The place of technology in higher education and student affairs

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This website is here to offer resources to student services and other higher education professionals as they explore the possibilities of utilizing technology in their practice. By technology, I mean the resources that are free or very low cost, and easy enough to use that non-technical people can use them to improve their projects. This includes blogs, microsites, email marketing, instant messaging, wikis, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, other social networks, Picasa, Flickr, and many other tools. The point of this website is not to enumerate the different tools you can use, but to explore how they can improve your practice. It breaks the resources down into several categories: news, peer-reviewed research, reports from other practitioners, and a blog of my experiences and thoughts on the subject.

My research in Higher Education and Student Affairs at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development continually brought me back to the uses of technology in higher education. We had a practical interest in technology as a way of increasing my department’s reach and growing new engagement opportunities without actually expanding the burden on our yearly budget. We discovered ways of using blogs, email marketing tools, and social networking sites to broaden our reach and get important information to students. I am a proponent of other higher education professionals exploring free, easy-to-use technology to see what benefits it can bring to their students. Over the past year, we have worked with colleagues in other departments at NYU to share the work we have done and encourage those departments to create an online presence to be a more effective resource to students.

Access, Social Justice, and the Role of Technology

I see technology as a means of increasing access to higher education, and thus as a social justice tool. According to the U.S. Census Bureau’s Current Population Survey, over 73% of individuals in the U.S. live in a household with computer access. The country’s schools, libraries, and non-profit infrastructure have made computers accessible to many more people who cannot afford either a personal computer or access to the internet.                           Tellingly, people under the age of 18 have a 20% greater chance of living in a home with computer access than people over the age of 65. It is this generation of technologically literate young people who will soon enter our colleges and universities in droves. Even those without a home computer will likely have had experience working on computers in their schools or when visiting the local library. As promising as those numbers are, however, there is a one really alarming statistic: over 90% of adults with a bachelor’s degree or higher have access to a home computer while only about 39% of adults without a high school diploma have one. If access to technology translates into access to information, this is a major social justice issue and one that certainly has a major effect on our democracy.

Additionally, for those people under age 18, technology may be an answer to many of our profession’s questions about adequate college counseling, preparation, testing, and other issues that fall into the no-man’s land between K-12 education and higher education. Web sites geared towards that group and their parents – accessed at home or school, and translatable into hundreds of languages (also via the internet) – can provide that much-needed link to college, even if that information is not available from a career counselor or family member.

Author: Serg Dum

Almost 3 years I am devoted to working as a Chief Content Editor at King Billy Casino

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1 COMMENT

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