Students Bring in Consumer Driven Technology

By Peter J Murray Ph.D., CIO & VP, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Peter J Murray Ph.D., CIO & VP, University of Maryland, Baltimore

Role of Big Data in the Education Space
Big data are already playing a major role in higher education. It certainly is helping with research. From a technology standpoint, we need to provide the appropriate resources, i.e., equipment, software and expanded network and internet capacity. We essentially need faster machines and more sophisticated software to accommodate greater amounts of data. These technologies provide the ability to perform analyses and generate results, which leads to new scientific findings and discoveries. That's what big data are helping us do. The point is that there has, in fact, been an exponential growth in data and we are challenged to have appropriate technologies to effectively process and analyze the data.

Technology trends Impacting Education Industry
Cyber threats are growing exponentially at our institutions and we are thwarting them, but these threats are growing in number every single day. Millions of attempts are made each day to get access to our networks through unauthorized means. So, if you are asking about a trend, I would say look at the growth of cyber threats and the ways we have enhanced cyber security. If you look at this trend over the last 15 years or so 15 years ago we didn’t have or need anti-virus or anti-spamming protection. Now we have an extensive sophisticated set of tools to deal with cyber threats and to manage cyber security properly. Cyber security has been affected by a number of things including the power of the Internet, sophisticated tools, the growth of electronic resources and information, and the introduction of the cloud and consumer driven technologies with social mobile capabilities. It’s a dynamic environment and there will be new types of threats next year and the year after that. From a trend and impact standpoint, institutions and organizations throughout the world have been dealing with a growing number of cyber threats and enhancing cyber security.

Technology’s role in keeping pace with the change
We have to keep pace with the change and the real drivers, the individuals who drive this change, are the students. The students bring consumer driven technologies and we have to respond to them with the appropriate solutions to meet their thirst for information. They bring all of these devices but the bottom line is they're looking for access to information via these multiple devices. We have to listen to them, we have to communicate with them and we have to respond to their need for access to information resources. So, I would say the positive disruption that we have in higher education, the innovation that we have in higher education, largely comes from the student population who are so quick to adapt to changing societal technologies. Institutions that respond with secure solutions that support the students are the ones that are more contemporary and are adapting to these transformative changes.