A Snapshot of IT Trends

Educause releases its annual survey, with notable gains for course management systems and open source software.
October 10, 2008

Many of the trends seen in campus information technology over the past few years, such as an increasing focus on security risks and a greater likelihood to support legal music and movie downloading services, continued apace in the past fiscal year.

While there were few surprises in the data from this year's Educause survey, it confirmed the mainstream acceptance of two familiar features of the modern information technology environment: course management systems and open source software.

The survey was compiled by Educause, which represents information technology in higher education. It collected responses from 1,016 campuses, representing all types of institutions.

A summary of the findings are available online in this report covering fiscal year 2007. The data are available in complete, searchable form to institutions that fully complete the survey. Some of the significant findings:

  • Use of open source software -- in any form, whether one product or many, and whether or not it was modified out of the box -- increased to almost 51 percent of responding institutions, from 47 percent the previous year and 32 percent in 2005.
  • Over 35 percent of the institutions surveyed reported that they use course management systems such as Blackboard, WebCT or open source solutions like Moodle or Sakai for all or almost all of their courses, up from 29 percent the previous year. Only half a percent said they didn't or didn't plan to use such a system at all.
  • Among various technologies deployed on campus networks, several saw marked increases last year, including software that blocks spyware, personal firewalls and voice over IP (VoIP), among others.
  • Sixty-eight percent said they had performed a formal campus IT risk assessment, up from 63 percent last year. Forty-nine percent have deployed emergency notification systems (such as text message alerts) and 47 percent are exploring their options.
  • With 15 percent of responding campuses already offering legal downloading services, another 17 percent are considering the option, an increase for the second consecutive year.
  • While slightly more IT administrators this past fiscal year sat on the president's cabinet, the number of such top administrators reporting directly to the president remains most marked for community colleges, with 37 percent as compared to 31 percent for all colleges.

Percentage of Top IT Administrators Who Sit on President's Cabinet

  All Ph.D. Granting Master's Bachelor's Associate's
Yes 49.2% 56.7% 45.9% 46.7% 56.9%
No 50.8% 43.3% 54.1% 53.3% 43.1%

Source: EDUCAUSE Core Data Service Fiscal Year 2007 Summary Report

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