With a new semester kicking off at many professional colleges and universities, we’ve
been thinking about the ways these institutions will evolve over the coming year.  There’s no doubt that technology will continue to play a pivotal role in the way career colleges educate learners – helping these schools maintain their leadership in leveraging technology for student success.

Here are the top five ways professional colleges and universities will continue to get the most out of technology in 2013:

MORE hybrid and online-only classes
Did you know that 30% of today’s higher education students take at least one class online? Recent studies show that those numbers are growing, and we believe professional and career colleges continue to lead in the pack when it comes to transitioning classes to the online environment. Of the many benefits to online learning, perhaps the most pertinent to career colleges is that e-learning will allow more non-traditional students to gain access to higher education.

MORE mobile course content
We’ve written before that nearly half of all students already use smartphones for school-related tasks, and with increasing adoption of smartphones and tablet PCs alike, we expect this number to grow in 2013.  Professional colleges and universities are already delivering campus news and information, as well as course content, on mobile devices, and we look forward to seeing how they develop mobile-specific content such as lectures and exam delivery this year.

MORE “flipping the classroom”
With the growing prevalence of online learning and hybrid classes, there is increasing potential for the classroom to be “flipped,” with lectures being delivered online on the students’ own time and homework or group work occurring in class.  There is significant potential for this learning model at schools with non-traditional students, since the flipped classroom can allow these students to more easily balance education and their busy work or family schedules.

MORE disruptive innovation
Something we enjoy discussing here at Blackboard is the way career colleges lead in higher education as agents of disruptive innovation and change.  Of the many ways these institutions will drive innovation in 2013, I believe their ability to use technology to integrate professional skill instruction with academic coursework will rise to the top—especially  as more students seek education on the path to new or improved careers.

MORE student success
The bottom line is that leveraging more technology at professional colleges and universities will only be worthwhile if these innovations help to increase student success. We believe that as more institutions adopt technologies that allow students flexible, on-the-go access to coursework, as well as increased access to academic resources, these students will build the strong foundation needed to succeed in today’s professional world.

What would you add to this list? Are there any new and innovative ways your professional or career college will leverage technology in 2013? Tell us about it in the comments section below!

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