This month in EDUCAUSE: Marketing and IT, AI for solving problems, designing virtual ed tech

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My name is Irina “Irene” Knokh. I’m the EDUCAUSE ambassador for U-M and your advocate for EDUCAUSE. I will provide articles of interest and upcoming trends in each newsletter. 

Collaboration is key: Why IT Needs to Pay More Attention to Marketing Technology

Carrie Shumaker (Chief Information and Strategy Officer, UM-Dearborn), and Rebecca Joffrey (Cornell), write that it’s critical for IT and marketing departments to cooperate.

What happens when marketing tech is deployed? The pandemic highlighted issues on institutional levels: too many different systems, silos, a variety of tools that may be used by each unit; a lack of communication between two critical areas: marketing and IT. With shrinking Midwest and Northeast higher ed enrollments, it’s even more important to collaborate to deliver better service. Alignment with institutional goals begins with departments connecting to each other. It’s critical to share knowledge in creating a better experience in higher education for students, faculty, staff, and alumni. 

The authors raise important questions: should IT be more engaged with marketing tech deployment, and think about business processes differently? What can IT leaders learn from their counterparts in marketing? 

Critical areas to consider: event management, automation of data, email, augmentation, and student engagement.

Think about UM-Dearborn’s approach: improving the student experience by looking at a more seamless integration of all processes, such as enrollment to financial aid to support services. It’s vital for staff in different areas to have accessible streamlined systems for helping students. 

Review Cornell’s IT Enterprise process that began by focusing on customer service, collaboration, communication & marketing, and emergency management. 

IT and marketing are both responsible for alignment with specific institutional goals, such as having students graduate, get good jobs, and attract talented faculty and staff. 

To achieve such outcomes, marketing and IT must collaborate. 

What IT share with Marketing:

  • Deeper understanding of knowledge management
  • Privacy concerns and data governance robust practices 
  • Disaster recovery experience 
  • Look at system gaps

What marketing can help IT:

  • Clearly discuss business needs for the clients 
  • Discuss data analysis 
  • Talk about the compliance issues with mass emails

The challenges:

  • Enterprise resource planning (ERP) tools do not change as frequently as Customer Relationship Management (CRMs).
  • IT is now tasked with supporting a lot more different systems—and many of them require 24/7 vigilance. 
  • What can the units support and when does central IT get involved? 
  • Marketing tech tools are often not scalable – that’s where IT can help.
  • IT will need to adapt to supporting business units in addition to regular IT responsibilities. 
  • Roles must be identified clearly (who writes chatbot scripts, provides training to users, maintains data, sets up templates, and reviews compliance)?

The outcome is a better experience for everyone—and a thriving institution of higher education. 

Avoiding the College Enrollment Cliff With AI

The authors discuss shrinking enrollments (as in the previous article), especially in the Midwest and Northeast. Many smaller colleges are closing or merging. A further challenge is the great number of adult learners with some college credits. They are currently not being assisted or truly encouraged to complete their degrees. The number of non-traditional students (and there are lots of variations on what that means), is growing. 

Traditional high school students also often simply do not consider certain colleges or will only apply to specific ones. With a better understanding of the data relationships and dynamics, that can change.

Using AI to analyze data from different viewpoints will allow institutions to help students and stay current. It’s not “do better.” It’s thinking differently. “While the first phase of digitization was about using technology to do the same thing better, institutions need to do better things to overcome the enrollment cliff. They must take a systematic approach to student recruitment and retention and leverage advanced artificial intelligence (AI) analytics tools.”

Read more about the suggested strategies. Key advice? Don’t wait: start learning and thinking about applying AI tools, what they can do well, and how they can help in keeping higher education growth and experience relevant. 

Tips for designing virtual ed tech for faculty development workshops

Speaking of smoother and less stressful experiences, in Designing virtual ed-tech faculty development workshops that stick: 10 guiding principles, Dr. Tolulope Noah, shares her experience and ten principles of facilitating virtual faculty workshops; with the pandemic and transfer to virtual learning, instructional staff had to fully shift faculty support. 

As someone who’s done such workshops, I strongly suggest keeping these principles in mind when designing learning, whether it’s a 10-15-minute brief, a consultation, or a full workshop. 

Most likely, you’re already incorporating a lot of Dr. Noah’s principles. Which ones are your favorites and most successful?

  1.  Keep It Relevant
  2. Provide a Less-Is-More Roadmap
  3. Set a Positive Tone
  4. Make It Active, Not Passive
  5. Provide Other Hands-On Learning Opportunities
  6. Include Planning Time
  7. Foster a Collaborative Environment
  8. Infuse Pedagogical Techniques Throughout
  9. “Cauliflower” Ed-tech Tools
  10. End Well

In keeping with principle #10, I finally found the EDUCAUSE LinkedIn Group for All Women in IT (includes instructional designers and technologists!). Join, learn, enjoy!  

If you have any questions about the content, tidbits you’d like to share, or anything EDUCAUSE related, email Irina “Irene” Knokh, instructional design and technology consultant, Professional Development and Education for Nursing, or Chris Eagle, EDUCAUSE coordinator for U-M. 

3 thoughts on “This month in EDUCAUSE: Marketing and IT, AI for solving problems, designing virtual ed tech

  1. Bob

    7 and 8 don’t make sense separately, they seem to be one principle “Infuse Pedagogical Techniques Throughout” – or am I mistaken?

    1. D. Stephanie Dascola, ITS Communications

      Good catch! You are correct – and the error has been fixed.

  2. Irina

    Thank you Bob! It’s all fixed! 🙂


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