Higher Education Trends & Statistics, Issue 2

Internet Business Solutions Group (IBSG) Newsletter
Cisco Update
IBSG Higher Education Update

Issue 2, September 2008

From the Desk of Dr. Tracey Wilen-Daugenti
IBSG Higher Education Practice Lead

In the United States, 18.4 million students are enrolled in the nation's universities and make up 5.9 percent of the total population.1 At the same time, trends in technology continue to impact campus bandwidth, such as the recently launched search engine (pronounced "cool"), a rival to Google that claims to search for and rank pages based on their content rather than on popularity metrics. Other trends include the new Internet browser, Chrome, from Google and Apple's recently enhanced iPod.

Because of continued trends in technology, a solid network design is crucial to ensure the viability and relevance of higher-education institutions. In the first issue of IBSG Higher Education Trends & Statistics, I shared with you trends in mobility, collaboration, security, and Web 2.0. In this issue, I discuss the latest trends in broadcast, gaming, green, and cloud computing technologies in higher education.


Broadcast is becoming a big trend in higher education. Many broadcasters see an opportunity to align with universities by sharing news content, providing employment opportunities for students, and assessing the needs of this large market segment that spends a significant amount of social time watching TV.

In February 2009, all major broadcasters in the United States will be broadcasting only digital, or high-definition, signals, rendering all non-digital TVs obsolete. The switching off of analog is compelling U.S. households to embrace high-definition (HD) devices. For college students who are living in campus dorms or off-campus housing, HDTV will no longer be a luxury but rather a necessity, as even regular programming will soon be available only in HD. Many owners of HD gaming consoles are college students, who are helping push HDTV into the mainstream.

Students continue to watch TV on college campuses, with viewership of programs such as Grey’s Anatomy and The Office increasing by 50 percent to 60 percent.2
Schools are placing HDTVs in dormitories to lure "millennial" students.3 Student dorm residents total nearly 2 million and account for 11 percent of the 18.4 million college students in the United States.4
Almost four out of five college students own a TV.5
Twenty-five percent of Americans own an HDTV and other devices such as mobile and handheld computers that broadcast media.6
Digital TV is expected to accelerate over the next 5 years. IPTV revenues are forecast to reach US$14 billion by 2012,7 with 12.3 million subscribers worldwide.8
Media and higher-education alliances are becoming prevalent and include Media City U.K. BBC,9 mtvU,10 ABC Digital Bureaus,11 CBS College Sports,12 and Comcast and the Big Ten Network.13

The use of gaming technology14 requires players to manipulate objects using electronic tools and develop an understanding of the game as a complex system. Collaborative game playing also necessitates the development of social skills to help users decide, define, and agree on goals. This makes gaming uniquely suited for teaching and learning, and many professors are finding that gaming is a great way to reinforce concepts taught in class and also improve technical literacy.

Using computer games as learning tools requires a new approach from IT departments. Many of today's video games used in education (such as Second Life) are graphic-intensive, and IT must ensure that campus computers have the processing power, memory, and video cards powerful enough to handle them. Campuses must also provide places where students can create and play games, as well as design new classrooms to ensure proper viewing and classroom interaction.

Sales of Nintendo Brain Age15 grew to $80 million in 2007.16
The recently launched and highly anticipated game Spore is lauded as one of the 25 best SIMS and games for the classroom.17
Sixty-five percent of college students play computer or console games.18
Video gaming will top $57 billion by 2009.19
There are 16 million active subscriptions to massively multiplayer online games (MMOGs) worldwide. World of Warcraft reached 10 million subscriptions in 2008.20
Video games in libraries increase readership.21
Gazillionaire, a business strategy game used extensively by educators in grades 5–12, is ranked in the top 5 of all strategy games.22
About 250 colleges use the game Alice to teach computer programming. To date, Alice has attracted more than 3.5 million page views. With half a million program downloads in 2007, students’ average grades jumped from a C to a B.23
More than 100 higher-education institutions—including Harvard Law School, MIT, and Princeton University—have permanent spaces on Second Life.

Universities are continually seeking ways to conserve energy, provide energy via alternative methods and resources, and recycle discarded technology hardware components known as "e-waste." Green dorms,24 green institutes,25 and green blueprints26 are just a few examples of green programs on college campuses.

Efforts by institutions to become greener are now being encouraged, recognized, and, in some cases, ranked. The Princeton Review implemented a "Green Honor Roll," where it ranks the greenest colleges in the United States every year.27 The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency started the "2008-2009 College & University Green Power Challenge," in which schools compete against others in their athletic bracket to see which ones can purchase the cleanest energy.28

According to the annual College Sustainability Report Card,29 by the Sustainable Endowments Institute, in 2007:
  • 45 percent of colleges made strides in fighting global warming by cutting carbon emissions.
  • 59 percent have high-performance green-building standards for new buildings.
  • 42 percent use hybrid or electric vehicles.
  • 37 percent purchase renewable energy.
  • 30 percent use wind or solar generators to produce some of their own energy.
  • 70 percent buy food from local farms.
  • 64 percent serve fair trade coffee.
Cloud Computing

"Cloud computing" is a key topic in higher education due to rising costs of college campus resources and shrinking budgets among many universities. In cloud computing, tasks are assigned to a combination of connections, software, and services available over a network, allowing users to access supercomputer-level power. Cloud computing can help universities improve their IT infrastructures and lower costs.

Universities are teaming up with corporate partners to develop new techniques to advance cloud computing technology, as well as restructure security practices to protect the information in the "cloud."30 Higher-education institutions are already employing cloud computing on a smaller scale called "grid computing." This technology has been applied to computationally intensive scientific, mathematical, and academic problems through volunteer computing.31

Higher-education projects that use grid computing include:
  • SETI@home, UC Berkeley.32
  • Einstein@home, University of Wisconsin-Madison.33
  • Folding@home, Stanford University.34
  •, University of Oxford.35
  • Rosetta@home, University of Washington.36

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Footnote References

  14. Tracey Wilen Daugenti, .edu: Technology and Learning Environments in Higher Education, Peter Lang Publishing, October 2008.
  18. .edu book