Higher Education Leaders: It’s Time to Transform Your Campus
In 2020, higher education leaders had to scramble to change their education model almost overnight to accommodate remote learning and support a remote workforce. Now, as we head into 2021, transformation will remain a priority for higher education institutions. Even with the promise of the COVID-19 vaccine, universities may oscillate between remote learning and a hybrid approach for years to come. Higher education leaders must be prepared to empower both their students and staff for the new normal.
Use this list of key insights to begin your transformation planning for 2021.
1. Digital Transformation Starts With A Future-Oriented Mindset
You should head into the new year with a broad outlook of what the future of your campus encompasses. Use lessons learned from this year to guide your planning efforts—what requirements will your future campus need to have that your current campus lacked? How can you better engage with students and staff alike?
Make a list of strategic goals. These might include things such as having an immediate way to notify students and staff of changing guidelines, supporting staff who are overwhelmed with remote teaching, and helping students who have suddenly had to change their living arrangements due to a pandemic. Another requirement may be being able to rapidly shift or adapt to a changing external environment, and communicating those updates in an immediate fashion. You might find that many of your requirements are interconnected. More on that next.
2. Realize That Digital Transformation Needs a Strong Foundation
One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is observing isolated pockets of change and crediting them as full digital successes. It’s about synergy. If you don’t have the right foundation in place for your entire organization, then any initiative you may launch will not be long-lasting, and won’t translate beyond that silo or area.
Having the right architecture in place is absolutely essential before getting started with any transformation initiatives.
3. The Foundation of Transformation Begins with Communication
If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that having the necessary infrastructure is critical, and for digital campuses, adopting a cloud-based communications platform can serve as this foundation.
At its core, learning is all about communication, which is also the foundation of supporting students and staff. Being able to take all communication modalities completely digital is the most important part of the digital campus.
You might have several different tools you’re using to support learning, support communications with students, and support communications with staff and faculty. The first goal of a digital campus transformation is to eliminate silos such as these.
Adopting a modern cloud communications platform will unite your transformation efforts. It will be used to encompass interactions with professors tied to a class, interactions with students in and out of class, interactions with faculty, deans, and administrators, notifications from the university, alumni, etc., and more. It does this be leveraging capabilities such as:
- Cloud-based telephony
- Messaging platform (team collaboration)
- Video conferencing and meetings
- Campus-wide notifications for emergencies
If you need help choosing a platform right for your campus’ needs, talk to one of our lead analysts.
Becoming a digital campus is no easy undertaking, and that’s why it’s best to start small. Outline your ideal future campus, and then begin to evaluate the platforms that will allow you to take all of your communication completely online. As we head into yet another year filled with ever-changing news about COVID-19, this will act as a key requirement for students considering attending your university. Higher education leaders who act now to digitally transform their campus will be much better prepared for any future uncertainties.