Construct an effective technology-enabled learning environment using a policy blueprint from Lenovo

Creating an effective technology-enabled educational environment requires establishing a new structure at your institution — one that will enable and support the changes needed to improve learning outcomes and increase operational efficiency.

The foundation for this transformation starts with reliable devices and solutions from Lenovo and an effective Policy Blueprint:

1) Funding and Sustainability

Budget technology-enabled learning expenses as fixed costs, not variable ones.

Academic leaders at all types of institutions report the economic downturn has increased demand for technology-enabled courses. For example, two-thirds of U.S. higher education institutions that responded to a Babson Group/Sloan Consortium survey in 2009 reported increased demand for new online courses. But roughly half of these same institutions suffered budget decreases in recent years.

Nonetheless, a majority of campus IT officers wisely do not believe federal stimulus dollars will “sustain” IT resources on their campuses, according to a 2009 survey by the Campus Computing Project. The understanding that short-term funds are not the solution for building a sustainable technology-enabled educational environment is key to effective policy-setting.

2) Security and Privacy

Ensure you have the right security technology in place, and create a strategic plan for managing daily security operations and crises.

Budgeting is top-of-mind on every campus, but it’s still not the No. 1 worry for CIOs and senior campus IT officials. Their biggest priority is network and data security, according to the Campus Computing Project survey. And it’s no wonder: Campuses house a trove of data — from student and faculty financial information to proprietary research related to medicine, biotechnology and national security. About a fifth of institutions surveyed reported theft of computers with sensitive data. The percentage of campuses reporting hacks or attacks on their networks in 2009 was 47.4 percent. Roughly 15 percent of campuses reported major problems with computer viruses and spyware.

Lenovo offers a range of industry-leading security solutions, including the endpoint security, password management, fingerprint identity, encryption and anti-theft technology that can help you create a secure technology-enabled educational program.

3) Code of Conduct and Integrity Standards

Code of conduct rules haven’t changed — students should not plagiarize, steal or cheat — but enforcing these rules on a technology-enabled campus requires new rules and new ways of monitoring student behavior.

Eighty-eight percent of institutions that responded to the 2009 Campus Computing survey have campus policies to address inappropriate or illegal downloading of copyrighted content; many use technology-based deterrents to enforce these policies. Nearly two-thirds of institutions in the survey said they use anti-plagiarism software, up from about 55 percent in 2008. The problem of plagiarism, the survey finds, is that many students simply do not know the rules.

Consider incorporating these Code of Conduct best practices:

Source: Western Cooperative for Educational Technologies

4) Professional Development

One of the biggest challenges faculty members face when integrating PCs into instruction is a lack of training on how to create an effective technology-enabled educational environment.

The 2009 Babson Group/Sloan Consortium survey showed that while a majority of all U.S. higher-education institutions say PC-based instruction is key to their long-term strategy, a fifth of these institutions don’t provide any related training for faculty.

Brought to you by Lenovo, Atomic Learning’s professional development system provides a solution. This vast and affordable online training resource offers a complete “teach the instructors” process then lets faculty introduce students to their technology-enabled classroom.