Welcome to part four of our blog series on Educause’s top ten IT issues affecting higher education. In this installment, we’ll look at how technology can help institutions become more student-centered.
More and more institutions are moving from the teacher-centered approach that has historically characterized higher education to a more student-focused model. The emphasis is now on the student perspective and on fostering academic success. This shift could be attributable to declining graduation rates among higher-ed students. Reduced government funding for public universities may play a role in this, as it’s made it financially difficult for many students to complete their studies.
The priority for institutions is to retain students, provide them with a great learning experience, and usher them towards graduation. To accomplish this, schools need to streamline the many institutional processes students are subjected to. In short, institutions: “need to be student-ready rather than expecting students to be college-ready.” 1
The Role of Technology in Student-Centered Education
It is impossible to overstate the impact of technology on student success. The digitization of education has had an enormous influence on student experiences and outcomes. Institutions that can effectively leverage technology will be in the best position to retain students.
According to Educause: “If the technologies used to attract, admit, enroll, and retain students are not effective or prove too difficult to access or use, students may select another institution to attend.”2 This means that processes like paying bills and applying for financial aid should be simple and free of hurdles. Technology is instrumental to accomplishing this.
Technology’s role in promoting academic success goes beyond simplifying bureaucratic processes. Truly student-centered institutions aim to equip students with the tools and expertise they’ll need after graduation, not just until graduation. Because technology has permeated every industry, it’s crucial that students become proficient in the software used in their chosen professions.
In this sense, student-focused education benefits more than students. “Institutions that can use technology effectively to optimize the student experience are giving back to the community,” says Educause. “Public institutions can provide good return for their taxpayers, and all higher education institutions will benefit society, by increasing completion and progression rates and reducing the skills gap in both local and national workforces.” 3
Technological Challenges to Student-Centered Education
Although technology is vital to providing student-centered education, it can be difficult for institutions to effectively leverage it to that end.
Technology is only beneficial when students know that it’s available as well as where and how to access it. Many schools struggle with low adoption rates of academic resources. When resources are decentralized, difficult to acquire, or prohibitively high-priced, it becomes more challenging to encourage students to take advantage of them.
The nature of education makes the management of digital resources more complex than in most industries. Each stream of education requires a different selection of tools for teaching and learning. The software used in a statistics class, for example, is different from that used in a design or computer science course. This requires institutions to deal with a large volume of vendors, products, and licensing conditions, which can be a nightmare to manage.
Institutions have to approach these challenges with care and develop a strategy to work through them. As Educause put it: “Starting the work without a thoughtful and inclusive planning stage can lead to costly misses.”4
How Kivuto Can Help Institutions Become More Student-Centered
Kivuto Cloud is a solution that streamlines the management and distribution of academic software, cloud services, eTextbooks, and other digital resources. It was built specifically for the complexities of higher education. For institutions that are trying to become more student-centered, it can help in a couple of major ways.
A Centralized Platform
Low adoption rates of academic resources are often the result of students not knowing what resources are available to them, not knowing where to find them, or not being able to figure out how to acquire them. This is most likely to be a problem when resources are scattered across multiple locations.
Kivuto Cloud centralizes all academic resources on a single, easily accessible online store. Students just have to remember one website and one set of account credentials to get instant access to all of the software, eTextbooks, and other assets they need for their unique course-load. This one-stop shop takes all the guesswork out of obtaining resources for school, which encourages the adoption and use of those resources.
A Simple Checkout Process
Kivuto Cloud doesn’t just make it easier for students to find the resources they’re eligible for. It makes it easy to acquire those resources.
An intuitive interface allows students to order and download software with just a few clicks. Acquiring eTextbooks and subscribing to cloud services is just as easy. When it’s this simple to obtain course resources, students are more likely to do so. And the more likely they are to use the tools available to them, the more likely they are to be proficient with those tools when it comes time to enter the workforce.
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More About Kivuto
For over 20 years, Kivuto has transformed the way schools distribute digital resources. Today, Kivuto streamlines the management and delivery of software, eTextbooks, and more through one central platform, providing students, faculty, and staff with a one-stop shop to access all the tools they need.