Overview of Technology Trends In Higher Education for 2021

Mar 2 20:43 2021 NimbleAppGenie Print This Article

Technologies for future universities already exist, and institutions have started to adopt these to improve educational offerings. We expect universities to go completely digital this decade.

Online collaboration

E-learning has already been well established. Learning apps have proved that online collaboration is hugely beneficial for students. As colleges and universities have started reaping technology’s benefits,Guest Posting online collaboration will be the most heated topic during education technology development. Collaboration technology will help students, tutors, and researchers collaborate and work together.


Privacy and security

Getting the education institution’s infrastructure online will come with security risks. The following are some of the crucial risks of integrating new technologies on campus.


The idea of having access to all the institutional information is fascinating, but it also creates the ‘rainy day’ situation. But if institutional information is not effectively protected, there is a risk to students and the institution’s infrastructure. In some technological implementation areas within higher education, the less information there is to protect, the better. Both the government and students expect educational institutions’ IT infrastructure to be secure. Education technology regulations such as FERPA ensure that the data in the system is protected.


There is no line between providing personalized education materials and unnerving a student on behalf of their private information that the university holds. Data mining using AI raises concerns about data theft and unintended results due to biased, invisible, and faulty logic or data.

However, it isn’t impossible to overcome the security challenges with technology implementation in technology trends higher education. You can either hire top-class edTech developers in-house, or you can consult an edTech development company that specializes in higher education.

How Baylor University ensured data privacy and security?

Baylor University started with ensuring that their technology infrastructure is GDPR compliant. Doug Welch, chief privacy officer at the university, explained in an interview that they created a campus-wide privacy strategy by partnering with campus leaders who were already indulged into managing privacy mandates such as the Privacy Act, HIPAA, and Family Educational Rights.

The university now has a privacy committee that brainstorms quarterly. Welch also said that they chose 20 units across the campus and conducted a baseline privacy assessment to measure the risk over a three month period. During the evaluation, they noted down what data the university is collecting, where and how they use this data, whom the information is shared with, who accessed the data, and how the IT infrastructure determines access.

This helped them to figure out which area they should put their focus on most. They tackled HIPAA compliance for starters to ensure that the university has the right healthcare systems, policies, and procedures in place. Then they shifted their focus to data records management to decide what to keep and what to delete.

Welch cited that their idea is to ensure that they only keep the data for as long as they need it and as long as the regulations require. Afterwards, they delete it to prevent hacks and or an inadvertent release.

How will Higher Education IT teams need to evolve?

First, the CIO role in universities will change. They will have to keep a firm eye on future technological requirements. Some questions that they could ask themselves are:

  • Which emerging technology trends in higher education are worth investing in?
  • How will we enable institutional staff to adapt to continuous change?
  • Is it possible to integrate new technologies with existing infrastructure?
  • Would we be required to hire new talent? If so, how will we compete with technology companies for talent acquisition?

In addition to this, CIOs will also need to involve and think strategically about their workforce planning – right from procurement to retention of a diverse, adaptable, and innovative workforce. They will have to decide on the required skills, while keeping future expansions/updates in mind. This will enable them to provide their institution with a welcoming workplace with steady career growth.

Kirk Kelly, associate vice president, and CIO at Portland State University, stated in an interview that she has worked in higher education IT for nearly 32 years. She began as a ‘technical only worker’, but has now shifted to engaging in a lot of HR activities.

IT teams for education institutions were once considered as ‘backroom staff.’ But now, IT functions require a place at the higher-level management table. IT development teams are strategic assets that play a crucial role in institutional strategy development. Without a doubt, this is an opportunity for IT teams. These teams are required to work more closely in collaboration with other departments to focus on the same goal. These collaborative relationships will be dependent on a shared vision and trust throughout organisations and project teams.

Kathy McCabe, director of information services at Heriot-Watt University, says that she has been in higher education IT for more than 28 years, and has seen a considerable change in this duration. She added that specialist areas have become more generic and broad. She believes that IT can now influence the direction of educational institutions positively. Many educational institutions are already collaborating with IT service providers to meet their changing technology needs. 


Technologies for future universities already exist, and institutions have started to adopt these to improve education offerings. We expect universities to go completely digital this decade. However, digital transformation takes years, and now is the right time to kickstart your digital journey by adopting one of the technologies mentioned above as technology trends higher education. These innovations will allow you to gain a competitive advantage, deliver a better student experience, optimize costs, and provide better learning outcomes.

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About Article Author


Jermaine Trotman is the co-founder of Nimble AppGenie, a company renowned for its bespoke mobile app development and web development in e-wallet app development and fintech development.

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