About a year after much of the world went into lockdown during the pandemic, virtual learning is still the only format for many schools across the country. Some campuses have announced a hybrid format to facilitate a mix of in-person and online learning. Moreover, virtual learning options for adults in continuing education have surged in recent months. From video conference lighting to cyber security, standards are behind the scenes to support the accessories and necessities that make e-learning a success for all.
According to Inside Higher Ed, interest among Americans is growing in short-term, online credentials amid the pandemic. Online and non-degree programs are growing at a rapid pace too. Some of the "primary draws" for alternative credentials are courses on disruptive technology (blockchain and financial tech), functional job skills (digital marketing), and soft skills around leadership.
As ANSI-affiliate Workcred recently revealed in its new report, credentials can be a valuable asset to this segment of workers. And to that end, Workcred also offers resources and reports that showcase how quality credentials support career pathways for all types of workers.
For everyone from the youngest students to those returning for a new credential, prepping for school looks a lot different these days, and typically involves a few home office essentials. Various standards facilitate an optimal virtual learning environment for at-home or hybrid classrooms.
As an example, the Illuminating Engineering Society (IES) and the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association (AVIXA) guide professionals involved in the design, construction, assessment, and support of videoconferencing environments.
ANSI/IES/AVIXA RP-38-17, Recommended Practice for Lighting Performance for Small to Medium Sized Videoconferencing Rooms, provides guidance for lighting parameters and performance criteria for “videoconferencing spaces with 3 to 25 seating locations,” where there is one set of video displays and cameras oriented toward a group of seated participants. The standard establishes performance criteria for the design and testing of room lighting and finishes to assure appropriate picture quality for more efficient meetings.
LCD, or liquid crystal displays, are flat panel display technology commonly used in screens for mobile devices, such as laptops, tablets, and smartphones. The standard, IEC 61747, Liquid Crystal Display Devices, is a multi-part standard that guides the LCD technology found in these devices, including televisions, computer monitors, and other flat-panel displays. The International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) Technical Committee (TC) 110, Electronic displays, developed the standard. The Electronic Components Industry Association (ECIA), a member and accredited standards developer of the American National Standards Institute (ANSI), serves as the U.S. National Committee (USNC)-approved U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) Administrator to IEC TC 110, carrying U.S. positions forward to the committee.
Whether drowning out home noise or listening to a class or conference on a digital device, IEC 60268-7 Amd.1 Ed. 3.0 en:2020 is an international standard that is applicable to headphones, headsets, earphones and earsets, intended to be used on, or in, the human ear. IEC's Technical Committee 100, Analogue and digital audio, developed the standard.
In late 2020, a U.S. FBI advisory warned K-12 schools of increasing cyber-attacks. While students were in class, cyber criminals were at work making computer networks inaccessible and disrupting distance learning. Of course, cyber-attacks are not limited to schools. Even maritime operations and large-scale organizations are victims of an influx of cybercrime, especially during the pandemic.
While there are a number of standards related to cybersecurity, one example is ISO/IEC 27032:2012, Information Technology - Security Techniques - Guidelines for Cybersecurity. ISO/IEC 27032 provides guidance for improving the state of cybersecurity, drawing out the unique aspects of that activity and its dependencies on other security domains. Joint Technical Committee ISO/IEC JTC 1, Information technology, Subcommittee SC 27, IT Security techniques, prepared ISO/IEC 27032. The U.S. plays a leading role in JTC 1, with ANSI serving as Secretariat and 35 national bodies participating. Phil Wennblom of Intel serves as ISO/IEC JTC 1 chair.
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