These are notes from a talk by Mark Greenfield titled “The .edu Manifesto” during the HighEdWeb 2015. University of Buffalo
We’ve made a lot of progress, but still have more to do.
1. Why the web and digital matters to higher education
- We take the web for granted.
- University of Nebraska - 1.2 million visitors in a month (over 7M pageviews)
- 149,512 - the hours spent on the university’s website in one month.
- What would happen if your website disappeared tomorrow? Could your campus still function?
- What will change?
- The move from atoms to bits
- Being Digital (book)
- Everything that can become digital will become digital
- The digital campus (teaching with technology)
- What is the location of your campus? Not too long from now, the website will be the “location” of the campus.
- Higher education is getting flattened
- Tom Friedman’s book “The World is Flat”; technology can make some industries obsolete.
- Higher education is not likely to be obsolete, but I could become unrecognizable.
- Deferred maintenance: the campuses are crumbling.
- Digital is an opportunity to do things much more efficiently to improve our business models
- The coming of the iGeneration: Student expectations are going to grow exponentially.
- The move from atoms to bits
2. What we are doing wrong
- Tremendous progress, but still a long way to go.
- Mark’s blog post “True of False: Most College Web Sites Are Bad”
- Hubris: stick your head in the sand and don’t think anything bad could happen. We are not too big to fail
- Unique organizational structures and politics: it is in your best interest to understand how these structures work.
- Over reliance on consensus decision making: with technology changing at exponential rates, it takes too long and often results in compromise.
- Smashing Magazine - “Why Design By Committee Should Die”
- Decisions are made on power, rather than expertise. Perhaps more prevalent in Higher Ed than most other verticals.
- Hick’s Law- The time it takes for a person to make a decision as a reult of the possible choices he or she has: increasing the number of choices will increase the decision making time exponentially.
- Everytime you add an element to a webpage, every other element on the page is less importance.
- The Web is Not a Project: a project has an ending.
3. How we can fix it.
- Embrace your internal digital experts
- Everyone should know what you don’t know
- Replace consensus decision making with RACI Matrix
- R: Responsible- for performing the work
- A: Accountable- for the final decision making authority
- C: Consulted- will provide information and feedback
- I: Informed- who are kept informed
- Work closer with each other. “Managing Chaos”
- Embrace the Post Launch Paradigm: once your whatever goes live, that is when the real work begins.
- Is it asking too much for an institution of higher learning not to have spelling errors? It is a business risk, studies show some people will ch
- Is your website better today than it was yesterday?
- Practice Good strategy, eliminate bad strategy “Good Strategy Bad Strategy”
- Actionable steps to leverage strengths to meet challenges
- Holistic edu web site: intersection of Academics, MarCom, and Services.
- Focus on value and return on investment: as you think about the work you are doing, are you actually working to solve problems?
- User experience should be a priority
- The $300 Million Dollar Button
- For many people, the process of visiting a college is still a challenge.
How good is good enough?
- What keeps your college president up at night?
- The View From the Top: the web can help address every one of these points.
- “Time to start Thinking”: Higher education used to be a public good, to build an educated workforce. Today, the focus is all personal, for me to get a better job.
Working in Higher Education
- Go to your graduation ceremonies!
Web Developer at Benedictine University near Chicago