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Getting digital in higher education is required

A couple of weeks ago I was giving a talk on digital identity to a room full of educators from a variety of higher education institutions.

During the Q&A portion of the presentation, two participants expressed frustration with how effective use of social media took a lot of time and that their senior leaders weren't supporting their digital engagement initiatives. Their challenge was that they were having a lot of success getting students to engage with them via social media, but their efforts were framed as being an addition to their "normal work." They asked me if I had any ideas to help them with their situation. My first thought was to recommend that they "rewrite their job description so that it fits with 2015 job requirements/tactics."

This is an all-too-common issue in higher education...job requirements change, people find ways to support their students using the tools/strategies of today, and yet senior leaders don't support their efforts because of outdated job descriptions.

Folks, it's time to get digital. All of us. Top down, bottom up...the entire organization needs to be fluent with using current technologies to teach, support, and engage students.

When every individual in an organization gets digital, the entire organization benefits. In higher education, being digitally capable has to be required. We're still talking about "digital champions" in 2015. Enhanced digital literacy is something that we know will benefit our students and yet as professionals, we still struggle with finding even a baseline of digital proficiency. Let's rewrite job descriptions. Let's teach one another how to use the tools to enhance our practice. Let's brush aside fear of technology and focus on the joy of always learning.

Most students are paying a lot of money for their higher education. They deserve a tremendous experience. It's unacceptable for anyone who works in higher education to be anti-technology or digitally underdeveloped. Get digital or get out of the way.

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