EDUCAUSE’s Top 10 IT Issues and the Student Genome Project

Recently, EDUCAUSE released the Top 10 IT Issues (shown in figure below) which when viewed in similar themes, comprise “The Student Genome Project“:

  • Empowered Students: In the drive to improve student outcomes, institutional leaders are increasingly focused on individual students: their life circumstances and their entire academic journey. Leaders are relying on analytics and technology to make progress in retention, persistence, and other student outcomes.

  • Trusted Data: This is the foundational work of the Student Genome Project, where the “sequencing” is taking place. Institutional leaders are collecting, securing, integrating, organizing, standardizing, and safeguarding data and preparing the institution to use data meaningfully and ethically.

  • 21st-Century Business Strategies: Institutional leaders are addressing today’s funding challenges and preparing for tomorrow’s more competitive ecosystem. With technology embedded into teaching and learning, research, and business operations, it must be embedded into the overall institutional strategy and business model as well.


Retrieved from “Top 10 IT Issues, 2019: The Student Genome Project” at

Trusted Data and 21st-Century Business Strategies are key – and technology powers the solutions that are critical to success to achieve the vision and mission of higher education – that is, to zero in on “student success, persistence, and retention”.

By leveraging technology we can begin to “focus on the student as a person rather than a persona”. Ultimately it is about ensuring a high-quality and connected academic experience that makes a positive difference to students.

Empowering Students should be not be new to us as educations. “Student-centered” learning has been part of the vocabulary for most institutions for many years.

We have the ability to help accelerate student success by:

  • Working across the institution to “drive and achieve student success initiatives”.
  • Understanding and advancing the use of technology to “optimize the student experience”.
  • Implementing personalized learning whenever and wherever possible.
  • Creating individualized, predictive analytics that inform our work so that we can  target support for students “at risk” – during the semester, not after. Therefore data much be actionable.
  • Ensuring students are “not a number” rather that they are people with a variety of experiences, concerns, and needs. As reinforced in the EDUCAUSE article, “What helps one student succeed may not help another student succeed.”

“Student success is what higher education is all about.”

Applications such as Starfish Retention Solutions can provide unique opportunities in monitoring students and flagging potential behaviors that my need attention. Once a flag is raised, indicated a potential “at risk” situation, a human can intervene, offering a variety of support resources and services to help ensure that student’s success.

In eLearning at GVSU, we are on mission to “Supporting faculty pursuing innovation in teaching and learning…” and in turn, the technologies we support provide the opportunity for students to be empowered. After all, learning and achievement is a responsibility for institutions, but also a uniquely individual-based experience.

What about you? What are your takeaways from EDUCAUSE’s “Top 10 IT Issues and the Student Genome Project“?

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