BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) Strategy

Trough of Disillusionment
UMN Assessment
Doing Well
Time Frame
2 to 5 Years
Last Updated on Sep 12, 2014

Several forces have shaped the need for educational institutions to experiment with a bring your own device (BYOD) strategy.  First, there is little choice but acceptance of the ubiquitous, cheap, personal computing and communication devices (laptops, "netbooks", tablets, smartphones, soon-to-be "wearable" devices), that students, staff and faculty possess and use every day for both work/learning as well as personal tasks.  While in the past, institutions provided all computing and communication equipment along with tutelage on use, trends are more toward individuals fashioning their own solutions with some combination of laptop, tablet and smartphone; indeed for students this is normative. Embracing this inevitable trend may lead to cost savings: if such devices are only optionally provided or not provided at all, and more help and hospitality is instead available for a BYOD strategy.


  • Meets academic community expectations
  • Realizes productivity benefits for students, faculty, staff
  • Increases communication and learning access
  • Increases opportunities for self-directed or mobile learning
  • Increases engagement if a personal device facilitates academic work
  • Facilitates use of secure cloud-based services and software
  • Provides with transferrable technical literacies (BYOD is becoming the norm in the post-college workplace)

Planning for BYOD

  • Encourage support staff to explore a diverse range of devices
  • Select services and resources (email, eBooks, web services, LMSes, databases, etc) that adhere to open standards and are available to as wide a range of devices and operating systems as possible
  • Inform and educate students and faculty members about possible security and data privacy issues
  • Form acceptable-use network policies

BYOD at the University of Minnesota
As a trend, fewer students rely on computer labs, but rather on their own laptops, so we might say that BYOD is established and normal, at least for students on campus. According to Jamil Jabr, service director for OIT computer labs, demand and use of public labs hasn’t changed significantly over the last few years, even though most students are BYOD exemplars. Virtually all computer and communication devices may be effectively used on our wireless networks. Most faculty and staff possess their own smartphones, and many have their own tablets, but moving away from University owned and provided computers has not been explored.