The situation in which we find ourselves in is extraordinary.
Across the world, political realignment, social unrest, and the current epidemic are pressing higher education leaders to look beyond traditional, campus-based teaching models in order to reach their students. Many universities have responded by pivoting to remote provision.
So, how do you rapidly transition to a digital campus?
Calmly and with planning, but also with a view to the long term. Delivering successful online learning can give you the quick fix you need right now, but strategically, it also holds the potential to make your institution more robust, flexible, and better positioned to grow in the future.
Implementing institution-wide change is always challenging, particularly when planning time is short. Of course, the immediate focus is on the well-being of staff and students. The initial goal of providing continuity of teaching can help reduce anxiety and create a sense of normality.
Build on Experience
Partnerships with established providers can inject the expertise and technology you need to get up and running—and build your institution’s core competencies. Case studies and research illustrate that, although education systems and approaches vary across the world, digital solutions are sufficiently flexible to adapt. They can be implemented rapidly and effectively, resulting in students that are positive about digital learning.
Universities in Australia and the Middle East are responding to rising demand for digital resources. The Singapore University of Social Sciences worked with VitalSource to deliver on their goal of providing quality learning, anytime, anywhere, to their 150,000 students. In the UK, one institution planned and implemented digital learning across their seven colleges in a space of six weeks, allowing them to introduce new approaches to teaching and learning. Another institution has doubled in size, growing their home and international student base by becoming a digital pioneer.
While there are clear benefits to digital learning, we don’t want to downplay the challenges:
• What if your institution is new to delivering teaching online?
• What should your strategic plan encompass?
• How do you reduce the risks as you move from strategy to implementation?
At VitalSource, we’ve been helping institutions deliver digital learning for 25 years, and we’ve listened and learned from that experience. Over the next few weeks, we are excited to share the most useful information and best practices garnered from working with our partners: practical checklists of technology, tools to formulate a thoughtful communications strategy, and plans to help students and faculty manage issues of isolation. We are here to support you. We’ll also provide tips to help teaching staff go beyond the basics as they use digital to connect with their students to help ensure that your digital learning programmes thrive. These are drawn from the experience of staff and students who already made the transition to digital, and from wider research and industry reports into online teaching pedagogy and learning outcomes. Keep an eye out on the VitalSource Global Resource for our Teach Online Toolkit over the upcoming weeks.Do you have an idea for a story?
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