Cloud Is Impacting The Way Information Is Accessed, Stored And Implemented

Keith A Cronk, CIO and VP of IS & Technology, Harding University
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Keith A Cronk, CIO and VP of IS & Technology, Harding University

Infrastructure investment to counter the onslaught of digital content and mobile devices
Bandwidth! This would be the highest priority for infrastructure investment. The bandwidth around the campus network is usually broad enough. It is the bandwidth provided by the internet service providers that is the issue. For those who are not on Internet 2 connections this is crucial. In reality there is plenty of bandwidth to support the educational activities, but there is not enough to support the overall campus community. Students use bandwidth for more activities than classes, research and access to campus services. It is used for social interaction, entertainment and connection. The growth in bandwidth usage is not linear and the strategy of the internet service providers is going to have to speed up the implementation of higher capacity connections. With the increase of online education, and the richer media content of the online courses is going to need greater bandwidth at the campus and the student location.

Role of Big Data in the Education Space
Big data on campuses will be used in similar ways to other spaces. It will obviously have different applications. For private institutions competing for students, especially non-traditional students and global online students, big data and the associated analytics can provide significant value for recruiting and retention of students. It will provide better information for management of facilities, fund raising, infrastructure, accreditation and reporting.

Technologies and initiatives that helped the university excel or keep pace with the change
Technology has been the strongest driver of this change. In reality it is hard to keep pace with all the changes. Institutions tend to target particular changes that will enhance their mission. Some will want to enhance research capabilities while others will want focus on online delivery technologies. To pick one thing, 'the cloud' is having a large impact on the way things are being implemented, stored and accessed. It is dizzying to prioritize what to move to the cloud. Some early decisions were not as hard, such as email services. But now higher education institutions are moving to store a lot of sensitive data and processing in cloud services. It is hard to plan the implementation and management of these services. It can certainly relieve a lot of the infrastructure stress and tension on the campus. It can also introduce more stress and tension about relying on these services being around in the future and the more heavy reliance on connectivity.

Technological trends impacting the education sector
As noted earlier, cloud storage and services are having a significant impact on higher education. It has its own issues, which may not have been fully dealt with yet, but it seems unstoppable now. I think this is a good thing?

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