Update: As of the morning of July 13th, the first day of the summit has 40,294 registrants.
As I have written before, the ASU-hosted REMOTE summit promises to be one of the biggest and most important events in this summer of COVID. It demonstrates what a proportionate, #ResilienceNetwork-style response should be. As of last Wednesday, the summit had over 22,000 registrants.
Twenty-two thousand registrants. As of last Wednesday.
There will be 100 speakers, the vast majority of whom are expert practitioners giving practical advice about teaching in the fall. The standard talk is 15 minutes long followed by 15 minutes of Q&A. In other words, talks are just long enough to provide one or two pieces of practical advice and answer questions about how to apply. There is no room for fluff. The summit agenda is rich, diverse, and practically focused. There will also be a track for open-ended coaching, spaces for networking, and more.
And yet, try to find an article about it in the higher ed press.
Go ahead. I’ll wait.
I tried half a dozen different ways of searching and basically came up with nothing. The Chronicle and Times Higher Education (THE) are both listed as “Media Partners.” There was one article in THE that was too early to have anything of substance and was mostly an interview with Michael Crow. The summit didn’t even have a name when the article ran. It won’t show up in searches, and if you read the article, you could easily miss that there even was a summit. When I search the Chronicle for coverage, I find nothing. Nada. Zip. Same for Inside Higher Ed (IHE), (though IHE has some sort of partnership with THE, so maybe they figure they have it covered that way).
You can find tons and tons of articles, surveys, and opinion pieces in these publications about how universities are not prepared for the fall. And yet, here is an event of epic scale which is designed to help universities prepare for the fall, and they can’t run an article about it? Not one? Given what all the survey results and hand-wringing quotes in the reporting and anxiety-riddled opinion pieces, doesn’t it seem logical that their readers might like to know about a free event that could help in advance of that event?
There will likely be some after-the-fact coverage. I suppose that’s better than nothing since the talks will be available on video. But there were, as of last Wednesday, 78,000 open seats still available for the conference. Instead of publishing the 397th survey about how anxious everybody is, why not write about a massive, unprecedented effort to do something about it?
The higher education press has always struggled to figure out how to cover technology-enabled education. While there have been various experiments over the years, in the end, both The Chronicle and IHE settled on the main strategy of publishing specialized newsletters, essentially treating the topic like one more niche, along with topics like admissions and marketing. But technology-enabled education isn’t a sideshow now. It’s the show. It is time for these publications to fundamentally rethink their approaches to coverage.