Business continuity in higher education - Webinar Part 2

Business continuity in higher education

On April 7, over 1,000 members of the Ellucian community met online for “Business Continuity Best Practices to Prepare for Tomorrow,” the second in a series of webinars. Our panelists explored the likely long-term impacts of today’s shift to remote teaching, learning, and administration. Here’s a brief look at the takeaways.

Speakers

  • Laura Ipsen, President and Chief Executive Officer, Ellucian
  • Kimberly Bloomston, Vice President of Product Management, Ellucian
  • Klara Jelinkova, Vice President for International Operations and IT & Chief Information Officer, Rice University
  • Joe Moreau, Vice Chancellor of Technology, Foothill-De Anza Community College District
  • Shaya Phillips, Chief Information Officer, Fordham University
  • Eric Satterly, Chief Information Officer and Vice Provost for IT, Bellarmine University
  • Joe Tolisano, Chief Information Officer, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

For many courses and programs, online learning is here to stay

Panelists agreed that the shift to online learning has been widely successful.

  • “Digital native” students are comfortable with the online learning model.
  • Many faculty members enjoy and excel at online teaching, while others continue to improve.
  • Technology partners have demonstrated their ability to scale.

No longer can remote education be seen as the barrier it once was, with people saying they just couldn't do it or the tools weren't available. I think it's been proven the tools are available in the marketplace today, as are the natural digital tendencies among students.

Shaya Phillips, Chief Information Officer, Fordham University

Student engagement will remain a top priority

While many institutions have excelled at using technology to communicate with their students, challenges remain.

  • Outreach, social media, and online events have helped maintain a sense of community.
  • Thoughtful use of online advising and well-being programs offer value and will continue.
  • Challenges lie ahead in building new online communities for incoming students.
  • Institutions are exploring:
    • How can we blend technology and personal interaction to deepen our connections?
    • How can we better personalize our technology to provide consistency and relevance?
    • How can we support our faculty in their efforts to help students feel connected?

We can't be everything to everybody, but we can certainly be excellent in certain areas. And one of the things I think is important is consistency, predictability. I think that's really important for students and for faculty.

Eric Satterly, Chief Information Officer and Vice Provost for IT, Bellarmine University

Faculty and staff will be expected to demonstrate greater digital savvy

Employees will also be expected to be more adaptable and amenable to independent remote work.

  • The shift away from email and toward chat/workflow-based models will continue.
  • Faculty and staff should consider adopting the same tools students use for work and socialization.

Other than computer labs, we probably would never buy another desktop again for a faculty or staff member. Everybody will have a mobile setup.

Joe Tolisano, Chief Information Officer, Connecticut State Colleges and Universities

What’s next for programs and workforce development

Programs will incorporate new skills that reflect economic needs and accommodate remote working models.

  • Programmatic changes may include more offerings in fields like healthcare, emergency response planning, and logistics.
  • STEM and workforce development curricula may become more digitized and remote-work friendly.

Identifying and addressing student concerns

  • Unemployment, childcare needs, lack of access to technology, and food and housing insecurity will require even greater attention and resources from institutions.
  • Analytics can provide insights into program efficacy, engagement, and student needs, helping institutions chart strategies around the most effective practices and assist at-risk students.

Stronger relationships with technology providers

Institutions are looking for partners, not just vendors

  • Technology partners need to understand how their solutions are used and how the adoption process works in order to tailor them to institutions’ needs.
  • Institutions will expect technology partners to both deliver and enable higher performance in three key areas:
    • How can we blend technology and personal interaction to deepen our connections?
    • How can we better personalize our technology to provide consistency and relevance?
    • How can we support our faculty in their efforts to help students feel connected?
  • Technology partners need to “simplify the equation” with effective and efficient solutions, workflows, and analytics that let institutions focus on critical issues like engagement and pedagogy.

I think all of us are going to be asking, ‘What is commodity and what is unique?’ And so vendor partners who can deliver a platform on which we can innovate and put our differentiation on top are going to be increasingly more important.

Klara Jelinkova, Vice President for International Operations and IT & Chief Information Officer, Rice University
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