During the program, learners are expected to dedicate approximately 4-5 hours per week (synchronous and asynchronous) to have an engaged and successful learning experience. We ask that participants actively plan the time they will spend on the institute each week, even on a daily basis.

Once a week, we will hold a live, synchronous online meeting to discuss resources, activities, and projects in support of the five competencies. These meetings will be a combination of short talks, discussion, and opportunities for questions. We highly recommend you attend all live sessions.

All sessions will be on Tuesdays, 3–4:30 p.m. ET.

  • Week 1: Tuesday, April 9
  • Week2: Tuesday, April 16
  • Week3: Tuesday, April 23
  • Week 4: Tuesday, April 30
  • Week 5: Tuesday, May 7
  • Week 6: Tuesday, May 14
  • Week 7: Tuesday, May 21
  • Week 8: Tuesday, May 28
  • Week 9: Tuesday, June 4 (Break Week – No Live Session)
  • Week 10: Tuesday, June 11
  • Week 11: Tuesday, June 18

Digital Learning Leaders Institute Competencies

Competency 1: Implementing Digital Transformation in Higher Education

Digital transformation (Dx) is a series of deep and coordinated culture, workforce, and technology shifts that enable new educational and operating models and transform an institution's business model, strategic directions, and value proposition. The next generation of higher education leaders will need to understand how to transform their organizations so they can prepare and support their institutions to be more resilient, flexible, and relevant as they face an array of increasingly difficult challenges. This competency allows you to design Dx strategies within the context of higher education. Examples of Dx in practice will be explored, as will how to lead Dx through discussions and the development of a Dx strategy for your unit.

By the end of this competency, you will be able to:

  • Explain the process of Dx and how it applies to your institution.
  • Examine how prepared your institution’s culture, workforce, and technology is for Dx.
  • Foster a discussion within the context of learning technologies with various stakeholders at your institution.
  • Create one strategy focusing on Dx and learning technologies with an implementation plan.

Competency 2: Academic Communication

Effective communication and networking are essential leadership skills in higher education. Because each institution has a unique culture, it is vital for emerging leaders to understand basic communication principles and apply these techniques in different workplace settings. Though certain aspects of communication are universal, it is important to remain cognizant of the needs of each stakeholder across your institution. This allows you to communicate clearly during difficult conversations, build relationships, and collaborate effectively.

By the end of this competency, you will be able to:

  • Communication Styles: Analyze communication styles used in different workplace situations
  • Communicating with Campus Stakeholders: Identify communication strategies to engage stakeholders across campus
  • Project Collaboration: Identify methods of promoting cross-institutional partnerships and collaboration
  • Engaging in Difficult Conversations: Practice communication skills during difficult conversations
  • Relationship Management: Identify communication practices that strengthen trust with internal and external partners

Competency 3: Leading Digital Initiatives and Projects

Contemporary project management dates back more than a century. However, it has overlapped with and informed leading digital initiatives more in recent years. Project management now intersects with nearly every aspect of the learning organization, and nearly every position; from planning, execution, lifecycle, management, controlling, and finally closure. Developing project plans, managing personnel, controlling for risks, and monitoring performance are now considered essential competencies for digital learning leaders in higher education. Regardless of your role, you are responsible for the success of your projects and initiatives.

By the end of this competency, you will be able to:

  • Discuss strategies for developing and leading high-performing project teams
  • Use planning techniques to determine the appropriate project management methodology for the work environment
  • Apply project management skills to ensure digital initiatives account for budget, stakeholders, and deliverables
  • Assess strategies for reducing risk and monitoring the progress of digital initiatives
  • Analyze continuous improvement processes to ensure the long-term success of digital initiatives

Competency 4: A Data-Empowered Approach

Data and business analytics are critical components of effective decision-making in higher education. Data provide insight into the challenges faced throughout the institution, allowing leaders to appropriately allocate resources to produce desired results. However, data alone cannot solve organizational issues. Decisions come ultimately from people. IT leaders play important roles in collecting, analyzing, and interpreting data. This competency focuses on the human processes that turn otherwise meaningless factoids into useful and actionable information.

By the end of this competency, you will be able to:

  • Find and interrogate local and national sources of teaching-and-learning data to support work across the institution.
  • Articulate at least three security and privacy issues that intersect with teaching and learning.
  • Apply data to support institutional decision-making and justify recommendations on organizational initiatives.
  • Effectively communicate with institutional stakeholders using at least two best practices of data visualization and presentation delivery.

Competency 5: Leadership Applications

As a digital learning leader, you must consider a multitude of factors when making decisions, influencing change, leading initiatives, and effectively communicating with others. As we’ve explored so far in the institute, each area requires thoughtfulness and particular understanding. In this final competency, you will practice applying all of these areas of digital leadership practice in a holistic way—using case studies, your own real-world situations, or applied-research scenarios in order to effect transformational changes for yourself, your direct reports, and your institution.

By the end of this competency, you will be able to:

  • Frame Leadership Opportunities and Barriers. Discuss the practice of digital-learning leadership, and define opportunities, strengths, barriers, and areas for growth.
  • Build Diverse Teams. Describe and apply principles of leading diverse teams to accomplish institutional digital learning goals.
  • Define Your Leadership Approach. Articulate a clear personal leadership statement for the digital learning context.
  • Practice Team Leadership. Envision an ideal digital learning team or network, and describe the needs for each team or network member.