7 key ways to help returning adult learners succeed

The rapid convergence of information and technology, the increased move towards automation and AI, and the changes in employment opportunities and environment caused by the pandemic have all accelerated the need for working adults who have some college credit but have not completed a degree to gain additional credentials.

While universities may well view these potential students as an attractive demographic to pursue–especially as they struggle with decreases in the “traditional” student population–there are specific aspects of difference that must be kept in mind if the needs of returning adult learners are to be met adequately, absent which these students are unlikely to attend public universities.

1. Recognize that they are different from “traditional” students
It is crucial that we recognize that adult learners, and especially those returning to gain a degree after years of experience in the workforce, have different needs and expectations from an 18-year-old. Their time is valuable; they come with tremendous real-world experience that is equivalent to, and often exceeds, a lot of coursework. Their expectations regarding the value proposition of time spent in gaining knowledge are justifiably high.

Unlike the 18-year-old in awe of an older instructor, these students are not overcome by titles and qualifications but come expecting the development of skills and talent, and the acquisition of knowledge, that will help them break through the glass barrier created by their lack of degree or accelerate their professional advancement by use of new knowledge.

These differences need to be recognized and addressed as related to the overall student experience.


First-Ever Study of Top Earners At America’S Elite Universities Shows Women of Color Almost Nonexistent

When it comes to narrowing the power and pay gaps by improving diversity among top-compensated employees, the nation’s elite universities have a lot of work to do, as women make up less than a quarter of top earners at these institutions and women of color are nearly nonexistent. That is according to a first-of-its kind study by the Women’s Power Gap Initiative (WPG) at the Eos Foundation, and the American Association of University Women (AAUW).

The study, The Power Gap among Top Earners at America’s Elite Universities, examines gender, race, and ethnicity among ten most highly compensated employees at each of the nation’s 130 major research institutions. The report found only 11 colleges and universities (8.4%) have gender parity when it comes to top earners while just two institutions have attained racial/ethnic parity. Eight schools have no women among their top earners. The report is available via this link on the Women’s Power Gap Initiative’s website.

Key findings include:

  • While women of color receive 16% of all PhDs, medical, and law degrees, they comprise just 2.5% of the top earners. Black and Hispanic men are also underrepresented at approximately 3% each.

  • Fewer than a quarter of top earners are women.
    • Overall, women account for only 24% of the most highly compensated core employees (administrators and faculty) among our nation’s top research universities.
  • Lack of transparency impedes accountability and progress.
    • While most public universities are required by state law to make compensation data available publicly, they do not have to provide diversity data with respect to compensation, even in aggregate percentages. Private university information is even harder to come by.

“Money equates to power,” said Andrea Silbert, President of Eos and lead author of the report. “This is not a pay gap study, this is about who is making the big money at the top, and ultimately, who has the power. It’s highly disturbing that so few women, and almost no women of color, are represented among the highest earners, which of course is where the power lies.”

“Academic leadership pays so much lip service to the importance of diversity and inclusion, so it’s especially disheartening to look at this data and realize how far we still have to go,” says Kimberly Churches, CEO of AAUW.  “This report is a sharp reminder that it will take proactive and intentional steps to improve this dismal representation of women and people of color in hiring, promotion and retention practices. We need action, we need accountability, and we need more than hashtags about equity, diversity and inclusion.”

While much effort has been on equal pay for equal work in higher education, this first-ever examination of top earners pulls back the curtain on the massive pay disparity between men and women while providing a different focus for change efforts.

The Power Gap among Top Earners at America’s Elite Universities outlines solutions, including urging state and federal leaders to push for greater transparency of diversity data at the university level.

“We think of education as a great equalizer, and we look to our elite universities to provide moral leadership and to model best practices,” Silbert continued. “Higher ed should and could be the first industry in the country to hit gender parity. What kind of example would that send to Corporate America if half of all university presidents were women? We could hit that goal within the next 5-10 years.”


About the Women’s Power Gap Initiative: The Women’s Power Gap Initiative aims to dramatically increase the number of women from diverse backgrounds among CEO and C-suite leaders nationally. We conduct and commission actionable research on prominent sectors of the economy and measure the extent of the power and pay gaps at the company or institutional level to highlight those making fast progress, and those falling behind. The second report in this series Women’s Power Gap in America’s Elite Universities: Study and Rankings will be released in the Fall of 2021.


About the American Association of University Women: Founded in 1881, AAUW is a leading non-profit that advances equity for women and girls through advocacy, education and research. AAUW’s main goals include closing the gender pay gap, promoting women’s leadership, opening more pathways for girls and women of color and ensuring equal access to affordable education, especially in the STEM fields. AAUW is one of the world’s leading supporters of graduate women’s education, having awarded more than $115 million in fellowships, grants and awards to 13,000 recipients from 145 countries. The organization has a nationwide network of 170,000 members and supporters, 1,000 local branches and 800 college and university partners.



How healthcare simulation supports medical education

Healthcare simulation is the modern way to educate and train healthcare professionals to master cognitive, technical, and behavioral skill sets through technologically advanced crafted experiences. The term healthcare simulation is also commonly referred to as medical simulation or, in specific circumstances, surgical simulation and nursing simulation.

How does the healthcare simulation methodology work? The process begins in a fully immersive scenario where a manikin typically acts as the patient. Usually, moulage medical makeup (such as a burn wound) is applied to the medical simulator to provide for the most realistic patient presentation. While being wirelessly controlled by a healthcare simulation educator during the experiential scenario, the learner (student or professional) is expected to perform all necessary practices or procedures on the patient simulator.

The scenario participants then manipulate the human patient simulator and their healthcare environment, and the actions and results are digitally streamed live to other learners through audiovisual debriefing systems. The purpose of this video stream is also so that a recording is available for playback during the clinical simulation debriefing process. The ability to recap performances is vital to the overall learning process, as this analytical conversation helps to equally address errors and highlight success.


Is hybrid learning here to stay?

Institutions turning to a hybrid learning approach during COVID-19 could be on their way to becoming more student-centered, according to a new report.

Research from Deloitte’s Center for Higher Education Excellence and Strada Education Network explores changes in three critical areas–academic affairs, student success, and the campus workforce–that may contribute to a more permanent hybrid model at universities.

COVID-19 forced an abrupt shift to online learning on campuses across the globe, and with that shift came an increased focus on longstanding issues such as tech infrastructure and financial sustainability.

But “in the long term, however, the staggering disruption to higher education’s traditional residential, face-to-face delivery model may also have an upside: a radical reimagining of the way colleges and universities conduct operations and serve their students,” according to the report.


Audinate’s Dante Adds Confidence and At-Home Capabilities to Broadcasts at The University of Miami

Prior to 2020, The University of Miami redesigned its live sports production workflows to ensure all audio feeds were on the network with Audinate’s Dante. From field mics to mixers – and from basketball to soccer – the University made the choice to trust Dante for all audio-over-IP capabilities.

“We don’t have a single XLR patch anywhere in our workflow,” said Anthony Lestochi, Director of Production Services at the university. “Moving to Dante was clearly the better way to operate. It made building out our production really easy and effective. And, when COVID happened, Dante made it easy to quickly adapt.”

Audinate’s Dante is the de facto standard for digital audio networking, and distributes hundreds of uncompressed, multi-channel digital audio channels via standard Ethernet networks, with near-zero latency and perfect synchronization. Dante allows audio, control, and all other data to coexist effectively on the same network.

Dante has also proven its flexibility over the course of 2020. As productions needed to drastically alter their approach to adhere to COVID-19 safety guidelines, the ability to use Dante audio-over-IP as a connective fabric was a crucial enabler.

Dante at the core of a broadcast

“When we looked to bring production back, the first thing we did was knock walls down in our control room,” Lestochi said. “We totally rearranged the space and put up new physical barriers to allow for effective social distancing in the new control room. Because it was a Dante-backed system, we could run all of our new positions for equipment onto the network and know it would work quickly. It was a very easy change, and one that wouldn’t have been so quick if we were using traditional cabling.”

The control room continues to make use of the same broadcast technology in place prior to the change in physical layout. Two Yamaha CL5 mixing consoles and a Behringer X32 mixing console provide all mix capabilities for the many Dante signals on the network.

Field and announcer microphones located on site are made Dante-native using Shure ANI4IN audio network interfaces. Multiple Studio Technologies 45DR Dante to 2-Channel Party-Line Intercom Interfaces – which are Dante native – are also used to allow two-way communication.

In total, Lestochi says there are roughly 60 Dante devices in use in the production – and on any given day, multiple productions can take place with around 100 Dante signals running seamlessly across the local network.

Of course, that’s just for the on-site capabilities. In the University of Miami’s broadcast buildout, Dante is also working from home.

Rethinking broadcast workflows with Dante

Remote announcers have become increasingly common as a result of COVID-19 social distancing and travel recommendations. Lestochi said it’s a practice that many viewers likely don’t even realize is taking place.

The Miami production team’s largest events are men’s and women’s basketball in the winter season – and to produce them, Dante is heading into the home.

Glensound Inferno commentator’s boxes – which are Dante-native kits built specifically for live announcer commentary – are sent to an announcer’s home. The system then interfaces with an in-home Mac computer using Dante Virtual Soundcard and Unity Connect software – which facilitates sending a Dante signal at the highest possible quality over the public internet.

“That setup allows for bidirectional channels and two-way communication,” Lestochi said. “The talent can talk to each other as they watch the game, and the director and producer can also talk with the talent. Without that setup it would be nearly impossible for us to do this. It enables the talent to work the games from their home without much difference in the quality of the broadcast.”

The control room located on The University of Miami campus brings in the audio signal and provides mixing and audio-to-video embedding – using an Evertz Scorpion-4 Media Processing Platform – before sending the final product via a direct line to the university’s production partner.

Confidence by Dante

Lestochi considered what it would require to make the same changes had the university not utilized Dante.

“It would definitely be a lot more expensive and require a lot more hardware and cabling,” he said. “And the management of the system, and some of the technical aspects to the audio signals, would be very, very tricky if we were doing this with copper. It would likely be far too complex to feasibly do.”

Lestochi said with Dante, not only were changes made rapidly and affordably, but the system allowed for considerations on how to best manage the increasingly remote nature of the work. For example: Lestochi said he can log in to a university system remotely from his house and quickly make a change on Dante Controller software to ensure the system is working effectively.

“It’s those little moments in the process where you realize how much you’ve gained with Dante,” he said. “All of it comes down to confidence. And we have a lot of that right now with our system.”


About Audinate Group Limited:

Audinate Group Ltd (ASX:AD8) has a vision to pioneer the future of AV. Audinate’s award winning Dante AV over IP networking solution is the worldwide leader and used extensively in the professional live sound, commercial installation, broadcast, public address, and recording industries. Dante replaces traditional analogue cables by transmitting perfectly synchronized audio and video signals across large distances, to multiple locations at once, using nothing more than an Ethernet cable. Audinate is headquartered in Australia and has regional offices in the United States, United Kingdom and Hong Kong. Dante technology powers products available from hundreds of leading AV manufacturers around the world. The company’s ordinary shares are traded on the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) under the ticker code AD8.


Dante and Audinate are registered trademarks of Audinate Group Ltd.


Why the right AV is critical for remote learning

This summer posed some unique challenges for colleges and universities across the country, as many needed to act quickly to implement the right AV technology solutions to help faculty create collaborative and engaging learning experiences, regardless of whether or not students would be physically present in the classroom.

Here at Pepperdine University, we were already planning an upgrade and needed to make sure our latest deployment factored in the possibility of all learning models – in-person, hybrid, and online– given the uncertainty of the upcoming academic year.

We needed a solution that was easy to operate, could provide faculty with engaging learning environments, and could accommodate any combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning. In the end, we decided to implement ClearTech’s EduFLEX solution with Panasonic’s AW-HE38H Pan/Tilt/Zoom (PTZ) cameras for their simple installation and maintenance, ease-of-use, and compatibility with our existing AV equipment.

Overall, the research and deployment process gave us some important insights into how we will need to think about AV upgrade plans for the coming years.

Adhering to a wide range of faculty input

We found it was critical to begin our research process by seeking input from the faculty who would be using the technology on a daily basis. Because faculty typically teach in different classrooms, we needed to make sure the technology was consistent from room to room, allowing for easy set-up and minimal technical disruptions to the student learning experience.


Saliva-based COVID-19 testing? There’s an app for that

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln (UNL) has implemented a saliva PCR test for COVID-19 for the spring 2021 semester as part of a program to safely return to on-campus learning.

All students, faculty and staff who need to be physically on campus are required to have three tests, spaced 10 days apart. Testing began on January 19. The tests are being processed at the university’s Nebraska Veterinary Diagnostic Center.

As of mid-February, almost everyone has completed at least two if not all three rounds of tests, according to Nate Morris, services lead, ITS, for the university. Morris said that university leadership will be looking at the test results and will be determining if more testing will be required, whether randomized or for everyone or for certain populations, and on what frequency. Those who would like to still be tested can do so.

The testing is free for students, faculty, and staff.


5 ways to create online courses that improve retention

Think back to the last online courses you completed. Do you remember what the learning objectives were? How were you assessed? How were you able to apply the content after completing the courses?

If you’re struggling to remember these basic aspects of the last course you completed, the course design could likely benefit from some improvement. Now ask yourself this question: What am I doing differently as a teacher or faculty member to create better learning experiences for my students?

Asynchronous online learning differs in one obvious way from traditional classroom learning: the teachers and students don’t have live, real-time interactions. However, this is no excuse for creating uninspiring, unengaging “Click Next” style eLearning courses that are completely forgettable and are far from meaningful learning experiences.

Try applying the following strategies the next time you create an online course to lead to higher student engagement throughout the learning experience and higher retention of the content after course completion.

Strategy 1: Apply the basic principles of instructional design

As an educator, you’re already familiar with the basics: write clear, measurable learning objectives, align your content to the objectives, and create assessments that measure students’ knowledge and skill relating to the objectives. And what about online course development? Is it completely different?


5 ways IT departments can elevate the student experience

When the pandemic began a year ago, it brought unforeseen problems and changes to every industry, but especially to higher education. Schools everywhere suddenly experienced upheaval as full remote online learning or a hybrid of in-person/online learning became the “new normal.”

Before the pandemic, analysts projected that the global e-learning market expansion would reach a whopping $336.98 billion by 2026, and forecasts predicted e-learning in the United States was expected to reach $6.22 billion in 2022. Now, nearly a year into the global pandemic, the global e-learning market expansion is expected to exceed these numbers.

More than 19 million college students have chosen to continue their studies remotely instead of on campus. As a result, information technology departments now play a critical role in the student and faculty experience–this goes far beyond typical network and ticketing requests. Unfortunately, many IT departments in higher education were not properly prepared to accommodate the first wave and 159 percent increase in remote work from 2004 – 2017. Therefore, they had to catch up to accommodate today’s rapid, forced demand.


3 ways to engage remote students and donors with immersive content

Higher education organizations have traditionally been slower to adopt technology and embrace digital transformation than others. But this last year has forced higher education institutions–both four-year colleges and universities and community colleges–to accelerate their digital efforts. Practically overnight, their online presence became their only presence. Without in-person classes or campus events, organizations must adopt a robust digital presence in order to engage their students, prospects, and donors online. Failure to adapt means potentially losing the students and funding that keep the doors open. It’s that simple.

Organizations can make a deeper, more meaningful connection with their audience and leave a lasting impression through immersive content like engaging website landing pages. Here are three ways organizations can reap the benefits of an immersive content strategy.

Show students and parents a sophisticated, state-of-the-art digital experience

They say you never get a second chance to make a first impression, and that applies to colleges and universities looking to attract students and their families. First impressions are everything, and that begins with your initial touchpoint with prospective students. How will you grab their attention and hold onto it for the years they’ll be attending? How will your online presence show that you’re providing a creative, technologically-advanced learning environment?