TECHNOLOGY & INNOVATION
Non-traditional students are one of higher education’s fastest-growing groups, and with data indicating that most of these students feel unsupported, institutions are stepping up strategies to help at-risk non-traditional students meet their academic goals.
A new Barnes & Noble College report reveals that non-traditional students who do not participate in extra-curricular activities, who spend minimal time on campus, who pay for school independently, and who have a negative experience with a school support system or service are more likely to be at risk of not graduating.
A previous Barnes and Noble College study of nearly 800 non-traditional students as a whole revealed that nearly twice as many non-traditional students are at risk of dropping out when compared to traditional peers.
The report notes that the number of non-traditional students is projected to increase more than twice as fast as traditional students from 2012 to 2022, according to the CLASP Center for Postsecondary and Economic Success. And because non-traditional students are among the fastest-growing student groups, this means schools face retention challenges.
College students raised on technology see it as an essential part of their educational experience. About 71 percent of respondents to a recent EDUCAUSE survey believe that technology increases learning engagement, and 78 percent see technology as crucial to successful course completion.
Drury University CIO and Executive Vice President David Hinson predicted that institutions that don’t keep up technologically will find themselves unappealing to prospective students, Education DIVE reports.
Unfortunately, the 2016 Campus Computing Survey found that college IT department budgets are still struggling nine years after the start of the 2008 recession, with almost one-third decreasing their IT budgets in 2016–2017.
There is a silver lining: Investing limited IT dollars strategically and funding new infrastructure projects creatively can yield big returns — even in an era of shrinking budgets.
Educators can learn a valuable lesson from American wheat farmers’ progress in the past 125 years. A farmer in 1890 would invest approximately 40 hours of effort to produce 100 bushels of wheat. Using the methods and the technology of today, it would take a farmer only three hours of effort to produce the same amount of wheat.
What changed, we might ask?
The difference is farmers have chosen to actively adopt new methods and new technology to achieve their goal of producing wheat. Educators, like farmers, have professional goals. One is to continually increase effectiveness in the classroom.