The next ed tech challenge is enable the creation of new campus revenues. How can campus information technology leaders get in front of strategic efforts to simultaneously raise revenues, lower costs, and increase quality? How does ed tech become a driver of growth?
1. Enable Increased Campus Enrollment: The key to increased enrollment is to maintain (or improve) educational quality. Blended learning is the answer. Increase the output of students through our expensive, fixed costs assets such as classrooms, lab space and dorms. Serve more students by time shifting and place shifting some of the instruction to the online world. Serve more students with the same physical plant by transitioning to blended learning for on-campus programs, and required off-campus / online course semesters. Experiment with mini courses, courses during traditional breaks (such as the December break), and other non-traditional delivery methods that can intensify and accelerate time-to-degree.
2. Enable New Markets: How can we utilize blended and online learning to serve learning markets beyond our traditional experience? What about high school students who are bright enough for college level work, but may not live in our college town? Why do we leave the market for college completion and adult learners to the institutions who are smart enough now to build programs around their specific needs? The retiree market for advanced degrees is set to be enormous as the boomers leave the workforce. I expect to see the average age of the Ph.D. student go up considerably, as boomers get terminal degrees without the constraint of needing to actually get teaching gigs when they are done. Are we building blended and online programs to serve them?
3. Enable Exports: A strong economy will be at least partially dependent on our ability to create goods and services that people outside of our country wish to purchase. Education should be one of those services. The U.S. continues to have the world's best postsecondary institutions. However, our rankings will slip unless we go through the hard work of recruiting non U.S. citizens for to our physical and virtual campuses. We need to gain experience in a global market to learn how to better serve this global market. Exporting higher ed should not only be the purview of a limited number of top-tier institutions. Every college and university should have a global strategy. Do you?
4. Enable New Businesses: Can technology help us think beyond the traditional course and degree program? Does the ability to connect professor-with-student, student-with-student, and learners and educators with resources anywhere a web or cell connection is available change the game? If we unbundle and disaggregate the traditionally bundled university experience, can we then place these assets and services in a new kind of market? We understand the demand for degree and for courses, do we understand the demand for the pieces that make up these whole units?
5. Enable New Partnerships: Technology companies are sitting on literally billions of dollars in cash. The big tech movers and shakers operate on sales and profit margins that make our academic budgets seem puny and insignificant. But what we lack in money we make up for in cultural currency. Can we find ways to engage our corporate neighbors in mutually beneficial and productive partnerships - partnerships that perhaps fund student tuition or faculty salaries? Are we asking enough from our corporate neighbors? Are we figuring out ways to have conversations that ensure that our values of open and free inquiry and investigation are not compromised by partnering with the for-profit world?
This list does not even mention the purposeful goal of nurturing and spinning off start-ups, or providing incubator space for new ed tech vendors. Or having our academic technologists look for and apply for grant funding, from government and foundations.
Have you been involved in efforts that have brought in new revenues?