BYOD and Consumerization of IT in Higher Education Research, 2013

We are living in an era when affordable, easy-to-use, and readily accessible technologies facilitate a bring-your-own-everything (BYOE*) standard. With the “consumerization of technology,” students, faculty, and staff bring their own devices, software, apps, and cloud-based technology. These personal computing environments raise concerns about IT infrastructure, planning and governance, security practices, support strategies, teaching and learning, and fiscal implications.

ECAR conducted interviews, focus groups, and a survey to provide insight into the scope of BYOE and the institutional culture surrounding BYO practices. This report identifies and addresses the most important BYOE IT issues affecting higher education and includes recommendations for exemplary practices to manage BYOE IT issues. 

*While BYOD is the current popular term, we use BYOE to emphasize that this topic is not just about devices, or services, or even technology. BYOE illustrates the exploration of the bring-your-own-personal-computing-environment culture and all the devices, services, and technologies—as well as the assumptions and expectations—that come with it.

Key Findings

"For BYOE, the most important aspects of IT infrastructure are middle components…the commodities that bridge users, their devices, and their consumer-level applications to the institution’s data, services, systems, and enterprise-level applications."
─ From "Key Findings: Technology Infrastructure," p. 24

  • Planning doesn’t have to precede action when it comes to BYOE — doing before planning is actually the norm — yet policies are in place where they matter most, like for security or end-user behaviors.
  • Cost savings from BYOE can be elusive, with the cost to update/upgrade IT infrastructure outweighing cost savings for providing fewer institutionally provisioned devices and other technologies.
  • Support strategies will need to adapt to BYOE environments, as there is an apparent lag between BYOE ubiquity and DIY support.
  • Utilizing mobile technologies for teaching and learning is a priority, but providing guidance or institutional support to students and faculty for how best to do so is still uncommon.

This is a partial list. Read all key findings and recommendations in the final report.

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