6/29/2018

THE foundation for tomorrow’s digital campus

You may ask yourself, why should I be concerned about creating a next generation digital learning environment? The answer may surprise you. Digital transformation is coming to higher education and your campus may not be ready.

At last year’s Educause conference, I had a revealing conversation with a long-time customer about her university’s IT priorities for the coming fiscal year. She said that enrollment was down for the third consecutive year and they were focused on attracting new students. When I asked what strategies they were considering, I was very surprised to hear that IT and digital transformation played a major role in their plans.

Specifically, they planned to improve the network, WLAN and communications experience for all campus users…allowing for more flexibility to take advantage of pedagogical transitions to blended classrooms and more online classes. Essentially transforming into an intelligent campus by using improved campus IT infrastructure as a way to differentiate their campus as a leader in teaching and learning innovation with more collaborative, interactive and personalized learning experiences. Smart!

 
Thinking about it, I shouldn’t have been surprised with this direction—supporting student success and academic achievement with more powerful and flexible networking and communications capabilities is an excellent strategy for attracting and retaining students. Educause recently published a study on students’ usage of technology in their academic life and 78 percent of surveyed students claimed that technology use contributed to the successful completion of their classes.

Remember, digital transformation is more than just technology
Transforming your campus is so much more than just a technical initiative. Sure, information technology (WLAN, LAN, campus apps, etc.) plays a large role, but to provide a truly digital campus, the cultural side of the equation is equally important. Students WANT to use technology, and according to the Educause study cited above, 82 percent of students prefer a blended teaching/learning environment. Instructors need to be willing to use the most impactful digital tools and experiences available—from capturing lectures to providing web-based supplemental content and search tools (to find information and references) to embracing group activities and personal technology in the classroom.

When a university embraces digital transformation, the entire campus benefits:
Students:
Personal technologies are tightly coupled with their social and academic lives; a digital campus provides the foundation for securely connecting these devices, enabling students to access the network with any device, anywhere on campus. 

Instructors: Creating digital learning experiences to supplement traditional textbooks and curricula while leveraging the student’s love of personal technologies transforms the classroom into a blended, more collaborative teaching and learning environment.

Administrators: Taking advantage of the digitally connected campus enables implementation of new campus safety technologies. Leveraging custom unified communications technologies can attract new students and maintain contact with graduates/alumni.

Digital transformation creates an environment that engages students with focused services and high-bandwidth connectivity, and cultivates the success of everyone on campus.

Become an intelligent campus
As universities shift their focus to student-centric services, the transition to a next-generation digital learning environment is the first step. Technology provides the performance, security and reliability that are critical for digital transformation, and enable the student-centric services, experiences and functionalities that drive academic success and improve your university’s reputation.

Alcatel-Lucent Enterprise (ALE) can help your digital transformation with solutions for higher education that meet the emerging demands of students, instructors, and administrators and serve as the foundation of all campus IT and communications systems.

To learn more about digital transformation for education, please go to
https://www.al-enterprise.com/en/industries/education/intelligent-campus

Tags - Digital Transformation, Education, Education - HighEd

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About the author
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Greg Kovich

Global Sales Lead, Education Vertical

Greg Kovich leads global sales for ALE’s Education vertical.  Greg has overseen or created several Education solutions including “The Fundamentals of Communications” – a vendor neutral course on digital network communications; “Safe Campus” – a solution uniting emergency alerts with first responder collaboration and mass notification; “Secure Campus” – a solution that allows instructors to limit student network access to determined sites; and “Pandemic Education Continuity” – a solution that enables classroom instruction in the event the institution is closed due to health or environmental crisis. 

He is a 1992 graduate of Indiana University with over 20 yrs experience in Information Technology.

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