Page 45 - Campus Technology, May/June 2018
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C-Level View
On Change and Relevance for Higher Education
Phil Long, a veteran strategist in technology and learning, comments on higher education’s challenge to stay relevant in a rapidly changing world. By Mary Grush
Phil Long is the chief innovation officer
and associate vice provost for learning sciences at the University of Texas, Austin. Previously, his career has led him
to other leadership positions in technology and learning — at MIT, the University of Queensland (Australia) and Seton Hall University (NJ) — with most posts including associated professorial duties. His work
with numerous professional associations and publications, such as the Association for Authentic, Experiential, and Evidence- Based Learning, IMS Global Learning Consortium, New Media Consortium, edX and others has also provided him with exceptional exposure and access to the trends and forces that shape education’s technology landscape. His freshly minted
consulting company, RHz Consulting,
will allow him to focus even more on his “passion projects” — those that augment learning while benefitting society. Here, we asked him for his perspectives on the most challenging questions for higher education institutions today.
Campus Technology: You’ve been con- nected to scores of technology leaders and have watched trends in higher edu- cation for more than 30 years. What is the central concern you are hearing from institutional leadership now?
Phil Long: Higher ed institutions are facing some serious challenges to stay relevant
in a world that is diversifying and changing rapidly. They want to make sure that the ex- periences they have designed for students
will carry the next generation forward to be productive citizens and workers. But institu- tions’ abilities to keep up in our changing environment have begun to lag to a suf- ficient degree, such that alternatives to the traditional university are being considered, both by the institutions themselves and by their constituents and colleagues through- out the education sector.
CT: What sort of alternatives? Is there a key role for technology?
Long: Alternatives are being sought to the ways in which one gets updated in one’s skill sets, in order to produce knowledge and work that’s socially beneficial and eco- nomically desirable. That’s only the broad- est answer to your question about alterna- tives, though. Of course it goes deeper.4
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