This month in EDUCAUSE

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My name is Irene Knokh and I’m the EDUCAUSE ambassador for U-M. I share articles of interest, upcoming trends, and advocate on your behalf for EDUCAUSE.

Happy Summer! I know that the official start date is June 22, but it sure feels like a balmy summer (yours truly could do with cooler weather). 

It is already the beginning of June and things are very busy! I started my spring by moving and then trying to still keep up with everything. Good strategy: looking at the EDUCAUSE Showcases Series (past and upcoming). It’s a great opportunity to catch up on the ongoing best practices and trends in education. 

An emerging best practice about space and technology

Take a look at the latest article about best emerging trends: The Digital versus Brick-and-Mortar Balancing Game. It’s really a delicate, nuanced, and flexible approach to learning in between hybrid, remote, and in-person classes. 

How has the technology and education blend changed since the pandemic? The critical takeaway of “space as service.” Read Moving to Mobile: Space as a Service in the Academic Library to learn about Temple University’s approach to “service” space at the library to gauge a different approach to assisting students. 

Key takeaways from the Space as a Service article:

  • The old “Information Commons” (also known as the computer lab model) may no longer work.
  • Many students use their own devices and come to the library to study, do group work, and connect to good WiFi on their own laptops or mobile devices.  
  • Only 3D and other small numbers of higher level computers are needed, and the space needed for them is not large. The other spaces are designed for flexibility in use. 
  • Laptop and Kiosk self-service is helpful, but it does require significant investment and collaboration between library and IT staff. 
  • Observe, study, and ask questions about how the library space is used in your school.
  • Consider whether you can set up WiFi printing from student devices.
  • What about equity? Not all students have the newest (or any) laptop or the high-end mobile devices.
  • Having laptop loan kiosks addresses this access and equity issue. 
  • No solution is perfect–it’s a blend of approaches and flexibility as the needs of the students change. 

Review the EDUCAUSE QuickPoll Results: Learning Spaces Transformation for the responses to changing in the design and thought processes behind learning spaces. 

The Horizon Report has been released

The Teaching and Learning EDUCAUSE Horizon Report was published in mid-April, and includes highlights on:

Online learning and teaching myths debunked

On that note, here’s a great read about Four Misconceptions of Online Learning | EDUCAUSE.

The authors break down the myths around online learning and teaching. Read about best teaching and student engagement practices in an online or hybrid class. Have you discussed these options with your faculty? I am currently enrolled in the EDUCAUSE Digital Learning Leaders Institute. I have seen these methods, which include group work, done very well. 

DEI actions for leaders

EDUCAUSE QuickPoll Results: Leadership and Action for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion 

Key takeaways about DEI for leaders to consider about choosing technology for the classroom

  • DEI “means a lot of things to different people”
  • Ask your unit to support DEI and what it means to include everyone
  • Review the strategies suggested by your institutions and how to make them stick 
  • Ask questions and ask about the data 
  • Check in with your crowd-students, faculty, and staff 
  • Offer mentoring and professional development opportunities for everyone 

Refer to this Rubric for Selecting Active Learning Technologies | EDUCAUSE

There are always nuances in choosing technology to support in- and outside of the classroom learning. The authors share guidelines to use for making better decisions. The rubric is particularly important in aligning technology use with active learning. It’s the space, the types of activities, and the active learning approaches by the faculty. Technology evaluation best practices mentioned by the authors are “six separate categories of heuristic evaluation, as illustrated in our rubric. Two of these categories—Easy to Use and Participation—are viewed as foundational. Any technology that fails to move beyond these initial categories in the evaluation is not acceptable, and the evaluation can be halted.” 

Key points to consider in the foundational criteria for technology in the classroom:

  • Easy to use
  • Participation
  • Broadly available
  • Equitable and accessible

“It is important for students to be able to express their diverse personal perspectives and learn about other cultures from each other. Technology that allows students to showcase themselves can help improve equity; therefore, technology should be designed to address the needs of diverse users—their various literacies, capabilities, and cultural and other identities.”

Key points to consider for leveraging technology in the classroom

The pandemic’s impact on the higher ed workforce

Smaller and restructured: How the pandemic is changing the Higher Education IT Workforce

University’s crashed budgets required already stressed IT and Learning Support teams to do a lot more with a lot less, including staff turnover, which is not always voluntarily or through retirement. At the same time, some opportunities were added and possibilities for remote work are still considered-though not to the extent that they were earlier in the pandemic. Many staff who could leave for places that allowed remote work and offered better salaries actually left. Retaining staff means better matched compensation along with remote and flexible work options. The lowest morale was among employees who know that they can do their work remotely, or, at least, off site a few times a week and were not supported by their leadership. This was especially demoralizing for front line staff who have to be on campus all the time. Everything is constantly “in flux.” 

Biggest takeaway for higher ed IT units

Restructuring IT units means aligning the work to the needs and services, such as cyber security support and collaborating widely on projects between different areas. EDUCAUSE lists available resources at the end of the article for your professional development. 

“See” you next month!


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