Fall Planning for the New Normal: Moving Higher Ed Online

Promising Practices

The challenges listed above, though certainly daunting, may not be unsolvable. While institutions are wrestling with resource shortages and the need for process and implementation improvements, they're also seizing on these moments to discover new areas of innovation and creativity, working to find solutions and practices that may hold promise for other institutions across higher education.

  • Hard work now, success later. The front-end work of creating resources for staff, faculty, and students requires significant amounts of planning, time, and effort, but some study participants have suggested that the right investment in providing these resources upfront will help reduce the strain on facilities and technology staff further down the road. Looking beyond the urgency of immediate work to the longer-term needs and resources that need to be in place might save institutions from additional work later.
  • Seizing the moment. Faculty development is a perennial challenge for institutions in building and improving remote and hybrid learning experiences, and it may be easier now than ever for IT and technology staff to start to build trust and engagement with their faculty. The pandemic has helped get more faculty engaged with technology, whether through web conferencing, augmented reality, or other virtual tools. Faculty care about their students' learning and success, and a proactive and receptive orientation toward faculty during unprecedented disruption and change—answering questions, providing requested funding or training, and facilitating course improvements through instructional designers or IT staff—will help ensure that student learning and success are collaborative efforts now and in the future.
  • Digitization, digitalization, and digital transformation. As faculty are being asked to adapt and find new ways of working, so too are many of the institution's core functions and services changing. Current circumstances might provide many institutions with a window to finally update ineffective or inefficient business or administrative models. More than merely adapting paper files to digital files, institutions may find that new solutions like automation, cloud-based services, and systems integrations can help their students, faculty, and staff work smarter and better.