Can Higher Education Technology Inspire Innovation?

June 18, 2019 • Devin Partida


The standard methods of teaching are beginning to shift with the integration of new systems and software. Online courses, interactive digital classrooms and similar solutions have changed the face of education in the United States. Many of these higher education technology changes are positive — but not all of them.

In looking at higher education technology, it’s critical to acknowledge both the positive and negative aspects of the transition. Yes, these innovations have improved the learning process in amazing ways, but this progress has come at a cost. Replacing something often requires a sacrifice.

With that in mind, how has technology harmed students and teachers, and how has it helped them? We’ll explore both sides of the issue, offering a comprehensive overview of the risks and benefits of today’s solutions. Starting with the advantages will provide some necessary context.

The Advantages of Higher Education Technology

Education technology has significant value, especially for students with scheduling restraints. The convenience and accessibility of online courses make them a valuable asset. Even with a full-time job or a growing family, you’ll enjoy the freedom to pursue a degree without neglecting your responsibilities.

Furthermore, digital submissions can alleviate student stress and teacher workloads. A student has the flexibility to upload documents from their laptop, while a teacher can effectively organize the files for easy examination. You no longer have to feel anxious over lost or damaged papers, just the file itself.

Modern innovations have facilitated the learning process in other ways, from changes which are relatively mundane to more exciting advancements. Intelligent whiteboards, portable projectors, wireless 3D printers and even virtual reality headsets are all examples of education technology with value in the classroom.

Looking toward the future, recent trends in technology suggest a greater adoption of predictive analytics. It has the potential to help students as they schedule their courses, estimating the demand for certain classes. These systems can also alert teachers to any students at risk of failing or dropping out.

The Disadvantages of Higher Education Technology

It’s clear that education technology has a positive impact, but what about its negative aspects? Online courses, digital submissions and intelligent whiteboards are all appealing, but these systems are far from perfect. As an example, students may have more opportunities to cheat when enrolled in an online program.

Without supervision, students could receive assistance on an exam from various sources. Some universities have invested in solutions for remote proctoring — enabling a professor to view students as they complete a test — but other institutions have yet to address the vulnerability. It may cause problems in the future.

An overdependence on digital technology might result in other issues. Many students have difficulty navigating their university’s online portal, and they may run into complications with outdated or missing information. Complaints about the course scheduling process are relatively common on college campuses.

Education professionals will need to consider these obstacles as they implement the latest technologies. With the widespread adoption of these systems outside a college setting, teachers have to acclimate to the changes. This, in itself, may present a challenge to those who aren’t as familiar with modern tech.

Moving Forward

Students and teachers have access to a wide variety of modern systems that streamline the learning process. The equipment and software in the sections above are only a partial view of a much bigger picture. With each passing year, new innovations enter the market, improving and expanding on outdated methods.

However, these solutions may complicate things, even as they help. Education professionals should prepare for some of the vulnerabilities inherent in digital systems, whether they research remote proctoring or refine the quality of their websites. Only then will they enjoy the full benefits of higher education technology while mitigating risk.