Monday, March 7, 2016

Higher Education questions - 7 questions

It seems that Inside Higher Education is playing a game of 7 questions. I thought that it would be interesting to respond to these when I has little more brain space to write some more in-depth answer instead of "agree or disagree" which was the original prompt.  These might very well fit into my Educational Leadership course now that I think of it.  So the questions are in italics, and my responses are in regular text.

1) A higher education program where students graduate with a credential, but without substantial career development, is a failed experience.

It depends! I don't necessarily see higher education as being concurrent with career development.  Sometimes, in some programs, and certainly depending on the degree, the benefits of higher education are seen in the long term, not just in the short term after graduation (i.e. gaining a new job or obtaining a promotion).  Some programs require apprenticeships or practica.  In such cases I would say that the academic can go hand-in-hand with  the career development.  However, not all programs are like that.  Some students do not seek programs that have required practica because they already have a job and they can't take time off from that to undertake the apprenticeship requirement.  By necessity programs do have to appeal to a fairly board learner demographic, and such a requirement is limiting.

2) Student affairs/services should scale their engagement efforts via intentional (and sustainable) digital outreach. Not knowing the tech isn't an excuse.

Here I agree. However, I will say that technology is not necessarily the issue.  You can use technology to enable you to increase your outreach, but your audience maybe not be able to access you in a digital means.  Technology isn't always the solution to the problem.

3) UK student services is nearing an inflection point...stay tuned for administrative structures (budget/personnel) that look more like US student affairs administrative divisions.

I am not sure about the UK structures. In the US we may be reaching that inflection point.  Everyone is complaining about the inflation of administrative positions at the universities in the US, which increases costs, so we might be seeing a shake up - stay tuned

4) The student experience affects an institution's brand and ability to be competitive. A bad experience is bad for marketing and enrollment.

Maybe...maybe not. It depends on what the bad experience is.  If a student is a bad match for the program that they were accepted into, then I think the blame is partly the university (for admitting such as student when the fit may be wrong) and on the student for not doing their homework to see what the program they applied to is all about.  If a learner doesn't want to do the work for a class and they get a bad grade (or they don't pass a competency), then they can complain all they want - it's not the university's issue.  However, if there are structural issues with student support, and the university does nothing about them - then that will hurt the university's competitive advantage.

5) No one is a digital native/immigrant...we all have unique levels of digital capability regardless of age.

Why are we still talking about digital natives and immigrants?  Let's move on. That should tell you where I stand.

6) Online-only degree programs are as worthwhile as traditional campus-based experiences.

It's 2016, why are we still taking about online programs within a deficit context? Let's move on!

7) Staff need digital capability/literacy in order to teach digital capability/literacy. You can't have one without the other.

Again...  this seems like a no-brainer to me...

So, what do you think of these?

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