Tag: education technology leadership

One Big Question Education Technology Leaders Should Be Asking Right Now: How Can We Support Learners In Gaining Experience After They Complete Their Programs?

Response from Brett Ellis.
My name is Brett Ellis. I’ve built my career in higher education and EdTech through universities, nonprofits and global EdTech companies like Udacity. I currently work for the Center on Rural Innovation as a Future of Work Program Manager, Udacity as an IT Career Coach, and my own business as an education consultant.
The biggest question that EdTech leaders should be asking right now is “How can we support learners in gaining experience after they complete their programs?”
I speak to hundreds of bootcamp grads and online program students who have been searching for months after completing their programs. The problem is that they lack relevant industry experience and feel that getting a traditional job is the only way to do it.
The answer to the question is 2 things. Connecting with project shops or apprenticeship & having a more aggressive employer relations strategy.
Project shops allow non-traditional students and graduates to gain experience by joining a team of digital contractors with the guidance and mentorship of senior technical professionals. Many of these projects shops earn money by taking on projects, which allow these bootcamp grads to get paid and build their portfolios in a low-risk environment.
EdTech companies need to be very aggressive about their employer relations strategies. After all, hiring and placement rates do all the marketing for them. It also leads to higher motivation in students and program completion. An issue that many hiring professionals face is that they are not technical experts and most EdTech programs are not standardized.
Your average recruiter won’t have a clue what the curriculum looks like for any given online program, and it’s not their fault. They don’t have the time to research the program curriculum. They want to see relevant experience.

Lessons Learned As A University CIO

By Chris Wessells, senior higher education strategist, Dell Technologies.

Christopher WessellsA university CIO is responsible for myriad responsibilities related to improving and maintaining technology and services in support of institutional goals. Still, to do that effectively, the job goes far beyond what many typically consider as part of the role.

Hiring engineers and IT specialists? That’s part of your requirements, in addition to protecting personal information of students and faculty, ensuring there is a high-performance infrastructure, as well as providing effective systems and IT services to meet institutional requirements.

A CIO needs to have a variety of skills to succeed, including being capable of managing people and change while also considering financials, managing a budget, balancing technology responsibilities and keeping cybersecurity top-of-mind.

Having served as a CIO at prominent four-year universities in the United States, I learned that in addition to the responsibilities outlined above, the role of a CIO is an ever-changing position that requires constant evolution and adaption to meet the needs of a heavily technology-driven community.

Some of the most important lessons I learned include:

1) Relationships are as important as technology

I quickly learned that building relationships with executive decision-makers was crucial to the success of institutional initiatives. Building bonds with business unit leaders from facilities management to public safety to athletics can be as essential at the relationships with the provost, deans and academic department chairs. That is, the CIO should cultivate and maintain healthy relationships at all levels of the university, which can lead to allies in digital transformation efforts.

Being connected with students is equally important. I found having a student technology advisory committee was an excellent way to listen to student needs, gain insights on how to improve IT services and build trust with the student community.

Building a strong IT leadership team also enables CIOs to form better relationships on campus that will assist in implementing new academic and administrative initiatives.

2) Enforcing shared governance is a must

One common CIO mistake is dictating change without receiving input from others on campus. This is why shared governance, placing the responsibility, authority and accountability for decisions on those who will use the technology, should be a top priority.  Shared governance with the academic community is essential to being successful.

Higher education CIOs should be shifting responsibilities from operating technology to more strategic governance responsibilities. Students and faculty are the primary constituents that require technology and services from a campus IT organization, so naturally, CIOs should consider their requirements when assessing and implementing new solutions. For example, before purchasing new classroom instructional technology, it is crucial to consult faculty on those matters; and include faculty in pilot projects and testing.  This approach often leads to better decisions that are made collaboratively, rather than having IT simply dictate decisions from a technical standpoint.

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