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Findings from Educause’s 2009 Top Ten IT Issues Survey

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It is a job and a half being in an educational institution’s IT Services these days. Rationing is acute, and technological obsolescence endemic.

The US not-for-profit organisation Educause has published findings from its Top Ten IT Issues Survey of institutional ‘Chief Information Officer” (in the US I believe this is a board level head of information technology). I’ll reproduce the issue on Learning and Teaching with Technology:

“Teaching and Learning with Technology — formerly E-Learning / Distributed Teaching and Learning — ranked #5 this year, moving up from #9 in the 2008 survey. With the increasing availability of technology-based learning tools both internal and external to the institution, the role of the CIO and other IT leaders is expanding to encompass many teaching and learning domains. The trend toward augmenting instruction with technology creates opportunities and substantial challenges for those who must respond to increasingly diverse and fluid instructional environments. CIOs have become crucial to instructional units because they provide leadership in evaluating and supporting the teaching technologies that underlie multiple forms of distributed learning.

A growing proportion of learning takes place outside the traditional boundaries of the classroom, facilitated by applications such as social networks and technologies that support a culture in which everyone creates and shares. In the current economic environment, IT leaders must make decisions about whether or not to accommodate these miscellaneous technologies. Further, they are being asked to provide technological direction for cultural transformations — such as information fluency — that involve library faculty, department faculty, technology specialists, and students as co-creators of knowledge. Finding the proper balance between systemic and ad hoc technologies will be fundamental for IT leaders as they respond to a student generation that prefers less passive and more agile learning. These instructional modalities will foster transformational innovations such as the need for e-portfolios in a reflective, contextual, authentic, and active learning environment.

All of these developments play out in a landscape where IT leaders bear responsibility for systems that support institutional functionality, that protect the privacy and security of faculty members, students, administrators, and staff, that safeguard information and intellectual property, that respond to the data and information needs of the institution, and that provide effective means of communication. This responsibility forces IT leaders to function in a mediated environment — one in which they must manage dwindling resources, increasing demands, and the necessity for a collaborative establishment of effective priorities with administrative and academic constituencies.

Critical questions for Teaching and Learning with Technology include the following:

  • To what extent are IT leaders involved in active communities of practice, sharing ideas that facilitate consensus for information and instructional technology?
  • What mechanisms are used to provide information about the effectiveness and possible reformulation of institutional technology? Are evaluation results shared on an institution-wide basis with opportunities for reflection?
  • How are IT leaders taking an active role in informing key stakeholders about the necessary policy realignments caused by emerging technologies?
  • What mechanisms are in place for faculty development? How are faculty members involved in the process?
  • What system is in place to examine and reevaluate institutional structures for campus technology on a regular basis?”

Written by Mira Vogel

July 31, 2009 at 16:56

Posted in ITS, technologies