We have worked with 50+ Universities over the years, and there has always been talk of a digital campus. It’s something which makes sense, especially in the current global climate, but it’s not as easy as it sounds.
Let’s first look at the basics of a University, it’s completely unique in terms of a sector. If we focus just on the students for a minute, it’s the only sector where roughly 1/3 of the users are new, every single year, as it loses 1/3 at the same time. The other 2/3 change states, move through their academic studies, change courses, gain knowledge and make life choices as they go. This means that every year, 1/3 of the students come with new expectations. A typical 18-year-old has only ever known a digital existence, they would have been born around 2002, so after the millennium, and have always known smart phones, the internet and digital skills. The truth is, when they turn up on day 1, they are often shocked at the state of the systems they are asked to use. Systems which can’t help them via “asking Siri”, facilities such as sports pitches and specialist labs which can’t be booked by “asking Alexa”, and shops where they have to pay in cash for essential items like course suppliers or refreshments on the move. It simply isn’t acceptable nowadays; the digitally connected campus is needed right now.
The digital campus goes beyond delivering lectures remotely, it’s the essence of life, it’s the ability to buy anything on the campus from anywhere, it’s the ability to truly interact with the University in a digital way. Students expect the University to be able to support a multi-interface approach, regardless of device, time, text, speech or otherwise. The expectation is that they can check on their course status, request a transfer, communicate with peers and lecturers instantly and manage their digital campus from the comfort of their homes. Universities need to move faster to embrace these expectations.
A digital campus might work for the students, but what about the staff? Access to technology has to be easy, it has to add value and it has to be seamless. Academics care about being the best in their subject area, pushing the boundaries of human knowledge in all aspects of academic work. Any digital solution must embrace these people as they are the people providing knowledge to the students. This means a digital solution must be inclusive, and recognise that it’s a multi-generational environment. It’s so much more than giving lessons over Zoom, it’s all about adoption, and that means the user experience, making things easy and adding value to people’s lives regardless of their role. The digital campus is a difficult goal to achieve but it’s very much possible.
The education sphere is changing fast. Concepts such as termless offerings, self-paced learning, competency-based education, badging, etc. all indicate a need for a new system to support the administration of this changing model of education that’s the need-of-the-hour of students today.
While the need of a new system has been established, the next step is to decipher which system will work best for your institution. For this, the following questions will come in handy to decision markers.
What are the key questions to be considered by a university that has still not started its digital journey?
What’s in it for you?
It’s important for educational institutions to draw a clear map and understand why do they want to undertake the digital journey. The clear reasons will transform into goals at a later stage. At the early stage it’s essential that the end overall objectives, or as they say, high level objectives must be outlined so that a payoff is clearly visible.
What are the milestones?
Doing everything at once is never a good idea when it comes to a transformational change. Pursuing a phased approach to move from a legacy system to a modernized digital environment is the most prudent way to move forth. For e.g., an institution facing a huge inflow of new admissions might want to start their first phase by digitizing the enrolment process.
What are the probable roadblocks?
Every major change meets resistance and it’s a good sign. This allows for critical thinking and also prepares the institution to do an exhaustive study and conclude how they want to go about their digitization in a manner that aids all stakeholders be it faculty, admin staff or students.
Educational institutions must meet the demands of mobile and convenience-first tools of the new generation of students by reinventing learning experiences digitally if they are to remain relevant and profitable.
This calls for a rounding-up of traditional processes and moving them to the Cloud. Thanks to the superior processing and analytical abilities of the digital world, the Cloud helps lower your TCO (Total Cost of Ownership), provides you with real-time financials, human resource analytics, internal logistical analytics and much more; and all of this aids in making decisions that further student and institutional excellence.
Take the first step towards your digital journey, get a Cloud Readiness Assessment Report to gauge where exactly you stand and how long is the road ahead.