On the Horizon: Trends, Challenges & Emerging Technologies in Higher Education

This is my first post from the CSUN 2015 Annual Technology Fair, held on Thursday, May 28 in the Grand Salon in the CSUN University Student Union

Introduction by Hilary Baker, CIO at CSUN

Hilary’s introduction to the event was followed by a video of the AppJam competition recently held at CSUN (tag line:  “Think Fast, Win Big”).  There were two competition categories: Student Finances, the winner of which was uCarpool.  uCarpool is an app that matches students with other students to find and take advantage of carpooling.  The other category was Student Life, the winning entry of which was Matador Patrol.  Matador Patrol is way for students to request a safety escort on campus.

We have New Media Consortium to talk about tech trends, and will also talk about student retention.  We also have a number of vendors here, and we invite you meet with them.

Ben Quillian, AVP for Central IT introduced first speakers

Presentation:  “On the Horizon” Trends, Challenges & Emerging Technologies in Higher Education



Key Trends Accelerating Educational Tech Adoption

One of the key questions we ask in the report is how long do we need to be concerned about these things?  We break that into three categories:

  • Long term:  advancing cultures of change and innovation (i.e. start-up mentality, fail fast
  • Mid-term:  Growing focus on measuring learning
  • Short-term:  Increasing use of blended learning

What Positive Trends are you Seeing at CSUN + How Can They Be Accelerated?

Significant Challenges Impeding Education Technology Adoption

Moving to the “dark side,” here are the challenges the higher education vertical faces:

  • Solvable:  blending formal + informal training.   Lifelong learning Festival Cork Institute of Technology,  In this festival, students drive the ownership of the educational documentation process.
  • Difficult:  teaching complex thinking andimproving digital literacy.  Data specialists needed!  Rochester Institute of Technology,
  • Wicked:  Competing Models of Education.  Minerva University,

Question:  What are some potential solutions to these challenges?  Dream Big!

Important Trends

Developments in technology you should be aware of

  • Near-term:  1 yr or less; byod
  • Mid-term:  2-3 yrs; maker spaces, Grand Valley State University,; The Garage at USC, (VCs come to look at student creative projects)
  • Far-term: 4-5 yrs; wearable technology in nutrition and education (i.e. Apple watch).  What does this mean for education?  Quantifiable self movement and possibly language learning.  Embedded disposable sensors – UCSD; Fitbit & Jawbone up; Adaptive Learning Technologies:  Mooculus at The Ohio State University (which uses a hidden Markov model)

Question:  How could these developments in edtech support increased student retention and graduation rates?

Audience Questions

What are universities doing with ePortfolios?  Buying, building, using freely available products?  We see people using free tools like WordPress or SquareSpace, behance, etc.

What’s your position with respect to intellectual property rights, specifically for student-created IP?  It’s a big issue for educators, because students are often re-using materials in their own projects.  Students need to understand how this all works.

What’s your advice for people with children in this new world?  Digital Literacy is important!  Teach them what they need to know to be effective in this new world

How do we avoid design obsolescence?  We need to train data scientists how to deal with this.  A lot of work is being done with this in the digital art space, especially around preservation of the artist’s intent, longevity, etc.

How do we deal with scale?  There’s a big gap between maker spaces and web-scale projects.  Spaces should probably use public resources to help guide projects from nascent to global scales.

What are some things CSUN is doing?

  • Virtual Classroom (special education)
  • Embedding Universal Design (special education)
  • Creative Media Studio (Library)
  • “Flipping the Flipped Classroom”


By Paul Schantz

CSUN Director of Web & Technology Services, Student Affairs. husband, father, gamer, part time aviator, fitness enthusiast, Apple fan, and iguana wrangler.

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