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The Technology Revolution: IT as a Catalyst for Change - NOTES
The Technology Revolution: IT as a Catalyst for Change - NOTES
Notes from the EDUCAUSE Mid-Atlantic Regional Conference Opening General Session:
The Technology Revolution: IT as a Catalyst for Change
- Sayeed Choudhury, The Johns Hopkins University
- John A. Bielec, Drexel University
- Maureen McCreadie, Bucks County Community College
- Nadine Stern, The College of New Jersey
- Steven L. Worona, EDUCAUSE (Moderator)
Sessions resources are posted at http://connect.educause.edu/Library/Abstract/TheTechnologyRevolutionin/47915. The session was recorded and will be posted with a link from this page in the near future.
Worona opened the panel discussion with introductions and an overview of the topic
Choudhury showed a video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LqQ7TkL11UM) he’s put on YouTube that illustrates transformation in higher education and in particular the importance of connecting information with underlying data. From the advent of the automobile and Ford’s idea to democratize it to the infrastructure in place for it to our own struggles with implementing new technology, the video demonstrated how we often miss the mark. Choudhury surmised that if we’d been around in those days we might have called the car an e-horse instead of a horseless carriage. However, it was a fundamentally different change - a car is not just a faster horse.
Wireless is significantly different from wired, social networking is fundamentally different from modes of the past. Things are happening in a much more distributed way. His examples of scholarly transformation provide direct and open access to primary data, feature tools and services that act on data, and integrate research and learning. The two projects illustrated both have significantly more users that the professionals in the covered fields. He believes that today’s faculty and students are now saying “I’m going to democratize higher education” He said we need to stop counting how much stuff we have and think about function and use instead. And, we must be ready for disruption as a part of the transformation. It’s going to be exciting – but a bumpy ride. The video ends with the question: How do we get off the e-horse?
Bielec discussed how IT is disruptive as the technology changes.
Having access to assets is more valuable than actually having assets today.
Drexel has been in the IT services business for years by providing access to other colleges in the area. They are also using services from others rather than building their own. People think it won’t work without contracts and SLAs but ask about Google, Expedient, etc. where all of us are using software as a service without contracts and SLAs. Who’s in charge? The ability to choose has moved from an institution being prescriptive to the individual so technology puts the individual in charge, not the institution. Our communities have many choices without the red tape. In this situation the CIO’s role changes and we are using software as a commodity.
Bielec asked “Are you ready for the webkinz generation?” He believes only those with small children or grandchildren understand this question fully. Older staff have a hard time understanding that this change is happening. He asked, “How do you manage chaos?” and suggests that you manage it by not being prescriptive. However, where there are multiple options the CIOs traditional role is diminished. Where should grandparently CIOs go for remedial chaos management training?
McCreadie said we need to start with how students are using IT rather than starting with the technology. She offered the Cs of Change:
- Connections – 40% increase in e-learners and their connections to faculty, students, info, and more. (e-everything) Anytime, anyplace – wireless, mobile, bandwidth, bandwidth, bandwidth
- Collaboration – free and easy to use tools (Google/ learning spaces and e-services)
- Complexity – need to examine core services – ERP ILS LMS,
- Content – increasingly the students are the content creators, implications for us all. She showed a Mash-up video where the institution provided no support, including no facilities. (this resource is available from the resources link above)
- Convergence – tools have been converging for some time, now services are as well…ie, Learning Commons , “mind” space –
McCreadie showed a video where students created virtual posters to “promote” a scientist. She suggested that we need collaboration on and off campus and throughout academia since we won’t be getting any new resources to meet the growing needs.
She also said that we need to look at the GenX construct and to provide intellectual tools as well as physical tools.
Stern discussed the IT Leadership pipeline and succession planning. She spent some time testing the hypotheses that CIOs have come from other professions within higher education. (higher education is the profession not IT) She said next generations see IT as the profession and have less loyalty to higher education and want to do the technology and not deal with other CIO leadership and management tasks.
Stern’s take on what skills will be needed based on her reading and understandings:
- Experience in the institution
- Leading the p
- Project management
- Thick callused skin
- See issues from the larger view of the institution
Current staff don’t want to develop many of these skills and they don’t want the longer hours. They are not interested in politics, communication, etc.
For them, the technology manager is where the satisfaction is and that CIOs move away from the technology and therefore the level of satisfaction.
Some believe that the CIO is simply a more general manager and a technology background is not important.
Stern showed some videos that illustrated differences between Boomers and GenX and GenY. She also referenced the recent ECAR report by Phil Goldstein titled “Leading the IT Workforce in Higher Education”
- 48% of current CIOs plan to retire within 10 years.
- Many don’t aspire to the CIO role
- Aspirants said they are not being groomed and need many more skills
- Current CIOs need to mentor and do succession planning but also planning for success of a team.
- Culture clash – team approach is the way to go – way to learn, way to work, value each individual but use the team to get the solutions you need.
Choudhury – You must understand what is it that people want and focus on that before you think about solutions.
Bielec – Create a blend of services (not assets) for what people really need and want (we don’t provide modems anymore because students have their own ISPs, wireless, and computers)
McCreadie – It’s about figuring out the needs, assessing where your resources are best spent
Stern - staff are integraters, business process redesign, etc – not just builders of infrastructure
"Changing not Change!" should be our mantra.