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Why the most technology literate generation expects its learning institutions to be digital ready.
All institutions of learning rely on reputation to attract the brightest students. Today though, another factor for educational establishments to consider is the need to offer a digitally connected learning environment. Because, as the most digitally literate generation of students consider places in schools, colleges and universities, their expectations are that these institutions will be digital ready too.
A digital transformation provides benefits campus-wide. New technology can speed up processes and tasks currently performed allowing teachers to focus their time on other challenges. One example is the enrolment process. Using traditional methods, this annual event can be painful for even the most experienced staff. Switching to a digital process removes the headache for staff whilst making the effort of enrolling for the student as simple as clicking a few buttons rather than queuing for hours with important documentation and manually filling out forms.
Digital tools also provide new opportunities for educational establishments to expand and improve their student offerings. Online study platforms give students studying off-campus or even abroad, the ability to effortlessly stay in touch. This may involve virtual lessons, submitting coursework or updating documentation whilst on placement or exchange.
In the education environment, student mobility is a fundamental part of the educational landscape, and institutions able to facilitate this will have a distinct advantage.
Pursuing a digital transformation plan offers many potential gains to educational establishments as they compete to attract the cream of the crop. Employee training can be easily facilitated, allowing staff to quickly acquire the necessary knowledge on the relevant technologies, meaning a quick return on investment. For educational organisations looking to get ahead, being digital ready opens up many new avenues.
They allow the institution to meet the high expectations of this technology literate generation, providing the services they expect, whilst also streamlining administration processes to reduce costs and become more cost-efficient. Making the transformation to digital is an important lesson for all educational institutions.
Providing students with digital solutions to their needs only leads to higher rates of student satisfaction.
Educational institutions are expected to provide as much paperwork in a digital form.
Unifying systems provides benefits for students and administrators.
Collaboration makes courses more engaging and allows better feedback.
More than ever, students put pressure on their institutions to be environmentally friendly. Universities are expected to provide as much paperwork in a digital form as possible. “It's about both cost and best practice, so we started looking at different ways of improving what we were doing and like many other parts of the University we are a very paper intensive organisation,” said Jay Lema, IT manager at the University of Cambridge’s Faculty of Education. What’s more, he reports that cost savings were into the thousands within just weeks of implementing new systems.
"One of the biggest complaints from students is that there are varying and differentiated systems for all aspects through from registration to submission of projects and coursework. Unifying such systems provides benefits for both students and administrators, who are no longer required to adjust to different set-ups and standards. When it comes to regular compliance audits, this can prove to be of immense value as it speeds up the process significantly.
What matters most for students is the quality of teaching, as reflected by The Times Higher Education Survey, and the key to providing that is through collaboration. This allows teachers to work together to provide more interlinked and engaging courses for students as well as providing more feedback to students via online tools. This enable students to have a more engaged relationship with staff, a key factor in deciding student satisfaction ratings. For universities and colleges, it is essential to ensure that the tools are available for teaching staff to perform their jobs as best they can.
Following the path towards optimisation is a challenging one, but one with many rewards along the way.