The 2015 Campus Computing Survey



This is the 26th year of the National Survey of Computing, eLearning, and Information Technology in US Higher Education.  It’s the largest survey of it’s kind in the US.  This is a survey that I’m aware of, but I don’t think I’ve ever actually read (although I might have attended this session last year, I can’t remember).  I figure this is the year that I change that.

Intent of the project has been to provide insight for IT planning and policy.  There are 35 corporate sponsors of this project – none of which have ever seen individual campus stats.  Here are some top-level details about the survey’s data collection:

  • 417 campuses
  • Web-based data collection
  • Survey period:  9/17 – 10/21
  • 75% of participants also participated last year


  • Priorities of focus on instruction, staffing, user support, advancing campus completion agenda, IT security
  • Big diff in CIO assessments of the things we do/provide vs. the things we buy
  • Great faith in adaptive learning & digital curricular resources
  • Transition to cloud


  • Talent retention
  • Digital curricular resources make learning more efficient & effective for students
  • 3rd party cloud services are an important part of campus plan to offer high performance computing services

Top Priorities

  1. Assist faculty integrate tech into instruction
  2. Hiring / retaining qualified IT staff
  3. User support
  4. Upgrading / enhancing network security
  5. Leveraging IT resources for student success

Some High-Level Details

  • Among the range of priorities that we all have, there are lots of service items, and not nearly as many related to the things we buy.
  • CIOs Have Great Faith in the Benefits of Digital Tech for Instruction.
  • Rating the IT Infrastructure:  lowest rankings are services, highest are hardware.
  • CIO Assessments of Digital Resources and Services for Disabled Users:  only 50% have a strategy for ADA/Section 503 compliance.  This is litigation waiting to happen.
  • Mobile technologies over laptops!
  • CIOs rate the effectiveness of campus investments in IT.  Most scores are rather low.
  • Challenge of Effective IT User Support:  we think we’re doing better than our users think we are.
  • Budget cuts are still pervasive and affect us deeply.  Cuts versus gains across investments are interesting (refer to the report).
  • Disaster Plans:  most campuses have plans and even update them regularly.  22% DO NOT have a strategic plan for network and data security (this is an amazing stat to me).
  • Declining Confidence in MOOCs.  Completion rates are atrocious (although enrollment is voluntary).  Infrastructure could be a problem here.
  • We’re experiencing major cost over-runs / unexpected costs in our ERP deployment activities.
  • Two Views of the Cloud:  things may happen faster than we expect, but less than 25% think we’ll have mission critical systems in 5 years.  IT pros affirm the strategic importance of cloud computing.  There’s still significant concern over the security of the cloud.  Migration to the cloud is slow due to perceived risk, trust, control, limited options.  Interestingly, LMS has largely moved to the cloud. No mass movement to the cloud in 5 years.
  • Growing use of video lecture
  • Encouraging Faculty to Use Open Source / OER Content for Courses
  • Institutional demography of LMS providers:  decline in Blackboard, Canvas growing fast.  Market is volatile.  The LMS largely does not affect learning outcomes, but is used as a material delivery service.
  • Mobile apps are huge and an expected service.

Wonderful quote by Casey on his experience:  “In my 25 years of doing this survey, IT appears to be driven by epiphany and opinion, not evidence.”

Vendors: What You Need to Know

  • Partner is Not a Verb
  • Trust is the coin of the realm
  • No “logo buddies”
  • You are not your client
  • Your price is not your client’s cost
  • It’s a neural network

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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