EDUCAUSE 2020 Top 10 IT Issues and how curriculum management fits in

Each year, EDUCAUSE publishes its ‘Top 10 IT Issues’, curated by an expert panel of IT and non-IT leaders. While the list for 2020 was released before the COVID-19 pandemic, we still view these issues as highly relevant and offering important context for considering how Curriculum Management can contribute to the sector’s recovery.

We have written previously about what we mean by Curriculum Management. In brief, it encompasses the process from design of the curriculum, through governance and approval to publication and student engagement with the learning opportunities on offer.

EDUCAUSE has grouped the 2020 Top 10 IT Issues under four themes: Simplify; Sustain; Innovate; the Drive to Dx (Digital Transformation).


Figure 1: The 2020 Top 10 IT Issues: Four Themes

Here we take a brief look at how a Curriculum Management platform can contribute to key issues within each theme.

Theme 1: Simplify

Issue #4: Digital Integrations 

Ensuring system interoperability, scalability, and extensibility, as well as data integrity, security, standards, and governance, across multiple applications and platforms.

Issue #9: Administrative Simplification

Applying user-centred design, process improvement, and system reengineering to reduce redundant or unnecessary efforts and improve end-user experiences.

A university’s curriculum information is effectively its product catalogue. An online Curriculum Management platform offers the capability to manage the integrity of the information, which can be versioned, governed and controlled and then made available seamlessly to the other systems which need to make use of it. 

Online document templates, structured workflow and collaboration tools simplify the work of users, and offer the opportunity to implement efficient, robust processes which deliver ‘built-in compliance’. User-centred design of an intuitive interface can help those staff who engage only periodically with curriculum administration, to do what they need to do quickly and easily.

Theme 2: Sustain

Issue #1: Information Security Strategy

Developing a risk-based security strategy that effectively detects, responds to, and prevents security threats and challenges.

Issue #2: Privacy

Safeguarding institutional constituents' privacy rights and maintaining accountability for protecting all types of restricted data.

Issue #3: Sustainable Funding

Developing funding models that can maintain quality and accommodate both new needs and the growing use of IT services in an era of increasing budget constraints.

Issue #8: Higher Education Affordability 

Aligning IT organizations, priorities, and resources with institutional priorities and resources to achieve a sustainable future.

The EDUCAUSE report reminds us that data is a new currency. Having a definitive source of curriculum data, versioned for sustainability and securely managed, offers universities the control they need over their core business, as well as a source of valuable business intelligence. 

Cloud-native SaaS solutions built on modern technology stacks offer world-class Information Security standards as part of the service. Centralising technology is also discussed under this theme: a platform approach can end the significant effort associated with managing multiple point solutions, and offer the opportunity for an enterprise-wide solution which further contributes to efficient IT operations and support. 

When it comes to the third theme, Innovation, Curriculum Management really comes into its own. EDUCAUSE understands that students are at the core with this set of Issues:

Theme 3: Innovation

Issue #6: Student Retention and Completion

Developing the capabilities and systems to incorporate artificial intelligence into student services to provide personalized, timely support.

Issue #7: Improved Enrollment

Using technology, data, and analytics to develop an inclusive and financially sustainable enrollment strategy to serve more and new learners by personalizing recruitment, enrollment, and learning experiences.

At CourseLoop, we firmly believe in Curriculum Management for student success. The right curriculum designs and offerings underpin student recruitment, retention and success. Agile processes support the design and marketing of innovative curriculum offerings which are responsive to market conditions and the evolving needs of employers. 

Highly structured, rich data can be leveraged by AI tools which have the potential to offer improved services as well as surface new insights to users, both staff and students. Supporting students to engage with the curriculum on offer in meaningful and personalised ways can support their recruitment, retention and success and secure their path to lifelong learning and engagement.

Theme 4: Drive to Dx

Issue #10: The Integrative CIO

Repositioning or reinforcing the role of IT leadership as an integral strategic partner of institutional leadership in supporting institutional missions.

In our experience, the most successful projects are those where the university IT leadership is in lockstep with the Academic leadership in recognising the transformative potential of Curriculum Management. 

All universities have their curriculum at the core of their core business. A Curriculum Management platform such as CourseLoop offers the Integrative CIO a way to support the very heart of their institutional mission.

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