The highest priority for any higher education leader is to ensure that they have systems that serve the evolving demands of students over the long-term. The student information system, or SIS, is one of the most essential pieces of technology that can support an entire institution’s learning ecosystem in attaining goals in student success, student engagement, and student graduation rates.
Let’s take a deeper look into the three critical elements of an SIS that will support students and staff throughout their higher education journey.
If nothing else, COVID-19 has reinforced the need for higher education institutions to be prepared for a crisis. Higher education leaders were forced to rely heavily on technological systems to ensure that student learning and engagement didn’t stop even after access to the physical campus was limited.
Decision-makers need student information systems that are flexible enough to expand with the mission and vision of the institution, during good and challenging times. At this moment, higher education leaders are expecting an influx of students who are looking to gain skills that will enable their success given the new reality of the world. This realization requires a technological architecture that can handle the high number of students who will be using the system around the clock from all over the globe.
The challenge with most student information systems today is that the architecture is built on outdated technology, leaving higher education leaders to piecemeal solutions that slow down progress. As technology continues to evolve at a rapid pace, institutions should pay attention to SIS architecture and how it can help organizations hit their goals for growth over the next 10 to 20 years.
Higher education leaders are busy figuring out what is best for their students as they move towards the upcoming semester. Many institutions have decided to push for hybrid learning models that offer a mix of in-person and online classes to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff. This calls for ease of access to the classroom and other resources that support the learning environment.
Furthermore, flexible accessibility should be applied across all departments including financial aid, student services, and more. Student information systems should be able to adapt to institutional needs to ensure that students are getting the most out of their learning experiences.
The number of nontraditional students in the higher education system is only expected to grow in the coming years. Employers are looking to hire qualified, career-ready certificate and degree holders who are up to speed on the latest technologies. On the other end, students are seeking learning opportunities that fit into their commitments to family, work, and community.
This special crop of students who represent the majority of higher education learners today may be well-suited for competency-based education (CBE) programs that allow them to earn a credential at their own pace. Offering this type of personalized learning may be essential for institutional leaders who prioritize increasing their student engagement and graduation rates.
Millennial and Generation Z learners are also looking for flexible learning options that include online learning. Many students have found that they are being thrown into remote work situations while balancing their children’s education at home. Offering a solid online learning option may make the difference between a student that persists and a student who drops out.
Today’s learners expect their higher education experience to match the technological reality they already know. Smartphones and other innovations give them convenience at their fingertips for everything from grocery shopping, to entertainment, and transportation. It only makes sense that their learning is made available wherever their laptop and mobile devices may take them.
In short, higher education institutions are seeking solutions that will allow them to remain a competitive force in the learning landscape. A strong student information system can make up the foundational element that will create an ecosystem that serves the long-term goals for students, faculty, and staff.
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