Educause convenes its IT issues panel every year for a wide ranging discussion of the most important issues facing education IT professionals at colleges and universities. This year, BYOD tops its list and appears again as a key part of #8:
- Leveraging the wireless and device explosion on campus
- Improving student outcomes through an approach that leverages technology
- Developing an institution-wide cloud strategy to help the institution select the right sourcing and solution strategies*
- Developing a staffing and organizational model to accommodate the changing IT environment and facilitate openness and agility
- Facilitating a better understanding of information security and finding appropriate balance between infrastructure openness and security
- Funding information technology strategically*
- Determining the role of online learning and developing a sustainable strategy for that role
- Supporting the trends toward IT consumerization and bring-your-own device*
- Transforming the institution’s business with information technology*
- Using analytics to support critical institutional outcomes*
*Also one of the 2012 Top-Ten IT Issues
The panel discusses how pervasive BYOD is on campus. Ohio University data suggest that its average entering student brings two Internet-capable wireless devices to campus. Cederville University’s daily usage logs tell a similar story with Internet access coming from any of 9,000 devices on a campus with a combined student and employee population of 4,000.
Recent Educause research, however, suggests that BYOD is accelerating and that the average enrolling student in the fall of 2013 will bring between three and four devices capable of connecting to campus networks.
Butch Juelg, Associate Vice Chancellor for Technology Services for the Lone Star College System in Spring, TX, sums up the mobile device management issues raised by all of these devices: “Students are carrying a cell phone—many with two—a tablet, and a laptop, and they may be also using a campus device at the same time. Not only are we faced with providing bandwidth to handle all these devices but we are challenged by the pure density of devices on campus.”
Among the recommendations to lower IT operating costs made by the panel are better integration of systems and IT automation. Do you think the Educause IT issues panel is right to put BYOD at the top of its list? Is the explosion in the number of wireless devices connecting to your network your most important challenge?