student on any given day. These devices are powerful computers that students just happen to carry with them wherever they go. As such, students expect to have access to all of the resources they would if using a laptop or desktop back in their dorm room.
Class materials are no exception. Students want to use their down time between classes in an effective way and this means having access to the resources they need to complete their homework. Having a way to provide students access to class notes, readings and videos on mobile devices is essential these days.
The MediaCAST Mobile Learning Content Manager for iPads and Android tablets provides schools an easy way to distribute content to student devices. With the push of a button, instructors can share digital resources directly to student devices and even set expiration dates to ensure the resource is returned at the end of the semester.
2 – Improving student outcomes through an approach that leverages technology
While improving student outcome may seem like a daunting task, there are a few simple ways to achieve results. Studies have found that incorporating images and videos into lectures can improve student retention and engagement. Additionally, allowing students to access these resources outside of class while studying increases their ability to fully absorb and learn the concepts covered.
With MediaCAST, images, videos and other important class documents can be shared with students through your school’s LMS. Instructors can save all their materials in one place from year to year and share them with each class individually to ensure students see the resources that are most relevant to their courses.
3 – Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy to help the institution select the right sourcing and solution strategies
Cloud computing is the way of the future. As more users rely on mobile devices and switch between devices throughout the day, they expect an easy way to keep their workflow moving when switching from one device to the next.
MediaCAST makes it easy to switch to cloud computing. With MediaCAST Cloud Edition, all your digital resources are stored in one, easy to access place without requiring servers be installed at your school. Alternatively, even with a traditional version of MediaCAST, because all the resources are available through an easy-to-use web interface, students and professors will be able to access digital resources anytime they desire.
6 – Funding information technology strategically
As all facets of university life face budget cuts, it is more important than ever to spend the money you do have wisely. With MediaCAST, you purchase the system once and own it for life. And with an expected life span of up to 20 years, your school will have an efficient way of managing digital content for a long time to come.
Alternatively, if a large purchase is not in the cards right now, the MediaCAST Cloud Edition offers lower starting costs with a reoccurring yearly fee that can then be built into the budget from here on out. And if your funding changes, there is always an option to switch to the traditional, server-based version at anytime.
7 – Determining the role of online learning and developing a sustainable strategy for that role
Online learning has drastically gained in popularity over the last few years. However, many schools still aren’t sure how to approach it. Lessons full of assigned readings are no longer satisfactory for the online learner. They want an experience similar to what they would get if they were in the classroom. This means including rich digital resources such as images and videos to supplement the required readings. Find a way to reach multiple types of learners and your online courses will become much more popular.
One of the most requested features of online courses is teacher interaction. A simple way to provide this is to include recorded lectures as part of the available resources. If students are able to watch an instructor while listening to a lecture, they will gain more from the course.
With Lecture Capture, instructors can record themselves teaching in an in-person version of the class. If an in-person version of the class is not offered, instructors can include recorded help videos of them discussing some of the more popular questions that arise. A nice video message from the instructor at the beginning and end of a course can go a long ways towards creating satisfied students as well.
8 – Supporting the trend toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own-device
As with the first point, mobile devices have exploded onto campuses in recent years. Having both the bandwidth to support all the devices as well as a way to distribute and retrieve content is essential. Don’t be left out of the digital age simply because your school wasn’t ready to handle all the devices students are bringing with them. There is no turning back and there is no stopping it. Instead, embrace mobile learning and mobile devices and students will thank you.
If your broadband network just isn’t quite there yet, MediaCAST offers a few solutions. With the MediaCAST Mobile Learning Content Manager, resources loaded on student devices are able to be viewed without an internet connection, meaning student can still access the resources they need for class without being a drag on your internet speed. Or, the MediaCAST Hybrid Edition combines the best of the Cloud Edition and the Traditional version to allow you to determine when your bandwidth is used to access digital resources stored within your MediaCAST system.
Every year brings new challenges. Be ready for digital learning with MediaCAST and everything else will seem simple.