Jiun Hong is a Citrix intern. She also is an undergraduate student who relies on her university’s technology infrastructure for everything from research papers to university fee tracking. She’s in tune with what students like her need in order to be successful both in the classroom and in remote studies. With that in mind, she’s written a hypothetical letter to educators to help them understand what she and her fellow students expect.
Digital natives. Tech addicts. Screenagers, even. Sure, a lot of us students identify with these labels. The internet, mobile devices and applications are embedded into our lifestyles, so much so that we can get antsy without them. This level of digital dependence is evident in the way that we use phone applications to manage everything from our finances to dental health.
But outside of the way we casually use applications in our personal time, our need for technology in the educational context is not so much a matter of preference or habitual use of modern tools—it is a necessity.
Not like “I need the iPhone 7”, but more like “I need to be able to access my lab software to finish my final research paper.”
We’re no longer the elementary students of 2002 who got excited over monthly visits to the computer lab for what we then thought were some seriously taxing research papers. We are now a generation of students that needs a learning environment that speaks our language — one of technological enablement of mobility, security and accessibility.
Since our mission, as students, is – literally – to learn and interact with the world, here are some of our expectations:
- University portal:
- Some students need separate logins to access information such as graduation progress, outstanding fees, grades, and course registration. 87% of students felt that they would be more satisfied if such information were managed under a single digital system. These statistics bring attention to the need for an all-in-one portal where all those records can be found.
- Fast wi-fi:
- Among UK students, 73% rank high speed wi-fi as the most important feature at school. Fast wi-fi beat campus dining options, suggesting that students would rather eat mediocre food than have mediocre connection. However petty it may sound, young people spend about nine hours per day online, which is more time than the seven hours per day that college students sleep. Provide the fast and secure access to the applications they need in order to enable them to learn efficiently.
- Digital learning spaces:
- The classroom is no longer regarded as the sole place for learning. Students need a digital space for collaborative learning, where discussions take place and resources are shared. You can also benefit by having a centralized repository to upload assignments, make announcements, and facilitate the online discussions.
- Cloud-based digital labs:
- Various departments require students to work with highly advanced software to create digital models or run large amounts of research data. However, personal laptops often aren’t capable of locally running such sophisticated programs, keeping usually-mobile students stuck in campus computer labs. Respond to this limitation by offering a means for students to run these programs on their devices, without the downloading hassle.
- Mobile ready:
- Social media:
- With 91% of students accessing social media every day, it’s no surprise that they get a lot of their information from social media. Especially when it comes to university announcements, students rarely seek out school websites or flyers. There is an expectation that announcements will come to them through social media feeds. Twitter can highlight the school’s most recent achievements. Facebook can alert them of a campus-wide event. Take advantage of the widespread usage of social media and connect with students in this informal but efficient way.
It’s obvious that today’s students capitalize on technology, but less clear that there are these specific expectations surrounding what students think is an appropriately-supportive IT infrastructure. We just ask that you consider solutions that can enable a digital strategy that can practically enable our mobility, security and accessibility.
Thank you for your time,
P.S.: Citrix XenApp, XenDesktop, XenMobile, NetScaler and an innovation-focused faculty can work together to support this kind of necessary digital learning environment. To learn how Citrix solutions can help build a digital revolution for your campus, read “Delivering secure apps and data across devices, networks and campuses”.