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CIOs, Leadership, and MOOCs
CIOs, Leadership, and MOOCs
Many in the higher education community are excited about the opportunities presented by new learning modalities, particularly MOOCs. On many campuses, CIOs are part of the conversation about MOOCs, but, as we know, the role of CIO is hardly consistent across all of higher education. On some campuses, CIOs are part of the campus leadership team evaluating or planning for MOOCs. At other institutions, CIOs might be involved in the creation of MOOC courses. And on some campuses, MOOCs are seen as strictly a pedagogical issue with no involvement for the CIO.
Recent discussion on the EDUCAUSE CIO discussion list indicates that CIOs have a lot to say about MOOCs and educational delivery through technology. Observations about MOOCs appeared on the CIO list during the summer of 2012, including a post that noted a question from Bryson Payne, CIO at North Georgia College and State University: What would the next CIO do? One of the responses, from James Dutcher, chair of the SUNY Council of CIOs, mentioned “badges, MOOCS, and the overall unbundling of higher education.” Many thoughtful ideas followed as to whether MOOCs are a disruptive technology or another avenue of pedagogical evolution and whether MOOCs are a technological or a pedagogical issue. That conversation continued into early 2013 and grew in its depth and reach, and CIOs began to review, evaluate, and explore the role of the CIO in the MOOC model.
I am drawn to recent comments from retiring NASA CIO Linda Cureton about her experiences learning about leadership from Gloria Parker, former HUD CIO:
- There is the technical component like the enterprise architecture delivery.
- There is a leadership component. You have to learn to interface with the executive ranks of the agency and balancing the demands of [the Office of Management and Budget] with the mission.
- There is the people component. You need to develop people skills to persuade, cajole, and beg with folks to accomplish your agenda.
With MOOCs, too, there is a technical component, a leadership component, and a people component. Governance processes are needed for the transition to MOOC delivery, just as with all our campus technology culture changes.
The best and brightest CIO minds provided a terrific amount of information that should be shared as our campuses look at new directions. I took all of the CIO discussion to date and turned statements and concerns into questions suitable for our academic leadership and governance mechanisms. The result is a strong list of questions, generated by the CIO community, that can be used to open discussion called MOOC Planning: 50 Plus Questions to Answer.
This is a great opportunity for CIOs to open the discussion on our campuses, and to lead the discussion in some campus cultures. Are the questions in the document the right 50+ to ask? Please give us your feedback in the comments below!