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At last year’s conference, Dr. Phil Ice, Vice President of Research & Development at American Public University (WV), said now is the time to start digitizing higher education institutions.
For the first time in his career, Ice said he has seen many universities go under and that he thinks he knows why.
“Students are leaving college without having the right skills,” Ice said. “…[Digitizing] is something we have to start on and if we don’t do it now, we’re going to see a lot more universities going under and see students migrate to universities that do.”
What’s most difficult about the transition, Ice said, was facing resistance from administration and faculty that still think the internet, Microsoft Office and print resources are enough.
Now that many students have two or more mobile devices, he said even the internet browser is falling to the wayside of applications and other, more engaging programs.
Creating and utilizing application technology can have a great effect on students by improving their digital communications skills, professional digital skills and ability to program – skills Ice said will help them beyond their academic careers.
“However, we are starting at the beginning of the chain and not preparing teachers to use these tools. This needs to become an integrated part of the curriculum,” he said.
While developing his own plan at American Public to expand digital tools, eliminate print and create analytics programs to gage its effectiveness, Ice said he was able to get around the issue of resistance.
“The way you get around it is to show the benefits,” he said. “Once faculty sees the benefits rolling in, that we had a handle on every piece of content and that we were meeting our goals and objectives, they loved it.”