A Digital Health Check – Preparing for future of education

Over Spring and Summer 2020, the preparation needed for a virtual learning experience has been exposed and tested to the max. Our rapid response service worked with institutions who scaled up digital resources that were already in place, while others, started almost from scratch. The experience taught us that the quality of IT infrastructure and systems vary and consequently outputs are affected. In some instances, the full capacity of what can be provided, and the security required, may not be fully understood and embedded. We have put together a few key things to consider when creating a healthy digital platform that is designed to further the future of education.

  1. Collaboration

The current array of collaboration tools between staff, lecturers, and students is vast. Whether you have opted for Microsoft Teams, Zoom, Moodle, Aula or other educational providers, consider:

  • Have you carefully considered your choice of platform?
  • Have you evaluated its benefits and challenges?
  • Are all users appropriately licensed?
  • Have you considered the impact of a multi-platform offering?
  • Is your choice cost-effective?

2. Security

Traditionally students and lecturers have had the option to work directly from the college or university network, rather than always remotely. In some instances, there may be a need for additional services to allow secure access to tools that are kept isolated from the public internet. Consider:

  • Are VPN (Virtual Private Network) or Virtual Desktop/Applications services available?
  • Are these services appropriately sized and licensed?
  • Do students and staff know how to access the services?
  • Are all security protocols in place?

3. Accessibility

Between now and the start of this academic year’s assessment window, whenever that may be, various groups of students will have to self-isolate at different points of time. Some will have their learning heavily disrupted. Others will be in homes where they struggle with online access and where conditions are less favourable to remote education. Consider:

  • Does your choice of platform have easy accessibility for all?
  • Does everyone know how to use the tools?
  • Does your choice offer a degree of flexibility from blended to fully remote learning resources?
  • Will lecturers and students need telephone dial–in access to meetings where Internet access over 4G or WiFi is not available?
  • In the instance that students or staff do not have access to computers or the internet, is software optimised for mobile devices?

We know that the changes which were mandated by the onset of Coronavirus have had a profound impact on education and related institutions. These institutions are just coming to grips with these challenges, recognising the beneficial opportunities that blended learning approaches and smarter working strategies can offer.

In preparation for the new ‘normal’ we have put together a survey which, upon completion, will highlight an overall picture of the current state of the majority of universities and further education providers. When you complete the survey we will provide you with an institution specific perspective, as well as offer helpful advice based on your own unique circumstances.

If you would like assistance with any of the above, please fill in the survey. Contact us directly to hear more about our digital service that delivers increased organisational agility, operational efficiency and digital capability while maintaining the high levels of compliance and quality that is demanded of modern digital and technology service providers.

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