A few weeks ago, Cengage CTO George Moore and I sat down with CIOs from a wide range of higher ed institutions to hear what’s on their minds as they integrate technology to support the rapid shift to hybrid learning. Themes we heard from schools both large and small, public and private included:
COVID exposed weaknesses and gaps. This has been an opportunity to identify the technology gaps that institutions need to address, from infrastructure (such as students’ lack of access to internet connectivity from home) to the need for a fully-integrated LMS. There was a significant disconnect between what schools perceived students could access from home and what they could actually access.
Schools will offer more hybrid classes than 2 years ago. In a rapid shift, senior administration sees digital learning as integral to the future of higher ed; this blending of technology in the classroom is now expected. Meetings will take place over zoom, and schools will offer labs and classes online. As one person shared, “This is a time to experiment and learn about what works.”
The work is immense and change is constant. There’s a false sense of security that everything on the list is going to get done. Schools are looking at security, infrastructure and online learning tools in a way they haven’t before. Plans are constantly evolving as we look at what’s working and what we need to adjust.
Faculty are embracing new tools & learning from each other. Peer-to-peer networks offer the opportunity for faculty to share tips for zoom and what works best in an online or hybrid learning environment. COVID has been a forcing function and faculty are open-minded to working with IT in a way they haven’t been previously.
Thank you to IDG for convening this forum; I look forward to future conversations. We’re in a moment in time where we’re seeing the convergence of technology, security, pedagogy and academic freedom – this challenge belongs to all of us, and we must work together to solve it.
This article originally appeared on LinkedIn in June 2021.