What is digital transformation?
Our universities have seen many changes over the years. We’ve witnessed political upheaval, social reforms, and more recently the pandemic. Covid-19 had many negative implications for our university students. Their academic programs stopped, many students and teachers got covid and everyone’s social lives were put on hold. Not to mention, the state of the economic situation at the moment with high unemployment rates and uncertainty of the future. But has the pandemic changed things in any positive way? Of course, in the past two years, there’s been a massive improvement in technology in the classroom. But, what exactly is digitalization in higher education? Digitalization involves the use of computers, laptops, virtual event platforms, and software to support students’ learning. Of course, this digital transformation was driven by the need to study from home. Now that the majority of students are vaccinated, do we return to in-person teaching?
There are many benefits to studying from home, like more flexibility and opportunities. The digitalization of university is here to stay but things are different this time. We have time to plan, we are not under pressure to deliver online programs because of the pandemic. So now, we need to take the chance to create a digital transformation strategy for delivering our programs online.
Essentials for your digital transformation strategy
Think of social skills
Although most of our social skills are developed by the time we get into university, we also learn a lot in those years. There’s no way of teaching students how to make new friends online, or how to make small talk with their professors. There are many communication skills, that we’re not formally thought but just learn in university. These skills help prepare us for our professional working life when we’re finished learning.
Sure, on the other hand, we learn new skills online that will help us in a world that’s becoming more and more digitalized. But without learning in-person social skills, can we really communicate online?
So your university needs a strategy of how it plans to allow students to enhance their social skills. A hybrid approach is a good idea, that way students get the opportunity to improve their in-person and virtual communication skills.
Technical issues are a big problem in the day-to-day lives of students. Students often log onto a class only to see that the lecturer can’t upload their slides or their mic isn’t working. We’ve all been there and let’s face it, there’s nothing more frustrating.
Of course, there can be technical faults with in-person teaching too. But if your Wifi isn’t working or there’s a problem with your virtual event platform, you can miss out on essential teaching. Going forward with the digitalization of higher education, training for technical problems needs to be a priority. We need formal training for teachers so that they’re comfortable with the equipment and can troubleshoot any issues.
As well as training students also will need a full-time support team if they are studying online. The same way students have in-person supports, they need them from home. With the growth of the digitalization of higher education, our students can feel isolated. We need to make sure they know where to turn for support when they feel lost.Some universities have already started offering student-centered support. For example, The University of St. Thomas has a chat and text option for students to contact a librarian instantly. If these student support services are more accessible, it is more likely that students will use them. The more the students use these supports, the more they will engage with their virtual learning.
Teach digital citizenship
If you want to move your learning online, you need to teach your students the responsibilities of that. They need to learn new skills of how to communicate with their colleagues online in a professional way. This is similar to how new students learn how to talk to their lecturers with respect when they begin university. There are many things students need to be mindful of when working online:
- Turn your camera on: If you turn your camera on in tutorials your session will be more interactive. This adds a personal element to the class to help everyone get to know each other.
- Mute your mic: When you’re not speaking you should turn your camera off so that the other people in your class won’t hear your background noise.
- Don’t record lectures: You should not record a lecture without the consent of your teacher. There could be images and material on the slides that should not be shared without proper documentation.
- Don’t go on your phone: Even though you are in your own home, it is disrespectful to go on your phone. Your lecturer will be able to see you through your camera and that can distract them when they are talking.
- Do participate: It can be easy to sit back with your mic on mute and not say anything for the whole class. You should try to speak as much as you can and add to the discussion so the lecture is engaging.
When you are educating students on digital citizenship try to integrate the normal values of your university into the virtual world. This will help your students to achieve skills they can use if they work virtually when they graduate.
There you have it, all the ingredients for the perfect digital transformation strategy. Now that you know exactly what you need to move online, you’re ready to embrace virtual learning. The first thing you’ll need to support your change is a virtual events platform. If you’re looking for an engaging virtual events platform, try out Remo. With our interactive features, such as breakout rooms and round tables, you’ll never look back. We offer a free 14-day trial so you can take a look before making any payment. You can also check out our success stories to see how other customers have used our products.