Every college or university claims to help students succeed. But do actions align with words?
A learning ecosystem is an omni-channel, multi-modal system that includes all necessary support, resource, and context options by which people learn. In a formal context, such as a college or university, the learning ecosystem is typically a mix of people, technology, and other infrastructure, leading to certifications and/or degrees for students. But all of these stakeholders require balance. The key to an effective learning system is stasis. The term ecosystem becomes crucial in this context as it connotes interdependence. In any ecosystem, stasis is reached when interdependence of a (typically) complex system or network is balanced between organisms and their environment.
Profiles are more and more a crucial component of our lives. It’s not quite as reported today as it was five years ago when we were still figuring out just how profiles worked, but the web is littered with reports of people who lost jobs, scholarships, marriages, or worse, because a profile was not private enough, a person had multiple profiles, or because someone shared a profile of another person without their permission. Those things still happen, they just aren’t newsworthy anymore. But just because our information hungry brains also crave novelty doesn’t mean this isn’t an issue. Especially for younger parts of our society. It’s called impression management and it’s worth talking about.
Google it. Explore if through ERIC. Do what you do so well! Research the idea, the strategy, etc. See how other schools have done it, or alternatively, see if there are reasons schools have chosen NOT to do something. Look at the business stream in which the initiative was accomplished and then ask how it might be performed in a your specific higher education context. Ping your network and ask colleagues what they think. Go to Twitter or LinkedIn and create a post about it, looking for comments and feedback. Just noodle with it. Even if you finally conclude that it can’t work or if you never end up using it, the continual practice will help. See, as you collect more and more of those ideas, you’ll start to have a throng of options available when the right day comes.
Is taking a solution used at another school…or maybe a hundred other schools, and implementing that solution at your school innovative? You can argue that every school is a completely unique context. After all, your school has your own ecosystem filled with nay-sayers, accreditation concerns, nuanced courses, niche enrollments, etc. So, if that is your definition of context (instead of education vs health care, etc), then I guess EVERY school is innovative. But that seems like an incredibly watered down version of innovation to me. I don’t think that is innovative.
Higher education is broken. I’ve talked to educators and administrators from the most famous institutions on the planet. All of them have horror stories of how impossible it is to overcome the baggage, the traditions, the paradigm that is higher education. Not the Ivy Leagues, not the most innovative community colleges and not even the for-profits who were designed to do exactly that. The system is broken and at this point it’s hard to find anyone or any way to fix it.
The normal dysfunction of higher ed was clarified for me by a professor at ASU. He was explaining how impossible it was to create a curriculum map. He said that they have potentially 10 or more versions of any given class, often under different departments entirely. Those 10 versions of the class are taught 10 completely different ways with no more than a nod to outcomes and objectives. So, trying to find “the” course of truth to use for a large-scale experience is impossible. They ended up creating yet another version from scratch. That description is not only the opposite of innovative, it’s not even inline with the most effective practices for education.