New Media and Higher Ed

As a geek, I take for granted the technology that I use on a daily basis. I read RSS feeds through FeedDemon several times during the day. I blog occasionally. I visit Wikipedia several times a week either to look up information or to make sure spammers aren’t screwing articles of interest to me. I also listen to a number of podcasts, such as Desiring God Radio and LostCasts. I use these technologies to stay abreast of the latest news, trends and technology out there that is important to me. Blogs, Podcasts, Wikis: these are all “tools” that would be extremely beneficial for use in Higher Education.

In preparing for my speech I learned a lot about new media technologies and their use in higher education and, frankly, I was surprised by what I learned.

Of the 35 colleges and universities in the University System of Georgia, only three had a publicly available (i.e. on the homepage, news or admissions page) RSS feed – Armstrong Atlantic University, University of West Georgia, and Darton College. Only two of the 35 schools had podcasts – Armstrong Atlantic University and Georgia College and State University.

Why aren’t schools taking advantage of these new technologies? Based on the feedback I received from workshop attendees it comes down to:

  • Cost
  • Server Capabilities/Restricitions
  • Technology Access
  • Knowledge/Implementation Limitations

The good news is – many are in the process of implementing some or all of these tools into public and private portions of their website. This is good news for students, faculty and alumni alike.

By utilizing technology that is out there, and gaining in popularity, they can avoid having to play catch up once the general public “adopts” them.