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Tech for good in higher education

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It comes as no surprise that our students are further ahead of the technology curve than most of our HE and FE institutions. As you’d expect, use of consumer technology in terms of our smartphones, tablets, laptops and numerous apps that make our daily lives easier have educated our school leavers to their benefits. Universities and colleges are waking up to digitisation and are in varying degrees of it across the board – but they are beginning to realise the benefits existing and future, of smart campus environments.

So what good can come of digital campus environments and what is the next step for the technology beyond looking up your timetable, borrowing a book from the library or finding a room change in your schedule?

The next wave of good is undoubtedly around the collection of data and what that data reveals for both the student and the institution. Learning analytics is the next wave and will become increasingly significant, tracking students before, during and after their learning journey and helping institutions engage them so they don’t drop-out.

Embedding learning analytics into the digital campus environment will help both the students to understand where their weaknesses are in time to correct or work on them, and help the institution see how likely they are to need help and support. We have become used to having commercial organisations like retailers talking about having a single 360-degree view of the customer – and this data would deliver a single version of the truth of each student and ways to take early intervention to improve outcomes.

Applications to collect student’s learning data in order to improve their grades will provide both student and institution with the information required to make much faster and more decisive action. Students are clear that technology makes life more efficient – and would deliver the same benefits to their education, therefore supporting any method of digital self-improvement.

Beyond this, there is student comparison, and perhaps this is more controversial, but the ability to track performance against others will also be possible, as will the ability to set targets to do better on courses. Dashboards showing learner engagement and attainment of students not only helps the students, but also the staff members too who can better understand how to engage them to get the best possible outcomes, making learning altogether more effective.

Quite simply, as we plug more devices and students into our digital campuses the data is created to learn more and to tailor university learning and services to our student audience, making education more effective and delivering tech for good.

Would you like to learn more about the benefits of delivering technology to your institution?

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