I would analogize it to a continent. So, imagine a continent, and in one country in the continent you have iPASS, integrated student advising, on another you have high impact experiences like study abroad, research experiences, things like that. You have course experiences, you have athletic experiences, you have a whole conglomerate of all these countries or provinces in this continent. Now, what makes one students successful will be that they found residents or help in say the iPASS area. Say they were struggling, and they were able to reach out. Someone reached out to them and mentored them, or got them some additional resources that they needed, and so that got them across the finish line. Wherever that finish line for them might have been. It might have been a wonderful course experience, that there was an inspirational professor who inspired them to go down this particular track. It might be an athletic experience, or it might be that study abroad experience, or it might be a conglomerate of those things that constitutes success for each individual student and learner as they progress through the institution. It's very, very difficult looking at it that way to say, well it's always this thing, or it's this thing, this thing, and it's always equally valid for all the learners. I would think student success is at least as diverse as there are learners.
2. What Students Want
I think they're going to be looking for ways of customizing the fit to them, so that really meets their needs more directly, and I think that's the challenge for institutions right now. To think, how can we utilize things like analytics, big data, new advanced system technologies, this notion of a next generation digital learning environment that we've been talking about a lot? Bringing all those forces to bear, so to speak, so that the student has a chance to experience that, but also that the institution has the capacity to deliver that experience to the student.
I'm very encouraged in the initial fleet of iPASS schools as they go forward, and I'm really hoping, and it looks I think the prospects are good that this innovation will diffuse to the point where it will start to become, in five years from now as you were asking, a fairly standard part of the periphery, or the landscape of how the institution supports it's students. The early indications from my listening to the people who are actually trying to implement these systems, is that it's a phenomenally important aspect of what the institutions can do to help their students experience success, or have a sense of success in their academic lives at an institution. Because, it is this confluence point of data, and analysis, and then interventions that I think are really important. When that's integrated together, and everyone can be much more focused on what's going on with an individual student. So, it's not any longer a matter of Johnny didn't turn in his paper on time. It's now that we know that maybe something went on in his family, maybe it's that he's a first to college student and something else happened for him, or things like this. So that when you go to intervene your interventions are much more focused and appropriate to that students circumstances.
4. Shared Concerns
So, ELI every year surveys the community in a survey we call the Key Issues in Teaching and Learning in order to identify precisely that. What are the key things that people think are the real challenges and opportunities right now in higher ed teaching and learning? This year when we conducted it we also asked the respondents to indicate what type of institution they were from. Masters, research, baccalaureate, or two year institution. When you get the roster of the top five, then you say how did these figure in these individual silos of institutional types? You discover that there's a lot of things that we have in common. Everyone, we're all, no matter what the institutional type is, we're all very interested in academic transformation. We're all very concerned and interested in faculty development. There's a new interest in accessibility, and the universal design for learning. There's I think like in across all these categories, there is a renewed interest or enlightened interest in competency based approaches, and alternative ways of assessment during learning. What I'm seeing is that when you get to these really top five issues, there is a great deal of similarity of interest across the institutional types. I think, we as a community, can now take that and say, we need to learn from each other so that two year schools can learn from ours, and ours can learn from two year schools, because we share all these concerns, and we're trying to make improvements, and innovate in these areas together.