The Section 508 Refresh and What It Means for Higher Education — from er.educause.edu by Martin LaGrow

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Higher education should now be on notice: Anyone with an Internet connection can now file a complaint or civil lawsuit, not just students with disabilities. And though Section 508 was previously unclear as to the expectations for accessibility, the updated requirements add specific web standards to adhere to — specifically, the Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG) 2.0 level AA developed by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C).

Although WCAG 2.0 has been around since the early 2000s, it was developed by web content providers as a self-regulating tool to create uniformity for web standards around the globe. It was understood to be best practices but was not enforced by any regulating agency. The Section 508 refresh due in January 2018 changes this, as WCAG 2.0 level AA has been adopted as the standard of expected accessibility. Thus, all organizations subject to Section 508, including colleges and universities, that create and publish digital content — web pages, documents, images, videos, audio — must ensure that they know and understand these standards.

Reacting to the Section 508 Refresh
In a few months, the revised Section 508 standards become enforceable law. As stated, this should not be considered a threat or burden but rather an opportunity for institutions to check their present level of commitment and adherence to accessibility. In order to prepare for the update in standards, a number of proactive steps can easily be taken:

  • Contract a third-party expert partner to review institutional accessibility policies and practices and craft a long-term plan to ensure compliance.
  • Review all public-facing websites and electronic documents to ensure compliance with WCAG 2.0 Level AA standards.
  • Develop and publish a policy to state the level of commitment and adherence to Section 508 and WCAG 2.0 Level AA.
  • Create an accessibility training plan for all individuals responsible for creating and publishing electronic content.
  • Ensure all ICT contracts, ROIs, and purchases include provisions for accessibility.
  • Inform students of their rights related to accessibility, as well as where to address concerns internally. Then support the students with timely resolutions.

As always, remember that the pursuit of accessibility demonstrates a spirit of inclusiveness that benefits everyone. Embracing the challenge to meet the needs of all students is a noble pursuit, but it’s not just an adoption of policy. It’s a creation of awareness, an awareness that fosters a healthy shift in culture. When this is the approach, the motivation to support all students drives every conversation, and the fear of legal repercussions becomes secondary. This should be the goal of every institution of learning.

 

 

 

Udemy for Business Unveils Team Plan, a New Learning Product Designed Specifically for Small & Midsize Businesses — from globenewswire.com
Team Plan enables organizations of any size to invest in their employees’ skills development by providing quick, easy access to top-rated courses without the hassle of contracts

Excerpt:

SAN FRANCISCO, Dec. 07, 2017 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Udemy, the global marketplace for learning and teaching online, today introduced Team Plan, a new corporate learning product from Udemy for Business designed specifically to help teams of 5-20 employees master new skills. With Team Plan, managers are able to easily purchase subscriptions to a curated selection of more than 2,000 top courses from the Udemy marketplace for their team and immediately gain access to learning content without a time-consuming contracting process.

Udemy is unveiling Team Plan at a time when more workers are feeling pressure to keep up with changing job requirements. A recent Udemy survey revealed that nearly 80% of Americans agree there is a skills gap, and more than a third (35%) say it affects them personally. More than a quarter of U.S. employees also believe that employers should take responsibility for reskilling the workforce. Team Plan is an easy-to-use and affordable subscription-based solution that lets internal departments and small businesses offer employees on-demand access to quality learning content that they can use to gain new skills and apply what they learn immediately.

 

 

 

Reaching All Learners by Leveraging Universal Design for Learning in Online Courses — from by Roy Bowery and Leonia Houston

Key Takeaways

  • An instructional design team at the University of Memphis focused on helping faculty create inclusive online classrooms, become aware of the diversity of their students’ learning needs, and adapt their instruction to reach all learners.
  • They did this by helping faculty employ the principles and guidelines of the Universal Design for Learning framework, which consists of three principles: Multiple Means of Engagement, Multiple Means of Representation, and Multiple Means of Action and Expression.
  • After two years, the UDL Implementation Plan, with its emphasis on experimentation, exploration, and inclusive instruction, yielded significant benefits for instructional effectiveness at the University of Memphis.

In an effort to bridge the success gap, our team focused on helping faculty employ the principles and guidelines of the Universal Design for Learning (UDL) framework. According to the National Center on Universal Design for Learning, the UDL framework consists of three principles: Multiple Means of Engagement, Multiple Means of Representation, and Multiple Means of Action and Expression.1 The principles within the framework focus on the what, how, and why of learning. Each of these key principles helped our faculty address learner variability and include guidelines for encouraging their learners to become more motivated, resourceful, and goal-directed. By incorporating the UDL principles and guidelines into their online program courses, faculty created inclusive learning environments and addressed learner variability. With their newfound skills, most could use the strategies within the framework to design and develop online courses with flexible goals, instructional methods, materials, and assessments.

To assist faculty, we created a UDL Implementation Plan designed to teach them how to gradually incorporate UDL principles into their online classrooms, address learner variability, and create inclusive online instruction. We could customize the framework to meet every course, faculty, or instructional need, and they did not have to follow the principles and guidelines within the framework in a specific order. Instead, faculty could identify instructional methods or assignments affecting success in their course(s) and use specific UDL principles or guidelines to solve their pedagogical issues.

 

 

 

Provosts, Pedagogy, and Digital Learning — from er.educause.edu by Kenneth Green, Charles Cook, Laura Niesen de Abruna and Patricia Rogers
Panel members from an EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference session offer insights about the role of provosts and chief academic officers in digital courseware deployment and the challenges of using technology to advance teaching, learning, and student success.

Excerpt:

At the EDUCAUSE 2017 Annual Conference, Kenneth C. (Casey) Green moderated a panel discussion with two of the CAOs involved in the Association of Chief Academic Officers (ACAO) Digital Fellows Program and with the principal investigator on the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation grant that created the year-long program. In this session, the three panel members offered their perspectives on campus IT investments, including what the panelists see as working—and what they see as missing—in instructional technology portfolios today.

 

 

Green: What about protection and support for faculty—especially young faculty? Often and disproportionately, younger faculty handle the heavy lifting for departments because, being younger, they’re supposed to “do the technology stuff.” Yet, when they do it—and I hear this at all types of institutions—they don’t get credit for the work in terms of review and promotion. The technology work doesn’t count, particularly at four-year colleges and research institutions.2 Young faculty are told: “Wait. Get tenured, get through the hurdle, get over the hump, then do it. Because this will not help your career—even if you’re being pressured to be the lead person on a digital learning initiative for your institution.”

 

 

Niesen de Abruna: …Now the CIO has to be a partner with the CAO. Their joint enterprise is to leverage learning in their community and to work together and translate things for one another, acting as partners in terms of trying to benefit from what’s happening in instructional design. It’s very exciting for CIOs and CAOs to have that sort of relationship.

 

 

Also see:

  • Insights from Campus Leaders on Current Challenges and Expectations of IT — from er.educause.edu by Kathryn Gates and Joan Cheverie
    IT’s role across a higher education institution is crucial, yet campus leaders typically understand IT challenges and opportunities based largely on their functional roles. Interviews with campus leaders offer insights into these views, as well as how to understand IT more broadly to better serve an institution’s mission.

 

 

 

Robots in the Classroom: How a Program at Michigan State Is Taking Blended Learning to New Places — from news.elearninginside.com by Henry Kronk; with thanks to my friend and colleague, Mr. Dave Goodrich over at MSU, for his tweet on this.

Excerpt:

Like many higher education institutions, Michigan State University offers a wide array of online programs. But unlike most other online universities, some programs involve robots.

Here’s how it works: online and in-person students gather in the same classroom. Self-balancing robots mounted with computers roll around the room, displaying the face of one remote student. Each remote student streams in and controls one robot, which allows them to literally and figuratively take a seat at the table.

Professor Christine Greenhow, who teaches graduate level courses in MSU’s College of Education, first encountered these robots at an alumni event.

“I thought, ‘Oh I could use this technology in my classroom. I could use this to put visual and movement cues back into the environment,’” Greenhow said.

 

 

From DSC:
In my work to bring remote learners into face-to-face classrooms at Calvin College, I also worked with some of the tools shown/mentioned in that article — such as the Telepresence Robot from Double Robotics and the unit from Swivl.  I also introduced Blackboard Collaborate and Skype as other methods of bringing in remote students (hadn’t yet tried Zoom, but that’s another possibility).

As one looks at the image above, one can’t help but wonder what such a picture will look like 5-10 years from now? Will it picture folks wearing VR-based headsets at their respective locations? Or perhaps some setups will feature the following types of tools within smaller “learning hubs” (which could also include one’s local Starbucks, Apple Store, etc.)?

 

 

 

 

 

High-Tech, High Touch: Digital Learning Report and Workbook, 2017 Edition — from Intentional Futures, with thanks to Maria Andersen on Linkedin for her posting therein which was entitled, “Spectrums to Measure Digital Learning
Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

Our work uncovered five high-tech strategies employed by institutions that have successfully implemented digital learning at scale across a range of modalities. The strategies that underscore the high-tech, high-touch connection are customizing through technology, leveraging adaptive courseware, adopting cost-efficient resources, centralizing course development and making data-driven decisions.

Although many of the institutions we studied are employing more than one of these strategies, in this report we have grouped the institutional use cases according to the strategy that has been most critical to achieving digital learning at scale. As institutional leaders make their way through this document, they should watch for strategies that target challenges similar to those they hope to solve. Reading the corresponding case studies will unpack how institutions employed these strategies effectively.

Digital learning in higher education is becoming more ubiquitous as institutions realize its ability to support student success and empower faculty. Growing diversity in student demographics has brought related changes in student needs, prompting institutions to look to technology to better serve their students. Digital courseware gives institutions the ability to build personalized, accessible and engaging content. It enables educators to provide relevant content and interventions for individual students, improve instructional techniques based on data and distribute knowledge to a wider audience (MIT Office of Digital Learning, 2017).

PARTICIPATION IN DIGITAL LEARNING IS GROWING
Nationally, the number of students engaged in digital learning is growing rapidly. One driver of this growth is rising demand for distance learning, which often relies on digital learning environments. Distance learning programs saw enrollment increases of approximately 4% between 2015 and 2016, with nearly 30% of higher education students taking at least one digital distance learning course (Allen, 2017). Much of this growth is occurring at the undergraduate level (Allen, 2017). The number of students who take distance learning courses exclusively is growing as well. Between 2012 and 2015, both public and private nonprofit institutions saw an increase in students taking only distance courses, although private, for-profit institutions have seen a decrease (Allen, 2017).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How to be an ed tech futurist — from campustechnology.com by Bryan Alexander
While no one can predict the future, these forecasting methods will help you anticipate trends and spur more collaborative thinking.

Excerpts:

Some of the forecasting methods Bryan mentions are:

  • Trend analysis
  • Environmental scanning
  • Scenarios
  • Science fiction

 

 

 

 

From DSC:
I greatly appreciate the work that Bryan does — the topics that he chooses to write about, his analyses, comments, and questions are often thought-provoking. I couldn’t agree more with Bryan’s assertion that forecasting needs to become more realized/practiced within higher education. This is especially true given the exponential rate of change that many societies throughout the globe are now experiencing.

We need to be pulse-checking a variety of landscapes out there, to identify and put significant trends, forces, and emerging technologies on our radars. The strategy of identifying potential scenarios – and then developing responses to those potential scenarios — is very wise.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Online learning in Michigan, as delivered by Michigan Virtual and others, has exploded in recent years.

  • The number of K-12 students taking at least 1 virtually delivered course jumped from just over 36,000 in 2010-11 to ~91,000 in 2015-16 | page 9
  • Total # of virtual courses taken by Michigan K-12 students soared from ~90,000 in 2010-11 to 453,000+ in ’15-16 | page 9
  • In 2011, approximately 650 schools had at least one student take a virtual course. By 2015-16, more than 1,000 Michigan schools had at least one student enroll in an online course. | page 9
  • This growth highlights the success that Michigan Virtual and others have had in promoting online learning across Michigan, yet underscores the work that still needs to be done. Thirty-seven percent of Michigan districts did not have a single student take a virtual class in 2015-16, and only 6% of all K-12 students in the state took a virtual course. The statewide completion rate for all virtual enrollments has dropped from 66% in 2010-11 to 58% in 2015-16. So while online course participation has increased, it is still a small share of the overall market. Further, educational outcomes have declined, leaving opportunity for improvements in quality and online learning program implementation. This, combined with statewide efforts to make Michigan a leading education state, provides new opportunities for Michigan Virtual to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships.

 



This strategic plan began with an extensive research and stakeholder outreach effort. This was designed to enhance our understanding of demographic and economic conditions, education policies and priorities, competitors and technology trends, stakeholder wants and needs, and views and perceptions of Michigan Virtual.

We interviewed or surveyed more than 425 individual stakeholders, including Michigan Virtual teachers, staff, students, and board members; the leadership and membership of leading educational organizations such as the Education Alliance of Michigan, the Virtual School Leadership Alliance, MASA, MAISA, MEMPSA, MASSP; and other leaders in education across Michigan. We also consulted research and data on technology trends, K-12 enrollment projections, state and national economic forecasts, education policies and priorities, and the competitive landscape.

KEY FINDINGS INCLUDE (emphasis DSC):

  • It is expected that the Michigan economy will see modest growth in coming years. This will help state  revenues remain relatively stable, but it is not expected that there will be significant growth in tax revenues available for increased spending on programs including K-12 education.
  • The Michigan Department of Education’s Top 10 in 10 strategic plan was developed with input from a broad group of stakeholders and is expected to remain a guiding document, along with the state’s ESSA plan and the 21st Century Education Commission’s report “The Best Education System for Michigan’s Success,” in coming years. Education priorities at the federal level are not as clear, though we expect an expanded focus on choice and options for parents and their students.
  • Technology infrastructure is built out to extend high-speed Internet access to the majority of schools and citizens in Michigan, though in-home access is still not fully available in some lower income or rural areas.
  • Users of online programs and websites have come to expect instant access and user-friendly designs and interfaces that they can access on any device.
  • There is growing acceptance and use of online courses across Michigan, though there remains a need to identify and demonstrate best practices, communicate benefits, and ensure quality standards are adopted to improve student outcomes.
  • There is growing competition among online course providers, with many focusing on low-cost solutions that are appealing to budget-constrained schools, but that may not adhere to best practices and quality standards that are demonstrated to improve student outcomes.
  • The false perception persists among some that Michigan Virtual is a for-profit organization that competes with traditional schools.
  • Poverty and related issues, including mental health and behavior, were cited by educators from across the state as being the most significant student-related issues facing their schools. (*insert DSC)
  • The need for, and adoption of, online and blended professional development will increase as educators increasingly see the value of integrating digital resources into their traditional classrooms.
  • While educators see the value of integrating digital resources into their traditional classrooms, many do not know how or where to start. Most schools and districts also lack the expertise to develop and implement blended learning programs on their own.

Today’s digital-learning landscape could not have been predicted when Michigan Virtual was founded in 1998, or even when our last strategic plan was developed in 2014. Some areas of digital learning have been frustratingly slow to advance, while others have perhaps grown too quickly at the expense of effectiveness and student outcomes.

This plan was intentionally designed with an unpredictable landscape in mind. The plan printed here is static, but the actions to implement the plan are dynamic. Tactics for each strategy and goal will be evaluated at least annually to stay aligned with ever-evolving challenges and opportunities. However, the goals, when taken together, provide a formula for success regardless of how the landscape evolves. We will provide an awesome experience for internal and external stakeholders alike, build partnerships to scale and grow our success, and operate efficiently and as good stewards of our resources to ensure our financial viability. Doing this, in alignment with our mission to advance K-12 digital learning and teaching through research, practice, and partnerships will bring us to a point where our vision (every person can use digital learning to reach his or her full potential) is a reality.

 



* In teaching, “You can’t do the Bloom stuff until you take care of the Maslow stuff.” [Beck]



 

 

 

Updating Education for the Evolving Job Market: Learning at the Pace of Life and Work — from huffingtonpost.com by Sophie Wade

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A technology-stimulated, connected, and accelerated marketplace is generating different roles and additional skills requirements for us as workers. The traditional model of completing our lifelong education needs before we enter the workforce is now obsolete. On-the-job experience must now be supplemented as business and technological requirements evolve significantly and rapidly. Compelling new multilevel learning options are emerging to cater to the new necessity of updating important knowledge and capabilities at work. Many new offerings are online and modular in order to be accessible and flexible, giving labor force participants greater opportunity to remain relevant and competitive.

Since the beginning of the Industrial Era, evolution typically occurred from generation to generation. New developments were adopted by incoming cohorts, adding to and then replacing well-established workers’ existing practices of which could be phased out gradually. However, the exponential pace that is characteristic of the Fourth Industrial Revolution is requiring modifications to be absorbed and adapted within a generation accompanied by frequent incremental updates and revisions. Innovative learning models and modules that target incoming and existing working populations are being built out to respond to business-related requirements as new fields, disciplines, and roles appear and are established.

I talked to Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT about the situation for new workforce entrants and the future education of workers. He spoke of what he called “MOOC 2.0” as the next phase of evolution of this high-profile MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) platform and the strategic rationale and content of edX’s new MicroMasters program offerings.

 

 

As a member of the International Education Committee, at edX we are extremely aware of the changing nature of work and jobs. It is predicted that 50 percent of current jobs will disappear by 2030.

Anant Agarwal, CEO and Founder of edX, and
Professor of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science at MIT

 

From DSC:
We are moving towards providing up-to-date, relevant “streams of content” (which will in many cases represent unbundled content/courses). Mark my words, that’s the future that we’re heading for — and the future that we’ll need to successfully adapt to the new, exponential pace of change. Organizations offering such streams will be providing a valuable service in terms identifying, presenting, curating the most relevant, up-to-date content.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

WE ARE NOT READY FOR THIS! Per Forrester Research: In US, a net loss of 7% of jobs to automation — *in 2018*!

Forrester predicts that AI-enabled automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs in 2018 — from forbes.com by Gil Press

Excerpt (emphasis DSC):

A new Forrester Research report, Predictions 2018: Automation Alters The Global Workforce, outlines 10 predictions about the impact of AI and automation on jobs, work processes and tasks, business success and failure, and software development, cybersecurity, and regulatory compliance.

We will see a surge in white-collar automation, half a million new digital workers (bots) in the US, and a shift from manual to automated IT and data management. “Companies that master automation will dominate their industries,” Forrester says. Here’s my summary of what Forrester predicts will be the impact of automation in 2018:

Automation will eliminate 9% of US jobs but will create 2% more.
In 2018, 9% of US jobs will be lost to automation, partly offset by a 2% growth in jobs supporting the “automation economy.” Specifically impacted will be back-office and administrative, sales, and call center employees. A wide range of technologies, from robotic process automation and AI to customer self-service and physical robots will impact hiring and staffing strategies as well as create a need for new skills.

 

Your next entry-level compliance staffer will be a robot.

 

From DSC:

Are we ready for a net loss of 7% of jobs in our workforce due to automation — *next year*? Last I checked, it was November 2017, and 2018 will be here before we know it.

 

***Are we ready for this?! ***

 

AS OF TODAY, can we reinvent ourselves fast enough given our current educational systems, offerings, infrastructures, and methods of learning?

 

My answer: No, we can’t. But we need to be able to — and very soon!

 

 

There are all kinds of major issues and ramifications when people lose their jobs — especially this many people and jobs! The ripple effects will be enormous and very negative unless we introduce new ways for how people can learn new things — and quickly!

That’s why I’m big on trying to establish a next generation learning platform, such as the one that I’ve been tracking and proposing out at Learning from the Living [Class] Room. It’s meant to provide societies around the globe with a powerful, next generation learning platform — one that can help people reinvent themselves quickly, cost-effectively, conveniently, & consistently! It involves providing, relevant, up-to-date streams of content that people can subscribe to — and drop at any time. It involves working in conjunction with subject matter experts who work with teams of specialists, backed up by suites of powerful technologies. It involves learning with others, at any time, from any place, at any pace. It involves more choice, more control. It involves blockchain-based technologies to feed cloud-based learner profiles and more.

But likely, bringing such a vision to fruition will require a significant amount of collaboration. In my mind, some of the organizations that should be at the table here include:

  • Some of the largest players in the tech world, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, IBM, Microsoft, and/or Facebook
  • Some of the vendors that already operate within the higher ed space — such as Salesforce.com, Ellucian, and/or Blackboard
  • Some of the most innovative institutions of higher education — including their faculty members, instructional technologists, instructional designers, members of administration, librarians, A/V specialists, and more
  • The U.S. Federal Government — for additional funding and the development of policies to make this vision a reality

 

 

The Living [Class] Room -- by Daniel Christian -- July 2012 -- a second device used in conjunction with a Smart/Connected TV

 

 

Looking for something?

Use the form below to search the site:

Still not finding what you're looking for? Drop a comment on a post or contact us so we can take care of it!

© 2017 | Daniel Christian