Beyond the Post: 1/8/21

Beyond Academics asks to hear your thoughts, comments, and opinions on the topics we’ve covered throughout the week. Let’s keep the conversation about Higher Education going.

BA Featured

Listen to Beyond Academics members Joe Abraham and Joel Mathew on The Scott Becker Business and Private Equity Podcast as they discuss what motivates BA and how we are actively transforming Higher Ed.

Our Posts

BA’s Top 10 Predictions for Higher Ed in 2021

Though 2020 is over, Higher Ed still has a lot of work to do. We must continue to adapt and transform—as we should be doing every year—to create a better future for students of today and beyond. Take a look at our top 10 Higher Ed predictions for 2021.

Read the full post >>>

Other Posts

Video: Flexible Learning Options” by Maricopa Community Colleges

Maricopa Community Colleges recently posted this videos outlining their flexible learning options which include online (asynchronous), live online (synchronous), in-person, and hybrid (a combination of in-person and online).

Schools like Maricopa that have adapted their classrooms to better accommodate students are leading the way in higher education. Though creating a campus that works for everyone is still something we need to work toward, offering a variety of learning options is a huge step in the right direction. But we still have some questions.

BA Bold Thoughts:

  • This is great in theory, but how do we execute this in reality?
  • Maricopa lists “campus life” as something all their students (even the online ones) will have access to. What is campus life and how does it translate to digital, asynchronous learning?
  • What technology will be required to allow classrooms to exist on multiple platforms and operate smoothly?

Let us know your thoughts and answers to these questions.

Watch the video >>>

Excerpt: 8 things that could derail innovation at your company—and how to avoid them” by Alex Salkever, Ismail Amla, and Vivek Wadhwa via Fast Company

Replace the word “company” with “university” and these 8 things still apply.

In this excerpt, the authors talk about “ambidextrous leadership,” which gives resources to internal innovations and start-ups without “being eaten or crippled by legacy business units.” In order to transform, universities must give their institution the funding and space to actually innovate.

BA Bold Thoughts:

  • Innovative ideas are not enough, they require action, funding, and support.
  • The entire institution must be willing to change and willing to compromise in order to allow essential transformations.

Read the full post >>>

Tell Us Your Thoughts

Comment on this post, reach out on LinkedIn, or submit your take on any of these topics via email. We want to talk with you about the future of Higher Ed.

No comments to show.

The Value of Microlearning in Higher Ed

Matt Alex, talks about microlearning and the new competition of Google and Amazon in the world of e-learning. Higher Ed provides the necessary social skills for people entering the workforce, but colleges and universities can also benefit from introducing microlearning into their curriculum.

The FutureX Podcast: Ep. 02

Embracing the Mindset of Transformation

In this episode, Joe Abraham interviews Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Forbes Magazine has listed him as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education.” Listen in on their conversation.

Joe gets a refreshing perspective from Dr. LeBlanc where they discuss these discussion points and more.

• What Higher Ed’s role is in preparing students for the future of work?
• What does the future of learning look like?
• What role does an entrepreneurial mindset play in Higher Ed?
• How does the word “consensus” fit into times of existential change?

You will leave this episode inspired, intrigued, and optimistic about the future.

About the Podcast

In The FutureX Podcast, host Joe Abraham interviews the best and brightest minds inside and outside higher education. It’s fun, informative, and inspirational. What does the future hold for Higher Ed?

Beyond the Post: 10/9/2020

Beyond Academics asks to hear your thoughts, comments, and opinions on the topics we’ve covered throughout the week. Let’s keep the conversation about Higher Education going.

The FutureX Podcast

Tune in to the second episode of The FutureX Podcast. In this episode, host Joe Abraham interviews Dr. Paul J. LeBlanc, President of Southern New Hampshire University (SNHU). Forbes Magazine has listed him as one of its 15 “Classroom Revolutionaries” and one of the “most influential people in higher education.”

What Higher Ed’s role is in preparing students for the future of work? What does the future of learning look like? What role does an entrepreneurial mindset play in Higher Ed? How does the word “consensus” fit into times of existential change?

As always, sound off in the comments or send us an email. We’d love to hear your thoughts.

Other Posts

“4 Steps To Turn Makeshift Digital Transformation Into Long-Term Success” by Tomoko Yokoi for Forbes

This week, Forbes posted an excellent article on how to turn your quick digital response to COVID into long term success.

BA Bold Thoughts:

Institutions need to take these steps:

  • Empower a well-funded team focused on digital transformation. This will shorten the decision cycle and cut through bureaucracy.
  • Set up a process to capture great ideas from within your institution as well as from your students, alumni, and the local community.
  • Create a “Rapid Test and Learn” environment. The mantra “fail fast and fail often” can waste precious time and resources when the life of your institution may be at stake. It is better to create a “test-and-learn” environment that supports hypothesis-driven experiments and tests, coupled with a rapid turnaround of the results.
  • Think about how your short-term response will support you over a long period of time. Ask questions like: “Is the short-term solution flexible enough to accommodate changes in an evolving technical environment?” “What is the purpose of our overall digital transformation?”

Read the full post >>>

“3 Biggest Reasons Why a Company’s Digital Transformation Fails” by Mike Stahnke for The Next Web

This article compliments the above article from Forbes. When transforming to digital, here are some things you should avoid doing.

BA Bold Thoughts:

  • Digital has a connotation of being cold, unfeeling, and not human, but it’s 2020 and that’s not the case.
  • Digital culture is more important than the technicalities of learning online. You have to create campus affinity.
  • Higher education must be willing to make the necessary changes to truly adapt and transform. Ingrained traditions cannot stand in the way of making a successful digital shift.

Read the full post >>>

Tell Us Your Thoughts

Comment on this post, reach out on LinkedIn, or submit your take on any of these topics via email. We want to talk with you about the future of Higher Ed.

No comments to show.

Okay Higher Ed, Now What?

Colleges and universities have opened for on-campus instruction and despite the protocols, guidelines, honor codes, and plexiglass, college-related COVID cases have exploded. On September 3, the NY Times published a map showing there were 51,000 COVID cases across 1,020 institutions—and this number is increasing.

It is clear what happens when schools try and operate along the “normal” business model.

Now what?

The first step is understanding there will be no return to the way things were.

Terri E. Givens, CEO of the Center of Higher Education Leadership and a former Provost, said:

“If there is any leader in the country who thinks it is going to go back to where it was a year ago, they are lying to themselves. But what this will look like is going to be hugely dependent on resources. Right now, everything is in emergency mode.”

You may be in emergency mode but to survive you will have to focus on a future, a future that will include COVID.

As Matt Alex of Beyond Academics says:

“Where the status quo ends, opportunities begin.”

What are those opportunities?

Understand who you are as an institution. How would you define your institution if you didn’t include the on-campus experience? How do you quickly and clearly define the value you provide to your students? What would your recruiting collateral look like if you didn’t include pictures of the leafy quad, the attractive college town, and the comfortable dorms? How would you define what makes you different from all the other schools that are moving their courses online at the same time you are?

Joel Mathew, co-founder of Beyond Academics and Leader of Digital Enrollment Strategy, says the spike he has seen in college advertising is significant. But most of the ads he’s surveyed are focused on a degree a potential student can earn, not on the value to the student. He said:

“Many Higher Ed ads you see are all generally the same. They are more than likely a list of benefits or attributes that scream ‘look at us’ when they should be more student-centric and focus on the ‘why’ of the end consumer.”

Everyone is offering online degrees. If you can define the value you deliver to your students, you will set yourself apart from the noise of the pack.

Focus on the student.

Now is a good time to look at your processes and technology and ask “Who are these processes serving: the administrator or the student?” For the last 20 plus years, as schools become more technology-enabled, processes have been designed either with software in mind or making administrative processes easier. Now, is the time to redesign those processes to be student-centric.

Increase learning effectiveness. 

COVID presents a chance to remake how we deliver education. In the rush this spring to move classes online, lectures were recorded, and power points were converted to PDF and put online. But now schools must plan for remote teaching for the long haul and the course catalog must be redesigned to be effective in a remote/high-flex format. This presents an opportunity to move to more effective teaching approaches like a flipped classroom. With better course delivery, better learning experience, and better learning outcomes, students will see the value your school delivers for their tuition dollars.

No matter what—understand your cost and revenue models. 

Many institutions can’t define the costs and margins of their basic product—the course offering. What other industry can say that? State budgets are being drastically cut. State allocations to education were just getting close to pre-2008 levels. But the cuts that are coming will erase all that. Private schools are meeting with resistance to their tuition rates. 

As revenue shrinks, it is time to deeply understand and manage your costs. What are the elements of your cost of instruction? Is your school running multiple versions of the same software? Are there new revenue sources? Can you use your online learning capabilities to expand your geographic reach? Once you understand the value that you deliver that is separate from the on-campus experience are their prospects that you can target that you’ve missed in the past?

COVID has changed how higher education must operate, and it will never go back to the way it was at the start of 2020. We’ve already seen what happens when schools try the old ways in this new world. Things break. Things fall apart. To survive, institutions will have to operate in a new way in the new world.

Chicago Startup Led By Seasoned Entrepreneurs Helps Higher Ed Digitize The College Experience In As Little As 8 Weeks

Beyond Academics Leaders (from left to right) Joe Abraham, Matthew Alex, and Joel Mathew Smiling in Front of Chicago Skyline

Matthew Alex couldn’t have predicted a global pandemic when he launched Beyond Academics to help higher Ed transform, but it was the final ingredient of the perfect storm that is claiming its casualties in higher education.

Alex is a former partner at Deloitte, where he led the Student Technology and Transformation practice—overseeing some of the most complex Student Technology Transformation projects in the country. He also led Deloitte’s Smart Campus and Future of Work initiatives.

“Other than a handful of elite, incumbent schools with 10 and 11-figure endowments and globally-recognized names, most colleges and universities have months, not years, to make a total digital transformation,” says Alex “most schools are either completely delusional or cautiously concerned about the future. What both groups have in common is that neither group has a plan that has any sustainable future. They think ‘zoom university’ is the way out of the storm.”

With big tech like Google and Amazon announcing their plans to enter the space, 40% of future freshmen saying they don’t plan to pursue 4-year degrees this fall, and a growing population of digital natives who have no interest in sitting in a lecture hall for 2 hours, the proverbial writing is on the wall. But higher ed is in denial. 

“Coronavirus was just the catalyst that accelerated the inevitable,” says serial entrepreneur and co-founder Joe Abraham. “Higher education has typically had an anti-business, anti-entrepreneurial mindset within its internal operation, and it’s about to cost a lot of careers. They’ve thought of themselves as so different and so separate, that they’ve lost the basic business fundamentals of customer-centric product design, voice-of-the-customer-driven innovation, and an agile, iterative pursuit of being fit for purpose.” 

But there is hope. Thought leaders and authentic innovators in higher education who recognized the warning signs a long time ago are sounding the alarm. Dr. Rufus Glasper, CEO of The League of Innovation in the Community College says “there is a sense of urgency for any college campus to shelve traditional strategic plans, and lift highly nimble and innovative 3, 6 and 12-month roadmaps focused on entrepreneurial transformation, and that requires new thinking,” Glasper said. “You have to establish culture where you can have the opportunity to have an ebb and flow like never before.”

Beyond Academics is helping campuses build and deploy these nimble plans for digital transformation while introducing low-cost ‘bolt-on’ technologies like its Smart Panda tools that automate labor-intensive processes, while making things like transcript portability possible within weeks, not years.

“Digital transformation is not about repaving the old roads of higher education with multi-million dollar student system installations, or synchronous classes delivered over 16-week semesters,” says Alex, “it’s about providing poly-synchronous learning, unbundling of courses into mini-artifacts that can be consumed on-demand, creating off-campus digital affinity for students – the likes of a Minecraft environment, and providing real-time transcript mobility so that students can take multiple classes across multiple schools – at the same time. That’s just the beginning of what the future of higher education looks like.” 

“Senior leadership teams are struggling to visualize the future because they’ve been in a bubble. Their teams are struggling to display entrepreneurial behavior – which is a prerequisite for authentic innovation,” says co-founder and author of Entrepreneurial DNA, Joe Abraham. “Higher education has some of the brightest minds on earth, but they need help breaking past limiting beliefs, and they need to discover the frameworks for how to design and deploy innovation in times of existential crisis. That’s what we need to help them through.”

In addition to Alex’s Future of Work platform and Abraham’s Entrepreneurial Innovation frameworks is 3rd co-founder Joel Mathew’s decades of digital media experience including running a digital marketing agency with clients like Nike, Allstate, Acura, and Rakuten. “Higher ed needs a fresh, customer-centric, and outside-the-industry approach to enrollment strategy in order to engage the digital natives of the future”, Mathews says.