Eduventures Releases the 2020 Higher Education Technology Landscape Report, COVID Edition

December 15, 2020

Report Identifies Changes in the Higher Education Technology Landscape Accelerated by the COVID-19 Pandemic That Have Both Strained and Made Technology Investments More Relevant 

Boston, MA – December 15, 2020 – ​ACT | NRCCUA, an educational data science and research organization, announced today the publication of the Eduventures 2020 Higher Education Technology Landscape Report. Eduventures Research, ACT | NRCCUA’s research division, began publishing this annual report in 2014 to make the market more understandable and help higher education leaders evaluate the expanding array of standalone and bundled offerings.

This year’s Landscape Report reflects the challenges of our time: in 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic has both strained our technology systems and made them more relevant than ever before. The pandemic has required nearly all institutions to deliver courses and academic support remotely, and many institutions have struggled to meet this need. Available today, this report is part of an ongoing body of research that includes updated market data and trends and identifies segments poised for growth or under pressure.

2020 Technology Landscape Structure

Segments Added to Support the New Normal

In 2020, COVID-19 substantially increased pressure on schools to ensure they have adequate and adaptive teaching and learning ecosystems. As a result, Eduventures has added five new segments that enable the Landscape Report to reflect the range of products required to support such an ecosystem. These include:

  • Accessibility Solutions: Unlike any time before, institutions face the challenge of ensuring that students with disabilities can access digital content while learning remotely.
  • Faculty Lifecycle Management Solutions: All institutions track student-level data for insight into courses taken or assessments completed. Many, however, do not have similar insight into faculty activities like courses taught or assessments administered. This type of wisdom is critical when considering how a teaching and learning ecosystem should adapt to modality changes and increases in academic advising services.
  • Institutional Effectiveness Solutions: Higher education leaders have been reflecting on how effective their remote learning efforts have been to date and whether students performed as well as they would have in an on-campus setting. As institutions seek to learn from these efforts and explore improving online courses in the future, they will need data and metrics to establish their successes or failures.
  • Student Engagement Solutions: The term “engagement” in higher education rarely has a consistent definition. For some, the word simply means student outreach via text or chat functionality. For our Landscape, we consider engagement to be less about tactical steps and more about the end goal of creating a sense of belonging for students along their journeys, whether they are remote or in-person.
  • Student Mobility Solutions: Students transferring between institutions is not a recent phenomenon. This process requires students to find information about transfer articulation policies and agreements, research how courses and programs map to potential degrees and understand which comparable courses exist at other institutions.
Segments Poised for Success

The 2020 report highlights three segments poised for success in light of the impact of COVID-19 on the teaching and learning framework. These include Advising Solutions, Curriculum Management Solutions, and Identity and Access Management Solutions.

According to James Wiley, Eduventures Principal Technology Analyst, “The move to remote learning has highlighted gaps many institutions face. Even before the pandemic, we saw an increased focus on building teaching and learning ecosystems that were flexible enough to address potential educational delivery changes and support. COVID-19 has dramatically exacerbated this need and given these segments the opportunity for innovation and widespread adoption.”

Wiley added, “The world of higher education technology has changed dramatically over the past several years in terms of the number of new products launched since 2016 and vendors’ decision to pivot their products into the market. But the future impact on the world of education technology will be primarily driven by the learnings institutions gain from their responses to COVID-19.”

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