Part I: How do I measure accessibility maturity and compliance? — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

When you ask adults to recall their most memorable and enjoyable learning experiences it nearly always comes back to relationships – a fun teacher, an inspiring lecturer, a lively community. Such human interactions neatly illustrate the difference between maturity and compliance.

A “mature relationship” sounds a lot more attractive than a “compliant” one. Yet many institutions are offering compliance to disabled learners rather than mature relationships.

The lenses we use are:

  1. Main driver – Where is energy being expended and what is measured as success?
  2. Responsibility – Who are the actors. Do they have sufficient authority?
  3. Model of disability – Is the perception “users with issues” or “systems and content with barriers”?
  4. Focus of effort – Is accessibility a “task and finish” project or a long-term quality improvement?
  5. Skills and expertise – What is the focus of training? Who gets it? Is it considered important?
  6. Digital accessibility in policies – Digital accessibility is a vital equality issue. Is it visible in policies?
  7. Culture – Is the focus on minimising risk? Or maximising user experience? Does accessibility straitjacket online learning? Or encourage innovation and experimentation?
  8. User’s digital experience – How consistent is the user experience? How well designed?

Part II: Accessibility maturity in education — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

In this article we explore the “Drivers” lens. What is driving your change? The need to be compliant and tick off the boxes? Or a desire to be digitally inclusive, ensuring every student can be as confident, independent and productive as possible?

Part III: Broaden accessibility responsibility beyond learning teams — from abilitynet.org.uk by Alistair McNaught

Excerpt:

At the upper levels of maturity, the confidence and competence of a wide body of staff will mean the organisation moves beyond micromanagement of accessibility. Accessibility may be mandatory but a wide range of templates will be available. Even better, many staff will have enough understanding to create their own accessible content and courses without needing a template. At this level, the following lines of evidence will be available:

  • A senior sponsor will be responsible for digital accessibility across the organisation.
  • Any cross-organisation steering group will be hosted by senior staff, meeting regularly and evidencing positive outcomes.
  • Digital accessibility will be a standing item in self-assessment reviews or quality assurance processes, and appropriate training will be in place to make this meaningful (see the later lens in the final blog coming soon in the series, on skills and expertise!).
  • Students will be actively involved in accessibility developments.

Part IV: Coming soon.


Learn about the Accessibility Maturity Model for Higher and Further Education that AbilityNet and McNaught Consultancy have developed based on Alistair McNaught’s existing model. See here and here.

Some example snapshots:

A virtuous circle of digital accessibility -- positively impacts teaching and learningLenses for self-reflection -- 1 Lenses for self-reflection - 2 Lenses for self reflection - 3

 
 

Faculty and Staff Often Don’t Trust One Another. How Do We Fix That? — from chronicle.com by Jenae Cohn
Three ways to bridge divisions as academe prepares for the post-pandemic era.

Excerpts:

One of the few welcome outcomes of Covid-19, and higher education’s rapid move to remote instruction, is that many faculty members are more aware than ever of who the staff members are and what we do.

As Lee Skallerup Bessette wrote in October, staff members — anyone working on a college campus who is not a professor or an administrator — have been on the front lines during the pandemic: “We are the face that faculty members see when they have questions, concerns, or struggles with the technology they have been asked to use. We are the face that students see when they have questions, concerns, or struggles related to distance learning or on-campus policies and procedures.”

Yet however much academics and administrators have been turning to us for help now, they still rarely involve and entrust staff members with campus decision-making around teaching, curriculum development, and research.

It behooves every college and university to consider what authentic collaboration between the staff and the faculty might look like. How? Here are three concrete steps in that direction.
.
Step 1: Offer incentives for faculty-staff partnerships.
Step 2: Rethink hierarchical traditions.
Step 3: Create shared experiences. 

From DSC:
Although I was an Adjunct Professor for over 5 years and have worked alongside faculty members for 20 years, the majority of my work and efforts have mainly been on the staff side of the house. So I appreciate The Chronicle hosting this article and I thank Jenae for writing it. It’s an important topic.

If traditional institutions of higher education are going to survive, there needs to be much broader governance, a much greater use of teams to create and deliver learning experiences, and a much stronger culture of innovating and experimenting with new ideas. At the end of the day, I think that the following two things will be the deciding factors on whether a particular institution survives, merges, shrinks, or closes its doors altogether:

  • The culture of a particular institution
  • Whether that institution has visionary leadership or not (and not just being data-driven…which comes up short again and again)

Also see:

 

eBook Release: The Needs Analysis Playbook—How To Make L&D A Trusted Partner In Your Organization — from elearningindustry.com by Christopher Pappas
You need buy-in to achieve success and enhance your business infrastructure. This needs analysis guide highlights the importance of gathering stakeholder and learner audience feedback, as well as red flags to look for throughout the process.

Excerpt:

The conundrum that many organizations face is whether to invest in needs analysis or skip right to development. After all, identifying gaps and realigning objectives takes time, organization, and planning. The truth is that it creates a solid framework for your L&D initiatives moving forward so that you target pain points instead of just brushing the surface of employee development. This needs analysis guide is designed to help you analyze stakeholders and get buy-in using a step-by-step methodology. Before we dive into the content, let’s look at why needs analysis is imperative for modern organizations.

 

It’s Time to Rethink Higher Education: What if our goal was creating social impact, not preserving the status quo? — from chronicle.com by Brian Rosenberg (president emeritus of Macalester College and president in residence of the Harvard Graduate School of Education)

Excerpts (emphasis DSC):

Higher education should in its ideal form lead to more economic security for more people, a more equitable and innovative society, and a well-functioning democracy. Add whatever goals you would like, but these seem like a reasonable starting point and, given the present state of the country, more than a little aspirational.

But if we fail to explore — if we fail to go beyond superficial change and interrogate our most fundamental assumptions about how and what we teach, how and why we organize ourselves in the current way — we will have no one but ourselves to blame if the system as we know it shrivels to the point where it collapses from within or is painfully disrupted from without.

Also see:

The Pandemic May Have Permanently Altered Campuses. Here’s How. — from chronicle.com by Francie Diep
Trends accelerated by Covid-19 may make more sense than ever in the future, experts say.

Excerpt:

The Covid-19 crisis has transformed all aspects of higher education, and the physical campus is no exception. The Chronicle recently released a special report, Rethinking Campus Spaces, that offers strategies for doing more with less space, to save money and prepare for an uncertain future. Here is an adapted excerpt from the report.

The Chronicle asked more than 40 architects, campus planners, and leaders in student life and housing about how several categories of campus spaces might look different in the future. As colleges navigate difficult financial straits, many interviewees predicted more public-private partnerships, and renovations instead of new construction — which can be less costly and more environmentally friendly. Overall, their answers paint a picture of future campuses that are more adaptable, perhaps smaller, and focused on what’s most valuable about seeing one’s peers in person.

 

The day Jason T. Smith liberated his people from the tyranny of hierarchy to collaborate and grow — from linkedin.com by Jeremy Scrivens

Excerpt:

I have been writing how 2nd stream future of work leaders will create an organisation design where their people don’t get hard wired to obsolete 1st stream job descriptions but are freed up to join collaboration of strengths. They sign up to #We based Charters of Collaboration.

A 2nd stream future of work leader disrupts the prevailing vertical and siloed design of organisations where people are bolted to individual managers. Instead, they join ecosystems of work, where people collaborate to a shared purpose. The configuration of teams is not based on job title or function but on the nature of the projects and the strengths required from the shared one talent pool.

That day, in sharing their stories, every person in the room experienced exceptional thriving because they were treated as equal partners in the work to imagine and co-create the future.

The two streams in the future of work -- reflections by Jeremy Scrivens by comparing first streams with second streams

 

How Can Learning Leaders Learn? — from learningsolutionsmag.com by Marjan Bradeško

Excerpt:

You are a learning leader. Leading your team. Responsible for so many things. And you feel your personal growth stagnates. You lack time to learn new concepts, methodologies, tools, learning approaches, all the acronyms … Yet, you want to be a role model, you want to be capable to talk to your team, your customers, your audience. You want to promote learning in the whole organization. You want to become the one who brings new concepts into the company. You want people follow your curiosity. You want them to say: “If the leader learns, why would not I?”

Here are some tips that can help you to learn within your daily work. The tips are grouped into structured (“protected time”) and non-structured (“flexible time”) parts.

 

The future of work after COVID-19 -- Woman working on a computer with wireless headset

The future of work after COVID-19 — from mckinsey.com

Excerpts:

This report on the future of work after COVID-19 is the first of three MGI reports that examine aspects of the postpandemic economy. The others look at the pandemic’s long-term influence on consumption and the potential for a broad recovery led by enhanced productivity and innovation. Here, we assess the lasting impact of the pandemic on labor demand, the mix of occupations, and the workforce skills required in eight countries with diverse economic and labor market models: China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the United States. Together, these eight countries account for almost half the global population and 62 percent of GDP.

Physical proximity scores of a variety of occupations

 

Future occupations in 2030 -- increases or decreases

 

Today’s Teens Questioning the Status Quo When It Comes to College — from prnewswire.com by with thanks to Ryan Craig for this resource
National survey finds high schoolers want lower-cost, quicker paths to careers: 50 percent are open to something other than a four-year degree

Excerpt:

For those who have been following the discussion, it will not come as a shock that this demographic is extremely concerned about the cost of higher education. In fact, the number one thing teens would change about college is the price tag. Their second top concern is making sure the path they take directly connects them to a future career. Specifically, the top three things Gen Z teens are most concerned about:

  • 50 percent—graduating with a high amount of debt
  • 44 percent—not getting a job after they graduate
  • 40 percent—not being prepared for a job after school ends

From DSC:
I sometimes use the tag “surviving” and it often has to do with individuals and families. But over the last few years, I have found myself using it for institutions of traditional higher education (as I did for this posting).

It’s time for reinvention if we want those institutions to survive. Those who can’t wait until the status quo returns are likely in for a disappointment, if not outright shock. Over the last several years, many people have already lost their jobs throughout higher ed, positions have gone unfilled, and early retirement offers were made (and often snatched up). The headcounts have been decreasing for years and the workloads have increased for the survivors of such cuts. The use of adjunct faculty members has been on the increase for many years now. 

Those institutions that have cultures that support experimentation, innovation, and support strategic, nimble, entrepreneurial thinking have a better chance of surviving.

 

From DSC:
This is what we’re up against –> Reskilling 1 billion people by 2030” — from saffroninteractive.com by Jessica Anderson

Excerpts:

According to the World Economic Forum, this statistic is a critical economic imperative.

Does this shock or scare you? Perhaps you’re completely unflappable? Whatever your reaction, this situation will undoubtedly impact your organisation and the way you tackle skills development.

What are the roadblocks?

So, we’ve laid down the gauntlet; an adaptable, agile, multi-skilled workforce. What stands in the way of achieving this? A recent survey of the top 5 challenges facing learning leaders sheds some light:

1. Building a learning culture
2. Learning in the flow of work
3. Digital transformation
4. Learner engagement and ownership
5. Keeping informed of best practices

From DSC:
The article mentions that nations could lose billions in potential GDP growth. And while that is likely very true, I think a far bigger concern is the very peace and fabric of our societies — the way of living that billions of people will either enjoy or have to endure. Civil unrest, increased inequality, warfare, mass incarcerations, etc. are huge concerns.

The need for a next-gen learning platform is now! The time for innovation and real change is now. It can’t come too soon. The private and public sectors need to collaborate to create “an Internet for learning” (in the sense that everyone can contribute items to the platform and that the platform is standards based). Governments, corporations, individuals, etc. need to come together. We’re all in the same boat here. It benefits everyone to come together. 

Learning from the living class room -- a next generation, global learning platform is needed ASAP

 

The Great Contraction Cuts alone will not be enough to turn colleges’ fortunes around. — from chronicle.com by Lee Gardner

Excerpts:

With higher education facing average revenue losses of 14 percent or more due to Covid-19, the pandemic presents an existential challenge for the hundreds, maybe thousands, of colleges that entered last March with already precarious finances. Every week or so seems to bring new headlines about institutions making jaw-dropping cuts.

But slashing budgets alone, experts agree, isn’t enough to survive. Struggling colleges must cut strategically and adapt to a new way of operating, in order to find a way to eventually grow and thrive.

From DSC:
As I mentioned to a friend who wondered about those two words –“grow” and “thrive” in the last sentence above…

For too long many colleges and some universities have not been experimenting with other business models. They didn’t pay attention to the surrounding landscapes and economic realities of the masses. I think some of the institutions out there will grow and thrive — but it will be far fewer institutions who see such growth. SNHU, Arizona State, Western Governors University, and the like have done well. But then again, they thought big as well and did so years ago. They have a major leg up on other institutions.

She has served as a college president for nearly 20 years, and in that time, she has watched students’ view of higher education shift to be predominantly about “the outcome of being prepared for a job,” she says.

Funny how that corresponds directly to the increase in tuition, fees, books, room and board, etc. that took place during that same time. 

 

Public Colleges Are Going After Adult Students Online. Are They Already Too Late? — from chronicle.com by Lee Gardner

Excerpts:

But competing with the established national players in online education presents a tall order. The so-called megauniversities have a huge head start and deep pockets, two advantages public universities are unlikely to overcome easily, if at all.

Mega-universities have spent more than a decade building and honing well-funded and sophisticated operations that function on a scale few start-ups can hope to match. They spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year marketing themselves nationwide to students.

Mega-universities have also developed recruitment and admissions operations designed to make things as easy as possible for working adults to enroll.

 

 

Five free keynotes on online learning for streaming into virtual conferences — from tonybates.ca by Tony Bates

These are the five keynotes:

  1. Developing quality blended learning courses
  2. Digital learning and the new economy
  3. New technologies and their potential and limitations for teaching and learning
  4. Ten lessons for online learning from the Covid-19 experience (based on research findings)
  5. Online learning in the (k-12) school sector

From DSC:
Thanks Tony for sharing these keynotes and your expertise — which is drawn from so much research and experience. Thanks for giving it away — may your gift bless many. (And I thought you were going to retire…?!? Selfishly, I’m/we’re glad you didn’t!)   🙂

 

From DSC:
Numerous articles are out there on this, but here’s a handful of them:

Jeff Bezos to Step Down as Amazon C.E.O. — form nytimes.com
Andy Jassy, the chief of Amazon’s cloud computing division, will become chief executive, while Mr. Bezos, the company’s founder, will become executive chairman.

How new Amazon CEO Andy Jassy built an enterprise tech juggernaut — from protocol.com
Using lessons honed from a stint as outgoing CEO Jeff Bezos’ right hand, Jassy changed the way enterprise tech is bought and sold in building the most profitable division of the company.

Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO: Read his full letter to staff — from fastcompany.com
Day One is finally over for Jeff Bezos. 

 

3 Main Changes to Help Fill College Classrooms — from fierceeducation.com by Alison Diana

Excerpt:

Reducing Tuition:
Southern New Hampshire University last month announced it will cut the cost of its Fall 2021 campus-based programs to $15,000 or $10,000 per year and use “an increased focus on experiential and project-based learning; a new and more transparent financial aid process, shifting from merit-based to need-based financial aid awards to level the playing field for all students.”

This marks more than a 50% reduction of its fees, according to SNHU. The university also plans to increase its on-site campus enrollment to 4,500 students from 3,000, although it did not say how or if it expects to adapt faculty or administrative staffing.

SNHU is not alone in addressing tuition to encourage people to attend their schools.

 
© 2021 | Daniel Christian