In a world…in which unthinkable disasters plague colleges and universities…

It’s a long-standing joke that many action and disaster film movie trailers begin with a deep-voice providing the harbinger of doom with the introduction “in a world…”. Arising from the smokey flames come our story’s heroes. Hey, they look like instructional designers, higher ed administrators, and faculty! The recent photos and videos from the west coast fires would make a perfect backdrop for that deep-voiced, apocalyptic opening.

WCET is here to help you and this post gives you a sneak peek at what WCET is planning for you on the near horizon. In a world where you are always tackling the next problem, WCET is here to provide you with the hope and help you need to clear that smoke.

Recently Released

Before getting to the coming attractions, there are a couple activities that are new within the last week that you should know about…

Every Learner Everywhere’s Equity Equation

a young person uses a laptop. Text reads "be a part of the equity equation" with the every learner everywhere logo

Every Learner Everywhere is a Network of 14 organizations with the mission to advocate for equitable outcomes in U.S. higher education through advances in digital learning. Funded by grants, WICHE and WCET serve as the backbone/intermediary for their efforts.

The “Equity Equation” is a call for higher education to do better with Black, LatinX, and Indigenous students and how digital learning can be part of the solution. It begins with conversations with students that were held with Every Learner Director Jessica Williams. The web page leads you to equity tools and connections with equity experts.

New COVID-19 Focused “Policy Playbook”

cover for the policy playbook with title and author logos.

Earlier this summer, Every Learner Everywhere released a Faculty Playbook written by OLC and APLU to help faculty address the transition to digital formats.

As a companion piece, WCET was engaged by Every Learner Everywhere to create a new publication Pursuing Regulatory Compliance for Digital Instruction in Response to Covid-19: Policy Playbook.

As courses shift into digital formats (e.g., online, remote, blended, hyflex), there are different state or federal regulations and accrediting rules that come into play.

This Playbook is aimed at administrators to help them identify those policies, the possible impact on the institution, and resources in how to address keeping the institution in compliance.

New Report from WCET and Bay View Analytics on OER Initiatives

cover of OER report

The Impact of Open Educational Resources (OER) Initiatives on Faculty Selection of Classroom Materials, a new report co-written by WCET’s Director of Open Policy, Tanya Spilovoy, and based on a survey
from Bay View Analytics, looks at the increase in faculty choosing OER
over traditional textbooks.

The increase in adoption correlates in part with an increase in faculty awareness for OER initiatives.

Coming Attractions

Webcast: OER Challenges and Opportunities

With expert panelists Elaine Thornton, Will Cross, and Jennryn Wetzler and moderated by WCET’s Director of Open Policy, Tanya Spilovoy, we will explore a variety of topics related to Open Educational Resources for the Fall term, including:
• OER and distance education.
• Guidance on where to find quality OER materials.
• Inclusivity and diversity resources in OER.

Register today for “OER Challenges and Opportunities” on Thursday, September 24
2:00 PM EDT / 1:00 PM CDT / Noon MDT / 11:00 AM PDT & Arizona / 10:00 AM Alaska / 8:00 AM Hawaii

WCET Annual Meeting Goes Virtual

Not only is WCET going virtual this fall, but we are also trying out a “seminar” format that spreads the sessions out, is more engaging, and helps to avoid the dreaded Zoom fatigue. It is also less expensive for you to register and to include others from your institution!

The two seminar series dates and topics:

  • October 6 – 15, on Tuesday – Thursday of each week: Inclusiveness in Higher Education: From Notion to Action
  • November 2 – 12, on Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday of each week: The Value of Higher Education and What the Future of Education Could Be

Each seminar series includes:

  • Research-based panel perspectives with key takeaways.
  • Opportunities for participants to share stories, advice, and reflections through breakout sessions and networking venues.
  • Open discussions around challenges and lessons learned with sessions led by subject matter experts and WCET members.
  • Strategic work groups: focused collaborations on developing guides, checklists, etc., for tackling challenges.
  • Topic overview resources and guides.

Register and join us in October and November. Each seminar has separate registration allowing you to attend one or both. Watch for fun side activities, as well.

visual of the Annual meeting seminar series dates

WCET Member Survey

Oh boy! Another survey!

We know to keep it short and to the point. Your feedback and guidance really help us in setting our agenda for the coming months. We’re very interested in what services you like the best and what we can be doing to help you in the future. We will be sending this survey out in the next few weeks.

wcetMIX – Moving Beyond Just a Place for our WCETNews and WCET Discuss Lists

If you haven’t seen our feature film… I mean the WCET member only online community platform…, you’re in luck! Here’s your ticket!

wcetMIX is the place to discuss important topics and ideas and to share news, announcements, articles, and events. MIX provides the opportunity for member engagement, community building opportunities, and options for finding and using the archives of our WCETDiscuss and WCETNews email lists.

This spring, wcetMIX housed our virtual Policy Summit (which was moved online due to the pandemic) and is currently hosting a newcomer’s experience program for new state authorization coordinators. We also have questions daily in our DISCUSS community from other WCET members, here’s some recent topics:

WCET MIX circle logo with the word "wcet mix"
  • Proctoring policies and privacy concerns,
  • Licensure boards,
  • Lecture capture installations,
  • Sharing/exchange programs for online courses,
  • Tracking student outcomes by group,
  • And more!

Upcoming plans for MIX:

We have some fun happenings for MIX coming up this year, including an ambassadors program, unique activities that will take place through the platform like scavenger hunts, and new communities focused on specific segments of our membership such as up-and-coming higher education leaders.

If you want to learn more about using MIX, visit our FAQ page.

Updated Research Toolkit

Tanya Joosten and the National Research Center for Distance Education and Technological Advancement (DETA) created a great Research Toolkit (see the currently published version). Its purpose is to help researchers “gather data to better understand the key factors in distance education courses and programs that are impacting student success, in particular for minorities, first generation students, and students with disabilities.”

WCET teamed with DETA to update the Toolkit with resources pertinent for a COVID-19 world. Many thanks to Every Learner Everywhere for funding this update. The new, improved Toolkit will be released soon. We will keep you informed. 

An Update to the WCET Website

This is still very preliminary, but we are overdue for an update to our website. Watch for more as we seek your input and make improvements.

Sit Back, Turn off Your Cell Phones, and Get Ready for the Movie

popcorn in popcorn boxes

Now that we are through with the coming attractions, we hope that you have your popcorn and drinks and are ready for the action/adventure thriller that is higher education in 2020.

And if you need some inspiration, our friend Shakespeare provides the inspirational words that you need in Henry V. Time to go “once more unto the breach!”



Russ Poulin

Executive Director, WCET & Vice President for Technology-Enhanced Education, WICHE


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