Campus in the Cloud: Trends in Technology

Chris Bates
Dec 1, 2019 · 4 min read

When discussing the top trends and technologies emerging, one of the most influential trends to watch is the growing complexity of security threats while one of the emerging trends to watch is the incorporation of mobile devices in teaching and learning (Brooks, 2019). Research has shown that the growing complexity of security threats is influential in the decision making process of over 61% of colleges or universities (Brooks, 2019).

While the use case of a college campus has its specific nuances, there are numerous similarities between hardening the security of a university and that of establishing a national security plan. In tandem with the growing complexity of security threats, one issue that must be taken into account is combating misinformation and disinformation (Lewis, 2020). Social engineering attacks are being used more frequently and due to that, educating the populace on understanding how to resist manipulation is a growing imperative (Lewis, 2020).

It is often difficult to discuss security, as security entails both humanspace and cyberspace (Lewis, 2020). While the terms “security” and “cybersecurity” are not synonymous or interchangeable, their concerns often overlap with the “security” focusing mostly on the humanspace with some attention paid to cyberspace, and cybersecurity covering focusing on cyberspace with some attention paid to humanspace (Lewis, 2020). As social engineering can take place in both humanspace and in cyberspace, this ability for attacks to come from physical or digital vectors increases the risk dramatically when the population is not made aware of these types of attacks or trained in how to spot them (Lewis, 2020).

This trend is important as simultaneously the technology in classrooms is seeing the proliferation of mobile devices as part of the education process. While there is no standard method of implementation, there have been studies on the effects of mobile devices in the learning process to show that the addition of mobile devices has a net positive effect on the learning process as measured by grade performance (Sung et al., 2016). While there are still studies happening on how to implement mobile devices into the learning process, one benefit has been shown to be the added capacity for professors to intervene if a student is showing signs of misunderstanding (Sung et al., 2016). As the addition of mobile devices makes it easier to have two-way communication, the added channels of communication make it possible for the professor to have more direct and individualized communications while also being able to give individualized help that is also facilitated by the mobile device (Sung et al., 2016).

A force that may influence the proliferation of mobile devices within the classroom setting is also the trend that was discussed, in that an increasing variance in security threats may reduce the reliability of mobile devices in the information chain. As mobile devices can easily be infected or compromised, adding this type of device into an information chain makes it much more likely that an external nefarious actor could breach the system to corrupt data or execute some type of malicious attack (Lewis, 2020). This is where the added benefits of improved communication must be balanced with the increased risk to both the professor and student in this use case.

Another force that will influence both the proliferation of mobile devices within classrooms and also simultaneously influence the type of security threat will be the knowledge bases of the criminals and the lawful citizens (Lewis, 2020). It is a fortunate side-effect of criminality that most criminal offenders tend to be less intelligent than lawful citizens (Lewis, 2020). It is in this tendency of criminal stupidity that the preparation for securing humanspace and cyberspace does not necessitate overestimating the intelligence of criminal offenders that happen to be working in computer code instead of a high-crime neighborhood (Lewis, 2020). This does not mean to underestimate criminal intelligence and conversely suggests that pro-actively informing the law-abiding population about threats becomes one of the best lines of defense and preparedness (Lewis, 2020).

References:

Brooks, D. C. (2019, March 14). Trend Watch, 2019. Retrieved from https://www.educause.edu/ecar/research-publications/higher-education-trend-watch-and-top-10-strategic-technologies/2019/trend-watch.

Lewis, T. G. (2020). Critical infrastructure protection in homeland security: defending a networked nation. John Wiley & Sons.

Sung, Y. T., Chang, K. E., & Liu, T. C. (2016). The effects of integrating mobile devices with teaching and learning on students’ learning performance: A meta-analysis and research synthesis. Computers & Education, 94, 252–275.

Originally published at https://steemit.com on December 1, 2019.

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