When I was with eCollege, we always heard from integration partners which schools were truly ahead of the curve and which ones simply had a good marketing story, but were in fact awful to work with. Likewise, we would hear which companies were great to work with and which ones were not. That even translated to a company’s values or ethical practices. But embarrassingly, I did not include vendor referrals as part of my research. I solely relied on college / university recommendations. And at this point in my career, having worked on both sides of the fence as well as sitting on committees like the CWiC Executive Advisory Board, we all know that there are thousands of failed technology initiatives which have little to do with the technology and everything to do with the implementation. Yet I contacted school after school, both the solid and the weak, asking if they recommended a vendor.
For almost 25 years I have seen colleges and universities fail when it comes to any kind of holistic approach to the student experience. It doesn’t matter if it’s on-ground or online, students feel disconnected. (Heck, staff and faculty typically feel disconnected…) When someone needs help, it often feels like there is none. When someone is poking around on a computer at 3am trying to find support, there often is none. Why? Because education is a people business. There are only so many hours in the day and only so many channels by which to communicate. Students, faculty, and staff can go hours, days, and sometimes weeks before receiving help.