2 Technology Trends from the Jesuit Schools

Jul 31, 2016

I attended the AJCU CITM Conference in May and heard about two unique trends happening in the Jesuit schools.

Web Dev and Maker Movements

One trend we have been seeing at my own institution is users wanting to create Web spaces on their own. Our multi-user WordPress site has over 30 campus blog spaces in use for departments, offices, committees, courses, faculty CVs, student clubs and more. Our Confluence site has users leveraging it for dynamic information, training documentation and strategic planning. This Web space creation trend is also afoot at other Jesuit institutions. Loyola Marymount is an inspiration and a trend setter in partnering with reclaimhosting.com to offer domain and development services through https://lmu.build/. For $8 a user, the institution is able to provide personal Web spaces for everyone on campus, and only for the users who ARE building. Once a user creates a domain name, they get a full cpanel where they are able to build a Web site, a Wiki, a blog and more. Reclaim hosting offers all of their training through Lynda.com, so there is very little institutional support that is needed. Along these same lines, institutions are creating spaces for students and faculty to ‘make things’. Many institutions, such as Xavier, feature 3D maker labs where 3D objects can be printed from filament. Featured on Xavier’s Web site, are replicas of a viking ship and dinosaur bones.

Digital Strategy

Strategic planning is a process that every campus goes through. It usually starts with a committee made up of vice presidents, deans and faculty members. The makeup of the committee determines the issues that really come to the forefront of the planning process. Some issues may not work their way into the plan because there is no representation at the meetings to advocate for these issues. One such issue is technology, and anything having to do with technology for that matter. Yet, technology- in systems, library journals, manpower- is something institutions spend millions of dollars on. Shouldn’t they develop a strategy for it? One such institution is. Creighton University has developed a digital strategy called MARIO (Mission, Academics, Research, Innovation and Operations), a strategy focused on advancing these areas through the use of technology and helping people to use technology in a more robust way. Beyond IT and academic technology, however, this strategy should also address social media use in both personal and professional ways. Most campuses, for example, do not have a policy for faculty members discussing student issues on Facebook. At Creighton, there is even some discussion of creating a distance education strategy since colleges must plan for online education differently than on-campus courses.