The Impact of Academic Technologies on Successful Pandemic Operations

The Impact of

Academic Technologies

on Successful Pandemic Operations

While the pandemic caused unprecedented disruption to in-person learning, it also granted faculty the chance to adopt new technologies and experiment with their curriculum. This has left many higher education leaders wondering about how they can better use academic technology to support faculty and students.

To help answer these questions, EAB conducted a survey of academic and IT leaders in December 2020 to assess the perceived impact of existing and new academic technologies on academic continuity, identify trends in tech purchasing, and gauge satisfaction with different vendor products. Survey participants were asked about their technology use across five academic imperatives: deliver remote instruction, delivery hybrid instruction, design curricula, support faculty work, and support students.

Thank you to the 72 senior leader who gave their views.

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Survey-Participant-Graphic

What changed in academic tech in response to the pandemic?

  • Purchased new academic tech
    0%
  • Upgraded academic tech
    0%
  • Upscaled access to academic tech
    0%

Which category of technology investment has proven most important?

Delivery of instruction was the most important category of tech investment by far, followed by faculty support. Public institutions
highlighted the impact of device and wifi access investments far more frequently than private institutions.

8%

3.2%

11.1%

20.6%

20.6%

1.6%

Device and internet access investments had greater perceived impact for public institutions

PUBLICS

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Blue-Knock-out-School-building
%
selected Device and WiFi access as the most important category of technology investment

PRIVATES

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Teal-Knock-out-school-building (2)
%
selected Device and WiFi access as the most important category of technology investment

Given the smaller scale of their new tech investments, larger, public institutions may have been better equipped technology-wise to handle the switch to remote/hybrid instruction, than smaller, private institutions who made more new technology investments.

In every area of investment besides designing curricula, public institutions were less likely to invest in new academic technology and instead rely on existing technology.

PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS

PRIVATE INSTITUTIONS

Invested in new academic technologies

  • 0%

  • 0%

Invested in remote instruction tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Invested in lecture capture tools for remote and hybrid instruction

  • 0%

  • 0%

Invested in curricula design tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Invested in laptops for faculty

  • 0%

  • 0%

Invested in student support tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Five academic imperatives

Deliver remote
instruction

Web-conferencing and LMS tools were most impactful to delivering remote instruction and received higher satisfaction rates. Despite concerns about student privacy, invasiveness, and equity, larger institutions were more likely to employ remote proctoring tools. Zoom and Blackboard were the leading video conferencing and LMS vendors employed by institutions, respectively.

  • Invested in remote proctoring
    0%

PUBLICS

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Blue-Knock-out-School-building
%
of institutions sized 10k to 20k
invested in remote proctoring

PRIVATES

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Teal-Knock-out-school-building (2)
%
of institutions sized 5k to 10k invested in remote proctoring
Illustration-ITF-Quote-mark (2)

We are looking to ban the use of online proctoring on our campus. We had Proctorio prior to COVID-19. The pandemic brought more attention to academic integrity issues but also uncovered equity issues in using proctoring.

Responses to "what tech investments were made" and "what existing tech in use."

NEW TECH INVESTMENTS

EXISTING ACADEMIC TECH IN USE

Video conferencing tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Lecture capture software

  • 0%

  • 0%

Remote proctoring tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Learning management systems

  • 0%

  • 0%

Course management systems

  • 0%

  • 0%

Video production and editing tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Online course messaging boards

  • 0%

  • 0%

Student text messaging tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Live captioning and transcription services

  • 0%

  • 0%

Other -  Write in

  • 0%

  • 0%

None

  • 0%

Vendors or productions satisfaction

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Deliver-Remote-Scatter-Graph

Deliver hybrid
instruction

Classroom webcam investments and existing LMS systems were essential to enabling hybrid instruction during the pandemic.

  • Invested in classroom webcams
    0%

PUBLICS

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Blue-Knock-out-School-building
%
employed existing webcams

PRIVATES

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Teal-Knock-out-school-building (2)
%
employed existing webcams

Responses to "what tech investments were made" and "what existing tech in use."

NEW TECH INVESTMENTS

EXISTING ACADEMIC TECH IN USE

Room and space scheduling software

  • 0%

  • 0%

Classroom webcams for video streaming

  • 0%

  • 0%

Video production and editing tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Learning management systems

  • 0%

  • 0%

Course management systems

  • 0%

  • 0%

Online course messaging platforms

  • 0%

  • 0%

Online course messaging boards

  • 0%

  • 0%

Other -  Write in

  • 0%

  • 0%

None

  • 0%

  • 0%

Vendors or productions satisfaction

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Deliver-Hybrid-Scatter-Graph

Design
curricula

Rather than make net new investments, universities and colleges leveraged existing in-house resources to design curricula for remote/hybrid instruction; 16% of respondents indicated they deployed in-house instructional designers and faculty training to help adapt curricula for remote and hybrid delivery.

  • Made no tech investments
    0%
  • Did not employ existing tools
    0%

Responses to "what tech investments were made" and "what existing tech in use."

NEW TECH INVESTMENTS

EXISTING ACADEMIC TECH IN USE

Remote proctoring tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Learning analytics capabilities

  • 0%

  • 0%

Extended reality (i.e., VR, AR, MR) learning environments, simulations, or activities

  • 0%

  • 0%

Live captioning and transcription services

  • 0%

  • 0%

Other -  Write in

  • 0%

  • 0%

None

  • 0%

  • 0%

Vendors or productions satisfaction

Illustration-ITF-IG-Academic-Tech-Design-Curricula-Scatter-Graph

Support
faculty work

Additional investments in hardware (e.g., laptops, portable devices, Wi-Fi hotspots) was integral to supporting remote faculty work.

  • Employed existing content management and file sharing services
    0%
%
of institutions sized <10k employed existing content management services
%
of institutions sized >10k employed existing content management services

Responses to "what tech investments were made" and "what existing tech in use."

NEW TECH INVESTMENTS

EXISTING ACADEMIC TECH IN USE

Video conferencing tools (e.g., Zoom, Webex)

  • 0%

  • 0%

Communication platforms (e.g., Slack)

  • 0%

  • 0%

Customer relationship management (CRM) software (e.g., Salesforce, HubSpot)

  • 0%

  • 0%

Content management and file sharing services (e.g., Box, OneDrive)

  • 0%

  • 0%

Laptop or other portable devices

  • 0%

  • 0%

WiFi hotspots

  • 0%

  • 0%

Computer monitors or docks

  • 0%

  • 0%

Other -  Write in

  • 0%

  • 0%

None

  • 0%

  • 0%

Vendors or productions satisfaction

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Support-Faculty-Scatter-Graph

Support
students

Institutions prioritized technology to support student mental health and community-building in times of crises; while 31.25% of private institutions made new investments in remote mental health self-evaluation tools, 22.6% of public institutions indicated that they utilized their existing self-evaluation tools.

  • 0%

of public institutions employed existing remote mental health self-evaluation tools

Responses to "what tech investments were made" and "what existing tech in use."

NEW TECH INVESTMENTS

EXISTING ACADEMIC TECH IN USE

Student success management systems (e.g., academic planning/career readiness)

  • 0%

  • 0%

Virtual AI assistants

  • 0%

  • 0%

Student text messaging platforms

  • 0%

  • 0%

Remote mental health self-evaluation tools

  • 0%

  • 0%

Virtual or app-based social communities

  • 0%

  • 0%

Other -  Write in

  • 0%

  • 0%

None

  • 0%

  • 0%

Vendors or product satisfaction

Illustration-ITF-Academic-Tech-IG-Student-Support-Scatter-Graph

Ready to learn more?

Discover the top 10 up-at-night issues for Teaching and Learning technologists plus get hands-on implementation toolkits to improve faculty engagement during technology selection processes.

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