Educational Technology Research in Higher Education: New Considerations and Evolving Goals


There are too many technologies and they change too quickly for every educational tool to be researched, but there's an opportunity, ironically, thanks to the growth of technology, for institutions and researchers to keep track of and analyze the data created by many educational technologies to help track student success. The various data collected through an LMS or the many digital tools students interact with inside and outside the classroom can be used to track learning outcomes and student success in different ways while also putting more information into the hands of instructors to help them intervene and cater to the different needs and preferences of their students.

Although technology has undoubtedly helped bridge the educational gap for many, it is important to acknowledge that not everyone has equal access to these resources. Significant disparities persist in internet connectivity and in access to devices, and these disparities prevent many individuals from fully benefiting from online learning. Technology isn't the only factor enriching or diminishing the experiences of students with disabilities or impairments, but it is one factor that is within the power of the institution to directly assess, influence, and evolve to the benefit of those students. Institutions should first evaluate the availability of assistive technologies and supports and, if available, their reach and effectiveness in supporting the students who need them. As we move forward, addressing these inequities is essential to ensuring that the full range of learning is available to everyone. By doing so, we can create an inclusive educational environment where every individual has an equal opportunity to learn and thrive.

The immense generative computing power of some of the newer AI technologies can be concerning, especially with regard to the opacity of how and where they get their information. But its ability to process, analyze, and create large volumes of data makes it a tool that should be studied and experimented with, especially by users within the sphere of higher education who are more likely to approach the topic with a mind toward using the tool to benefit and improve student and faculty experiences. Various types of generative AI will likely become commonly used in education and in the workforce, so incorporating it into coursework and lesson planning will be an important step for institutions to take. Careful research, regulation, and reporting of how it's used will help ensure that the higher education community keeps the focus on using this power for good rather than any potential evils.

Overall, technology is only becoming more integral to the various aspects of higher education. Faculty and administrators are working hard to experiment and find the best ways to help students succeed at their institution and prepare them for the workforce of tomorrow. Many of them are utilizing new technologies as we speak in incredibly interesting ways. EDUCAUSE has collaborated with HP to find and tell some of the stories about people who are leading the way. Read on to learn more about these exemplar institutions and faculty.