Happy new year! WCET is excited for 2020. Today, we want to share our plans, priorities, and some coming attractions for the year.
Members – It’s All About Our Members
WCET’s emphasis has always been serving the needs of our cooperative. A great 2020 motto for our team is that “it’s all about our members.”
Our focus for 2020 is tackling the issues our members need us to tackle, collaborating with our community on projects, developing resources for those working “in the trenches,” and promoting both traditional and new ways for members to engage with each other.
WCET 2020 Plans
We hope that you become as excited as we are about what we are planning for the new year. These items are all “in the works” and we may be asking for your help on forming some of them…
It has been about a decade since WCET staff and leadership took an earnest look at our operations and environment.
We are currently working on a set of strategies that will help us focus our activities and our messaging.
Again, all of it is focused on serving members and helping members connect with each other.
wcetMix – the Hub for WCET Communities
wcetMIX is WCET’s platform to discuss important topics and ideas and to share news, announcements, articles, and events. MIX replaces WCET’s older email list software. The best part about MIX is it continues the tradition of our WCETDiscuss and WCETNews email listservs and ALSO adds some extra benefits that we have not fully implemented. A popular new feature is that MIX makes it easier to search for previous conversations.
But email lists are not enough and there is more that this tool can provide members. Watch for these services to be rolled out this year:
- Use the platform’s member directory to search for other MIX participants by name, email, institution, or email address.
- Participate in focused communities and virtual conversations or resource sharing. We have plans to implement event communities, (such as a community for Annual Meeting attendees), special topic communities, and even working groups on projects.
MIX it up with us and join us on wcetMIX! Learn more now!
Lessons Learned from Every Learner Everywhere
WCET serves as the backbone facilitating the Every Learner Everywhere Network. So far, they have focused on implementing adaptive learning at scale. Their focus is on improving student outcomes, but especially for those who are low-income, first generation, or students of color. Watch for information coming from them about lessons learned in from the institutions that they serve. They will also be sharing what they have found on research and stories about using analytics, adaptive learning practices, outcomes for adaptive courses, and the impact on traditionally underserved communities of students.
OER and the Higher Education Regional Compacts
With generous support from the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, WCET’s Tanya Spilovoy has been working with the four regional higher education compacts (WICHE, MHEC, SREB, and NEBHE) to share and advocate for ways to scale and sustain free and low-cost educational materials. Beginning in late 2018, MHEC piloted a plan to have a cross-section of individuals share approaches (e.g., legislative, funding, advocacy) that worked in the region’s states. The next step is to replicate that successful model in the other three regions. This initiative will lead to evidence-based frameworks, guidelines, and structures to efficiently leverage the compacts’ existing relationships with states and institutions.
The Hewlett Foundation work is focused on removing barriers to postsecondary attainment by increasing equity and access for students across the nation.
Regulatory Implementation from the State Authorization Network
While state authorization is rooted in compliance in the states for which an institution offers activities, the U.S. Department of Education released regulations last year that tie federal student aid to an institution having the approval of each state in which it serves students via distance education plus require institutions to provide professional licensure disclosures for all programs leading to professional licensure or certification regardless of modality. WCET’s State Authorization Network is planning several updates and workshops on these rules plus more guidance on how to handle new disclosures for students (whether at a distance or on-campus) in professional licensure programs. Registration is currently open for the next State Authorization Basics Workshop. The next Advanced Topics workshop is being planned for fall. SAN members can look forward to a Virtual Seminar and a Professional Licensure Implementation Handbook with multistep management guide and flow chart to be released later this winter. Does your institution participate in SAN?
Like all of us, websites age. Ours is showing more grey hairs than we would like. Once we complete the Strategies process, we will begin updating the WCET website to be more useful and easily navigable for our members. We are still in the dream stage on this one but look forward to improving our look and functionality.
WCET Steering Committee Intro and Priorities
The WCET Steering Committee is a leadership group that makes recommendations on programmatic issues of interest to the membership and leads and/or contributes to activities in support of WCET’s programs and membership. Each member of the Committee represents a different population of the WCET collaborative, including community colleges, public institutions, proprietary institutions, companies, or higher education offices.
Our Steering Committee has set several priorities for 2020. These will help WCET focus some of our work and resource development. Steering Committee members volunteer to participate on working groups to propel work in this area. The main priorities for this year are:
- United Front Against Cheating Cartels: The landscape of academic cheating has undergone fundamental change. It is now an organized, large scale effort to commit fraud. From companies offering essay writing services to groups impersonating students (or instructors or staff members), or students threatened by an outside group with extortion efforts, this problem is increasing at a fast pace.
- Higher Education Pressures and Futures: WCET has been tracking several pressures and challenges that higher education will face as the postsecondary environment undergoes changes in the future, including enrollment plateaus, affordability and fiscal sustainability, new competitors and education providers, and advances in technologies.
- Accessibility: While innovations in educational technologies can be exciting, these advancements are not keeping up with accessibility requirements. How do institutions make sure they follow federal regulations? Even more important, how can we work toward ensuring inclusive and accessible education for all students?
- Innovations in the Provision of Student Services: Online education offers a host of benefits for students, but just because a course is at a distance does not mean the students taking it require less support than students taking courses on a physical campus. Institutions should develop student services programs for all students, including robust virtual mental health services, career services, advising, and more.
WCET 2020 Events
WCET and University of Maryland Global Campus Summit
The 2020 View of Federal Regulations and the Potential Impact on Higher Education Practice
WCET is thrilled to partner with the University of Maryland Global Campus this year for our 2020 Summit. Join us April 15th through 16th, 2020 in Largo, MD where we will bring together policy-makers, accreditors, institutional leaders, and others to help articulate policy implications for recently released rules and regulations from the Department of Education including accreditation changes and state authorization, as well as discuss proposed regulations on distance education. We’ll discuss topics such as:
- Recent regulations on state authorization, accreditation, and disclosures.
- The 2019 negotiated rulemaking process, including analysis of the consensus language on distance education and regular and substantive interaction.
- Updates on proposed higher education legislation, including an update on the reauthorization of the Higher Education Act.
- The potential impact of the 2020 presidential election.
- Trends in federal and state higher education appropriations.
2020 Annual Meeting
Join us for WCET 2020 this year in Indianapolis in October! Our annual meetings are known for our enlightening general sessions, enriching concurrent sessions from practicing pioneers in the field, and stimulating networking opportunities with the top thought leaders in higher education. This year’s Annual Meeting is set in the heart of the Midwest in a city known for its breweries, culture, and its foodie scene. The vibrant downtown of Indianapolis provides a great conference setting with much to do, eat, and see within an easily walkable distance.
The call for proposals will open in March and registration will be online in early summer. Stay tuned for updates.
Looking Forward to 2020
That’s what we expect this year. Certainly, there will be much that is unexpected. We will cover the news and events to keep you informed throughout the year.
Want to be involved in our 2020 projects? Learn more about the ways you can be more involved with WCET!
And we should be able to get this all done. First, we have the help of our members. Second, we have that extra day thrown in this year.
See you in the field or online.
Lindsey and Russ
Assistant Director, Communications, Community, and Social Media
WCET – the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
Catch me on Twitter: @lindsey0427
Executive Director, WCET – the WICHE Cooperative for Educational Technologies
Vice President of Technology-Enhanced Education, WICHE – the Western Interstate Commission for Higher Education
Stay Connected to WCET on Twitter: @wcet_info