There are 36 million underserved adults with some college credits who are looking to accelerate their careers. By 2020, more than 500,000 students will be enrolled in a competency-based education program. That’s a significant wave of students looking for self-paced, on-demand education. And for many of these individuals, the so-called “traditional” route to a degree (i.e. “seat time” in a lecture hall) just won’t cut it. They have jobs, families, and community obligations. And many students consider CBE as a way to complete their degrees faster, with less debt. But how does a college or university build a CBE program to address this growing demand, and do so quickly and effectively while leveraging the institution’s strengths?
Students are so tech-savvy now that if you can’t offer mobile options, speed, and convenience, they see it as a negative mark against your institution. They expect things to happen overnight: if they send an application, they want an answer tomorrow. So higher education institutions have to make that happen.
The question used to be, “Do I need to provide phones in the residence halls?” Today, the question is, “How much longer do I need to provide cable TV?” With Amazon, Hulu, and YouTube, students can watch content on-demand from a web-based content provider—so cable TV may quickly become obsolete. Netflix, Xbox, and Pandora are now mission-critical applications for retention initiatives.
This is the last of a six-part series on the cloud. While I’ve addressed a number of topics, I think a natural conclusion would be to emphasize the idea of choice.
In my first blog, I stressed the importance of letting institutional strategy drive cloud strategy—a concept reinforced in each subsequent blog. Every institution has different goals, priorities, and resources and therefore different technology needs. Fortunately, migrating to the cloud is not a one-time, one-size-fits-all endeavor.
Take a stroll across any university or college campus today, and you’ll notice a sizeable majority of students, faculty, and staff clutching some type of device. A mobile phone. A tablet. A laptop. Something portable with the capability of connecting them to the Internet. People on your campus today are bringing their own devices, and they expect to be able to communicate with your institution with that device—and not just in the classroom, but from anywhere. This technological revolution is upon us, and institutions that don’t keep up will be left behind.
Many clients who are new to the cloud ask me which applications and data to migrate first. I tell them to identify opportunities to make the highest impact on the institution’s most important goals in the shortest amount of time.
Cloud migration should be relatively painless. The key is to plan, plan, and then plan some more.
Your plan will be as simple or complex as the services you’ve chosen. But there are certain steps you can’t ignore if you want to minimize cost and disruption to users.
Going to college is not the same as it was ten years ago. Or even five. Students now want to register for classes on their phones. The desktop computer has become passé. If an institution does not have an app or offer sufficient technology to support mobile learning, then students tend to look elsewhere for an education. For colleges and universities anywhere, the situation is clear: it’s time to modernize campus infrastructure. Stagnation is not an option.
The global middle class is growing—and it’s hungry for education. But traditional delivery models in higher education don’t fit the modern student, who has to weigh the time and costs in earning a degree with its tangible benefits. Thus, the emerging models for higher education must be accelerated, focused, and market-driven. And, they have to be accessible and affordable. It’s a tall order.
In the halls, on the quad, at the conferences—everyone in higher education is talking about “campus modernization.”
While modernization is certainly about more than technology, it still requires a technology foundation that looks quite different than it did a decade ago. And for many colleges and universities, the cloud is a key part of that foundation.
From a business standpoint, there are three important outcomes that differentiate cloud-based technology from on-premise.