Look around a business, coffee shop or household and chances are you see the complete dominance of the new digital age. Perform the same exercise at many colleges and universities, and you may find that plenty of academic institutions are still trying to play catch-up and not yet embracing the full potential of digital technologies. According to a recent Forbes report, institutions of higher education need to get moving on adapting to the new digital world or risk being replaced by alternative educational options that will.
The Digital Transition and Higher Education - Learning From History
The news source explained that the move toward a digital future is inevitable in higher education, and the evidence is clear in history. In particular, the news sector and the film industry are clear examples of why transitioning to a digital future is an inexorable path in academia.
News: The report said that the early wave of digital media delivery was led by new organizations or secondary players in the market who were willing to experiment. Before long, these leaders began to surpass traditional industry powerhouses who, for various reasons, were extremely slow to embrace the transition to digital content delivery. The period from 1990 and 2012 provided clear evidence of this trend as daily newspaper circulation dropped by 30 percent. At the same time, the Huffington Post, a digital only news provider, was sold for $315 million. In following years, The Boston Globe and The Washington Post were both purchased, but the inflation-adjusted income of those two acquisitions added up to less than the price of the Huffington Post.
Film: The film industry experienced a very different transition. This technological paradigm shift was based around sound and the early move from silent films to talkies. At the time, major studios were slow to embrace movies with the spoken word and they managed to remain successful while the small studios that embraced sound faltered. This stands in stark contrast to what happened in digital news, but also provides the necessary evidence of why change and disruption are inevitable in higher education.
Change Will Happen, Just Look at the Past
According to Forbes, the major players in the film industry managed to remain relevant largely because they controlled everything about the product. Actors, directors, production equipment, distribution and other major parts of consuming content were all tightly controlled by the studios. As such, if the studios didn't want to move on from silent films, they had the power to hold back the change. The news industry, on the hand, did not have that same control. When all it takes is a computer and Internet access to publish news online, anybody can become a journalist, create a Web media business and reach customers.
The report explained that consumer control in the news industry made the switch to digital necessary, and academia is facing the same pressure. Any school can start to use digital tools and still function as an accredited institution after being properly vetted. This means that universities that do not adapt to the current digital climate could quickly fall behind just like major news outlets in the late 1990s-early 2000s.
Service Management Holds Key to Adapting
IT service management principles can give technology teams at colleges and universities the tools they need to streamline the process of adapting to new technologies. Solutions like release and change management make it easier to alter the IT configuration to support new solutions, while incident and problem management enable IT leaders to respond to the issues created by widespread mobile device use among faculty, staff and students. An effective ITSM configuration can enable institutions of higher education to not just survive this transition into digital education, but efficiently establish the technical configuration needed to support innovation in the classroom.