Owned by Dave Watts + 1
Higher Education Thrives on Technology
WWT is committed to supporting higher education institutions in achieving the vision of lifelong learning for all beyond high school. Universities, community colleges and professional development organizations are cornerstones and lifeblood in our communities. Digital technologies are the thread that connects their leaders, students, employees, researchers, and community members. We're here to help.
Student Success & Digital Expectations
Students have sophisticated expectations about digital maturity, consistency and university-provided tools. Institutions are evolving the vision for their digital ecosystems and the "digital consumer" experiences they use to engage with students.
Faculty & Staff Make it Happen
Technology creates warm human connections between faculty and staff to operate as a connected unit for each other and their students. Tools to drive workflow, employee connection, work efficiency and organic collaboration are built through integrations between many enterprise solutions and systems.
Research Drives Innovation
Faculty, staff and student researchers have unique computing needs while also following institutional practices around data security, authentication and hardware use. Knowing how to provide researchers with autonomy, flexibility and analytics power in their work while supporting their compute needs is our specialty.
Institutional Technology & Communication
Investing in modernizing and streamlining enterprise environments is critical to scaling the institution's resources for the long haul. Institutions are designing and delivering services to meet student expectations and staff's ability to serve students in a cohesive, synergistic way.
Consider This… is a monthly rotating feature offering insight into technology within higher education.
Designing Technology for Inclusive Learning: From Digital Scarcity to Digital Abundance
Extensive research shows that a sense of belonging and importance is critical to foster in our students and is a key predictor of their academic and life success. Most software applications and technology solutions design their experiences and functionality around the user "norms", but what this does by its nature is exclude users in marginalized or unique situations. Inconsistent broadband speeds and connections, limited access to only basic or no computing equipment, having basic technical skills, learning styles that vary based on topic – these are circumstances that any person can find themselves in depending on the nature of their geography, their life situation, or their work. Shifting our solutions to accommodate and thrive in all conditions is critical which is a different way to think about design.
The most technically capable learners may find themselves in settings that offer less-than-ideal technical connections. Outskirt, rural and mountain communities often have unreliable, slow or inconsistent broadband access which affects the learner's ability to participate in video conferencing, online classes, or conduct work that requires heavy data transfer. Software applications for desktop and mobile environments should leverage text-based, lower resolution imagery where possible and functionality that does not require high bandwidth. Technology leaders can evaluate the bandwidth capability of various learning spaces - on and off campus - to determine what improvements and changes can be made to improve conditions for learners. Even physical proximity within a classroom, study space, laboratory or multi-level can affect the size and placement of displays, screens and WIFI access points so that all learners in the facility have as optimal experience as possible. Learners who are assigned to laboratories or project rooms in the basement of a concrete building should have the same connectivity as those in the main floor of a media space.
Using great software development discipline around prioritizing accessibility in development is important to ensuring that learners can thrive with our software products. WWT's Applications Services team provides great guidance on how to incorporate best practices around accessibility. https://www.wwt.com/article/prioritizing-accessibility-in-software-development
The learning spaces that a cohort of students participates in must support and engage each of the different learning styles simultaneously in order to maximize both the individual and collective success of the students. Any technologies supporting these spaces – collaboration tools and applications, different end user devices which connect (laptops, clickers, smartphones, sensors, etc.), display screens and monitors – need to support these styles effectively. The Universal Design for Learning (UDL) model provides three very distinct learning models which can prompt a variety of considerations for technologies to include.
The Bottom Line
As technology leaders, we need to think about the design of our digital solutions and technology-supported learning spaces and environments – on campuses and off – with a much different mindset for all learners to thrive.
We are working to make a difference. WWT can help your institutional IT leaders and teams to recognize and achieve their potential for success.
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