This month in EDUCAUSE

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My name is Irene Knokh and I’m the EDUCAUSE ambassador for U-M. I will provide articles of interest, upcoming trends, and generally be your advocate for EDUCAUSE.

Shielding Campus Data from the “Bad Guys”

Bad actors just itching to get your data. 

What’s happening? IT departments and compliance departments are overwhelmed. IT employees are stressed – they are often working 24/7 ensuring that Learning Management Systems, Zoom, or Microsoft Teams web conferencing software doesn’t fail. At the same time, IT and compliance areas must work in tandem to ensure that bad guys don’t get through the gate. All universities and colleges are at risk of rogue actors or organizations breaking in-and some are already dealing with the fallout. The costs are huge—lost data, lost money—lost trust. The issue is even more critical in health centers and universities with hospital systems. Everyone is a target, including students, staff, and faculty, and especially those not fully aware of good security hygiene. 

Message to Everyone: Plan, invest, partner, and collaborate. Review the regulations in the article. Ask yourselves “what’s missing?” What can you do better? Shielding campus data is an ongoing effort—whether it’s a homegrown infrastructure enhancement, partnering with a third party, or both. The more all critical areas help each other—the better are the outcomes.

SOS: 7 Things You Should Know About the Digital Divide

COVID exposed existing and compounding inequities in access to technology among many different groups—low income, racial and ethnic minorities, those affected by pandemic job losses, and anyone living in rural areas. International students who had technology support for in-person classes, no longer have it. Trying to get your work done? That was actually possible, with high-powered campus computer labs and assistants on duty. Things are a LOT more complicated with no longer having access, except, perhaps, a budget smartphone/tablet and not having a private space/area to study. While it’s not as frequently discussed, staff and faculty also may not have everything they need to work from home (if they can do so). Institutions in under-resourced areas were already struggling before the pandemic. What’s being done now?  

Colleges provide loaner laptops and may have lists of “at risk” students who need assistance. There’s additional support available to students who need help with any kind of technology—from Zoom to just getting their Wi-Fi or ethernet access set up. 

Post pandemic won’t be “the old normal.” The effort to deliver accessible teaching and learning (e.g., captioned videos), adequate data plans, and high-speed internet for everyone is ongoing. Bridging the digital divide requires a lot of effort and perseverance. What can you do? Encourage the faculty and teaching assistants to use Universal Design For Learning framework in their roles. Ask if activities can be asynchronous to reach out to more students. Ask for more viable licensing so that the resources are available off campus, not just in the labs. 

Quick bites from April

Engaging Students by Design

EDUCAUSE compiled a showcase of “Engaging Students by Design.” What did we learn that works? Digital communication, Universal Design for Learning, Respectful communication, collaborative software? Instructor presence best practices? How do we support and engage our students? Read the article from March—the material continues to be relevant. Got ideas? Drop me a line. I would love to hear your perspectives. 

The QuickPoll report: Assessment and Learning Design

EDUCAUSE did a poll on changing faculty engagement with instructional resources. Will the changes stick? 

The perceptions are gathered from instructional and IT staff. The biggest concerns are lack of support at the institutional level and hiring more staff-the request remains to work more with less.

Assume nothing – —faculty and students are a lot less tech savvy than expected. Staff still have little support—no extra colleagues or money to do the work. This is not sustainable; however, the infrastructure and support from leadership are not always there. 

One huge takeaway? Collaboration and culture change-—in different departments and coming from leadership. Innovation doesn’t mean doing things the normal way. 

“The desire to ‘go back to normal’ risks forgetting some lessons we have learned. Can we both ‘go back to normal’ and also retain what we have learned?” What’s your experience? Drop me a line. I would love to hear your perspectives. 

Looking Beyond Technology for Inclusive Student Success

Learn more starting April 26th. 

“See” you next month, 
Irene

If you have any questions about the content, tidbits you’d like to share, or anything EDUCAUSE related, email me, Irene Knokh, instructional design and technology consultant, Professional Development and Education for Nursing, or Chris Eagle, EDUCAUSE coordinator for U-M. 

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