From the CIO

Improving the Student Digital Experience with Personalization and Integration - Part III 

(Reprinted in part with permission of

I’d like to see a dashboard for the student that provides not just the daily facts like assignments and due dates, but also personal and comparative progress bars that show how they are similar or different from their peers. We already have the data available to tell a student that 75 percent of the students that had their course load this semester graduated on time. We might be able to tell them the most likely employers for people with their current GPA. With mobile phones and beacons, we know who is studying where, and while it borders on creepy, it provides a way to find the right place to study any time of the day.

In higher education and in government, there is often a different group of administrators for each function. The same state government knows my driver’s license, registered vehicles, LLC information, professional registration, yet I must know either the physical location or the website for each of these so that I can do them separately. My son attends two colleges, so he has registration, financial aid, advising, ID card, payment, learning management systems and all sorts of other services duplicated. This unnecessary duplication drives students crazy.

Shouldn’t all of the available services be available to the student in one location? This does not mean to simply make a portal or a list of links. It means integrating the data so that it can be used together. There are already companies that use near field communication for payment in the cafeteria, and if Hilton can let you open the door with your mobile device, then why not residence halls? Theoretically, I should be able to register for class, transfer my financial aid to the bank, receive my football tickets, and open my door from the same device that I just used to ordered dinner and an Uber.

This is all in the realm of the possible, and states like Illinois are making it a priority. The Illinois’ “smart state” initiative is trying to simplify working with government on behalf of the citizen. Many universities have integrated gateways and new ID card systems that support some of these functions. However, as our students mention on what seems like a daily basis, some is not enough. We need a concerted effort to empower students to use their own data to personalize their higher education experience inside and outside of the classroom.

What are you doing to improve the student digital experience at your campus? I’d love to hear your ideas.

Posted by Michael Hites On 06/22/2017 at 1:02 PM  

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