Using Virtual Reality as a tool to engage and recruit prospective international students

Emerging technologies have the potential to disrupt international recruitment and marketing as we know it, as students around the globe become more digitally and mobile-savvy.

As a result, education providers need to adapt and create more sophisticated experiences when targeting prospective international students.

For Monash University’s Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science, Virtual Reality (VR) is proving to be a great innovative tool to create a more engaging experience for students. Through the use of a VR video, students are able to completely immerse themselves in their environment; offering an authentic and compelling way to showcase their campus and faculties.

And while VR provides huge opportunities for universities to potentially boost international student numbers through a personalised experience, Monash is also using it as a tool to help international agent representatives differentiate their institution in a crowded marketplace.

“We were hoping for VR to be a great additional tool for students and parents to help them in their decision making process and to help them experience what the campus is like. It is also a great tool for agents to showcase the faculty and campus to prospective students. It’s not just about students, it’s also for our agents and career counsellors as well,” says Marlena Mende, Marketing Manager at the Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science at Monash University.

While implementing VR into an international student recruitment and marketing strategy is not without its challenges, it is a great example of how new technological platforms can be used to engage, attract and retain international students in an evolving digital environment.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ caught up with Marlena to find out how her team went about integrating VR into their international recruitment and marketing strategy, the stakeholder buy-in process and how they are ensuring the experience they are creating resonates with the wants and needs of international students.

What are the core elements of your faculty’s overall international student marketing strategy?

There are a number of elements that are crucial to our Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Science’s international recruitment and marketing strategy. Our entire strategy us based on quality research based on student feedback as well as what is occurring in other markets globally.

For example, we consider what channels our prospective students might use in different countries. What is used in China may be different to what is used in India. We also check that channels used typically in Australia to engage with students are available in the countries we are targeting.

It is important to understand what it is like in those different countries and what students are looking for. Once we have that understanding, we try to develop an approach based on the audience’s needs and geography.

Another big focus is developing really strong, relevant and engaging content. We are making sure we tailor our content to address what the audience is looking for and what stage they are at in their learning journey.

Another key project is to ensure we have a strong mobile focus through our marketing, given that our audience is predominantly young people. Students are very much on their mobiles, they are digitally savvy and we want to ensure we provide interactive and engaging experiences via this platform. Personalisation is a big part of this, as well as understanding the student journey and where they are at in the decision making process.

We want to be able to provide the right content at the right time to students. This also involves coordinating and working with other teams throughout the university and faculties to ensure we have the right messaging at the right time.”

What types of emerging technologies are you using in your marketing strategy to engage international students via digital platforms?

“Our focus is to connect with students via traditional channels, but also digital channels as well. For example, social media channels such as Facebook. Our aim is to provide insight into what the experience is like on campus. In order to achieve this, we are encouraging our current students to engage on our social platforms as well – so they supply content to make it more authentic. There are also some more exciting and emerging technologies we have recently engaged with as well, such as VR.”

To read more, download the full article with Marlena Mende here

Join Marlena at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, where she will further explore:

  • Lessons learnt from developing and implementing virtual reality into a marketing strategy
  • Providing an immersive and unique experience that resonates with a target audience
  • A look into the possible future marketing implications of virtual reality and augmented reality

For more information visit https://intl-studentrecruitmentandmarketing.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Using marketing automation to increase student engagement and enrolments: Insights from the University of Canberra

Today’s international students have a vast amount of information about universities at their fingertips. This means it has never been more important for higher education institutions to find creative and meaningful ways to encourage students to apply and enrol.

For the University of Canberra, the answer to effective student engagement comes down to knowing and understanding student behaviour. Over the past 3 years, Canberra University has been using marketing automation and content to respond and connect with students at different stages in the student lifecycle.

By engaging with students based on behaviour, interests and demographics; the University of Canberra has been able to not only increase student engagement, but also reduce their overall costs.

Ahead of the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017, Higher Ed IQ recently caught up with Kylie McKenzie, Deputy Director Marketing and Recruitment, University of Canberra, to find out the steps her team is taking to roll-out marketing automation as part of their overall international student recruitment and marketing strategy; and the lessons learned from their progress to date.

Introducing marketing automation: the vision

“In 2015 we realised we wanted to get involved in marketing automation, but we didn’t have the capacity to do it in-house. At that stage we hired an external company to help us with Marketing Automation and we were communicating and engaging with our prospective students through content that had nothing to do with our audience. While the concept was right, the execution wasn’t.

In 2016 we purchased a Marketing Automation platform called Marketo which allowed us to create the content ourselves. While we had a better sense of what we thought was ‘good’ content, we didn’t have a great bank of content to draw on. We were learning how to use the new system while producing the content at the same time, so the automation piece became lost.

However, we learned from that experience. Over the last 12 months we have strengthened our marketing automation strategy. We now have a staff member who is dedicated to marketing automation and the development of content. We are also employing students to write the content for us, because they know best how to engage our audience. We are also now in the process of integrating Marketing Automation with native advertising and an ad-remarking strategy and we are also entering the predictive modelling space as well.

Since taking this approach, we are on track and we’re starting to see some great numbers and results.”

To read the remainder of the article to find out more about the University of Canberra’s marketing automation journey, click here

Join Kylie at the 4th Annual International Student Recruitment and Marketing Summit 2017 where she will further explore:

  • The importance of developing content that focuses on customers’ needs
  • How predictive modelling is helping UC to understand customer journeys and enhance acquisition
  • Lessons learnt from implementing a marketing automation strategy at UC

For more information visit http://intl-studentrecruitmentandmarketing.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Insights from the Australian Research Council: Writing a Successful Grant Application by Aligning Research with Industry Pressure Points

The Australian Government has recently changed how it allocates grants for research funding and it is impacting researchers, with grant success rates dropping from some 30% to 10% in the span of 15 years.

To counteract these receding numbers a greater emphasis must be placed on aligning research with industry priority areas and on improving collaboration between industry partners.

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Ahead of the Research Funding Summit 2017 we chat to Leanne Harvey, Executive General Manager at the Australian Research Council (ARC). Leanne, who led the development and implementation of the Excellence in Research for Australia (ERA) program, is responsible for the ARC’s Research Excellence, Corporate Services and additionally oversees the development of the new national assessment of engagement.

In this Q&A Leanne explores some of the key challenges impacting Australia’s research industry, and further delves into grant writing best practice and the importance of brokering collaboration between the research industry, government, business and local and international community organisations.

What are some of the key challenges of research funding in Australia?

There are a number of key challenges impacting research and research funding at the moment.

For example, ensuring high quality research is funded, and ensuring an appropriate balance between funding of fundamental and applied research. While the funding of applied research helps answer specific questions currently affecting Australia, maintaining the funding of fundamental, curiosity driven research is equally important.

Other challenges include Assessing what kinds of environmental, cultural and economic impact research in Australia is having beyond academia and further identifying ways to encourage collaboration, particularly with industry. Although Australia is a benchmark for research excellence, it is still a minnow when it comes to commercialisation and industry partnership.

What are some of the key priority areas the ARC is looking to fund?

The ARC’s purpose is to grow knowledge and innovation for the benefit of the Australian community through funding the highest quality research, assessing the quality, engagement and impact of research and providing advice on research matters.

In seeking to achieve its purpose, the ARC supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition across all disciplines. Additionally the ARC aims to expand Australia’s knowledge base and research capability through support of the National Innovation and Science Agenda and a focus on research in the Science and Research Priorities.

What criteria are considered when assessing a grant application? 

While the ARC administers the National Competitive Grants Program (NCGP), which supports the highest-quality fundamental and applied research and research training through national competition, the ARC does not itself assess grant applications. We instead rely on the advice of assessors with knowledge, experience and expertise in specific disciplines.

Grant applications are assessed on a number of criteria including:

  • Quality of the investigator(s)
  • Innovation, approach and significance of the project being undertaken
  • Capacity building for Australian research
  • Feasibilitlogo-lrg

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Download the full article with Leanne to learn more about:

  • Addressing industry challenges
  • Aligning research to funding priority areas
  • Writing an effective grant application
  • Collaborating with industry partners to improve commercialisation

Learn More

Join us at the Research Funding Summit 2017

Join Leanne in Sydney on the 14th – 15th of November, along with 12 other research industry experts from the likes of the CSIRO, Queensland University of Technology, The Australian Red Cross Blood Service and the University of Sydney at the Research Funding Summit 2017.

 

 

 

Engaging Students through new interactive and adaptive online learning experiences at Charles Sturt University

In an age where technological change is moving at an exponential pace, online learning has taken front and centre stage in the Higher Education sector as a key way  to improve learner engagement and outcomes.

And as improvements in digital capabilities continue to evolve, universities must move beyond the traditional method of online education purely based for content provision, to a comprehensive engagement-oriented ecosystem for learning.

At Charles Sturt University, this is becoming a reality through the u!magine innovation unit’s Online Learning Model (OLM). The OLM consists of 7 elements and makes use of online technologies to engage all stakeholders holistically to ensure a connected learning experience.

Ahead of the 2nd Annual Online and eLearning Summit 2017, we caught up with Julie Lindsay, Quality Learning and Teaching Leader (Online) at Charles Sturt University, to find out the strategies being used across Charles Sturt to design and develop online learning in order to improve the student experience and maximise learner engagement.

The vision: developing an engaging online learning environment

“Our Online Learning strategy at Charles Sturt University is based around the need to provide an engaging online environment. Our focus is on engagement and interaction and this is at the centre of everything we’re doing.

We’re particularly focused on continuing to make the shift from being a distance education provider to being an online learning provider and a champion in online learning.

Online learning has a number of different learning elements and over the past year we have developed an OLM to increase student engagement, address some of the recent attrition issues we have experienced and provide more enhanced subjects and courses.

Our OLM has seven elements, which include:

  • Learning communities,
  • Interaction between students,
  • Teacher presence,
  • Interaction with professions,
  • Flexible and adaptive learning,
  • Interactive Resources, and;
  • E-assessment

Each of the seven elements of the OLM are designed to increase one or more types of engagement and combined together in varying degrees of intensity within the subjects making up a course. We are working on implementing these seven elements into subjects and courses.”

Creating flexible and adaptive learning through online platforms

 “We are using a number of strategies to facilitate flexible learning online. We’re looking at different subjects and discussing the different elements of each subject with academics. For example, asking what are the learning outcomes? What do the academics want to see happen in their subject? Based on the feedback from these questions we can then build the types of environments and courses to facilitate these needs and outcomes.

One of the main elements we focus on all the time is establishing and fostering learning communities. This involves interactions between students and teachers and looking at how we can help teachers establish an online presence and identity, right through to being a fluent online practioner and understand emerging technologies that support online learning.

Creating flexible learning for students involves a lot of conversations with academics around the appropriateness of different online learning elements for a particular subject. It is not a one-size-fits-all. It is a flexible model which can adapt in terms of the needs of students.”

Keeping learning personalised through multi-media tools

“Our Learning Management System (LMS) Blackboard has certain limitations when it comes to creating a personalised student experience. So we’re working within the LMS, but we’re also going beyond it.

We’re scaling up the look and feel of our Blackboard interface by  improving the design and presentation of our modules and working on a new discussion forum design and management within this tool.

We also have WordPress implementation happening across the University. It is called ThinkSpace and many subjects are now picking this up and using it as a blogging and journaling tool for students. This is also a tool that works in a professional context because students can export and take information away from this platform to their own WordPress website at the end of the course.

We’re also using a number of other Web 2.0 tools to provide interaction, collaboration, sharing and digital scholarships. These involve things like Twitter, Padlet, Ego, Flipgrid and VoiceThread. We are aligning these tools with the need for visibility in online learning. Tools like Flipgrid, VoiceThread and Padlet provide students with opportunities to easily post multi-media and share who they are, what they think and what resources they want to share.

It is also important to note that all these platforms can be password protected. While I tend to encourage students to make things as visible as possible, we still provide students with a choice. Some students prefer not to have work visible, so it is all part of digital censorship and digital fluency.”

Enabling students to shape their own online learning experience

“This is a big conversation in the University at the moment. Some students are telling us they just want to get the content, do the assessments, get the degree and leave when it comes to learning. Whereas other students are telling us they want to be collaborative, interact with peers and co-construct knowledge in an active, vibrant learning community.

We’re currently in a transition period where we are giving students choices to shape the type of learning experience they want. It is also important to provide opportunities for students to work with small groups. Some of our subjects have 500 students in them which can be very alienating. We’re trying to work our how we break down our learning community in smaller groups.

Some areas we are considering are: what is the best learning community size? How do we create communities within a community? How can we foster good interaction between students? This is where the understanding of the teacher presence to manage additional online tools and discussion tools is very important.”

The challenge: educating academics about the value of online learning

“Apart from the traditional student who simply wants to read a book and write an essay, the main challenge we’re facing is academics not understanding the importance of change to accommodate online learning models.

If they have not had the experience of connected and collaborative learning themselves, it is difficult for them to understand the value. The work we’re doing is to trying to affect this shift in academia as much as we can, because it is a big challenge.

To achieve this, we’re providing ongoing support and there is a program that we have to bring subjects into the OLM. We’re running professional learning and we’re scaling up certain courses across the university and taking both a course-wide and subject-wide approach to online learning.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Julie and the 2nd Annual Online and eLearning Summit 2017 where she will further explore:

  • How u!magine is supporting interactive, flexible and adaptive learning for its students
  • Leveraging multimedia tools such as Blogs, Twitter and VoiceThread to build an engaging content learning community
  • Integrating the 7 OLM elements into subjects and across courses to improve the education experience
  • Overcoming pedagogical challenges involved with content development, teacher presence and online learning modes

For more information visit www.onlineandelearning.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Creating an agile and responsive service culture for improved student experience at CQUniversity

Significant forces of change are reshaping the higher education sector across Australia. Funding limitations, the rise of digital and evolving student demands has seen student services transformation become a key way for universities to meet these challenges head on.

For Central Queensland University (CQUniversity), the transformation of their student services function has been crucial to not only improving student experience, but also driving efficiency across the organisation.

With 26 delivery sites across five states in Australia, CQUniversity’s end goal is to provide personable, flexible and effective support services for over 35,000 students.

For the past three years the university has also been focusing on how to ensure a centralised provision of services and accessible specialist support located across various campuses.

But the journey has not been without its challenges. With support service models across universities normally weighed down by hierarchy, inefficiency and a culture that resists change; CQUniversity has worked hard to create an environment that supports transformation and rolled out new platforms to engage students.

Ahead of Student Services Transformation 2017, Chris Veraa, Director of Student Experience at CQUniversity, shares insight into the steps his team has taken to establish a streamlined professional services structure that meets varying student demands across multiple campuses and the lessons learned from their transformation journey to date.

The vision: centralising student services to improve the overall student experience

“Our transformation journey began in 2014 when we began re-amalgamating the private arm of our university, merging with a formerly government-run TAFE provider and expanding the number of campuses within our existing footprint and also in other parts of the country.

There was a triple-down growth from a logistical perspective and as part of this journey it was important to ensure that our student services functions were responsive to student needs in the midst of these changes.

As part of bringing these different arms together, we had three very different cultures coming together under one umbrella: the university, the private arm of the university and the TAFE. With these three different cultures came three different approaches to student experience and ways of doing business. So the main goal during the initial stage was to unify the wider team into a streamlined and consistent function on a national basis. Our aim was to take the best out of each of the former cultures and create something new that all staff could really get behind.

During the merger, I had a very strong philosophy that the services provided to each student – whether they were a TAFE student, a university student or a research student – would be the same. To achieve this we had to do a stocktake of what services were offered across our newly amalgamated workforce and plug the gaps to ensure all staff were able to be responsive to all students.”

Rolling-out a multi-channel strategy to provide accessible and flexible services

“As part of our services transformation we employed a multi-channel strategy to ensure we could engage with students everywhere. We have campuses in five states and by the same token, about 50 per cent of our students are studying by distance or online. This means we need to be responsive at a campus level, but we also need to have centralised communication channels that students can access from anywhere around the country.

Our multi-channel strategy includes front-of-house staff at student welcome centres at each of our campuses. Students can utilise these services for enrolment or admission enquiries, or they can use those staff as a triage for other services.

Secondary to that, we also have a contact centre which operates at one of our sites but is basically a phone and email enquiry service for students in all parts of the country and even more globally.

We also have a student communications team which deals with inbound and outbound communication and engagement. This function is tailored strictly to the needs of students and ensures that students are aware of all the information they need. This team also receives enquiries via email and social media and is responsible for our student-facing social media presence as well.

In addition to the mainstream social media channels, we also have a university-specific social media channel called UCROO. We adopted this platform early on and we have found really great traction because it is only available to students and staff, so all the discussion platforms directly related to university. It also means we can replicate the on-campus experience for students who don’t study on-campus. It also provides a platform for on-campus and off-campus students to interact with each other and share useful information.

We’re also trying to continually improve how we manage enquiries and provide student services. We are exploring things like live chat where we can talk to multiple students directly. We also have a strong provision of online video conference platforms to provide student assistance to those that might not be on-campus, which seem to work well in the majority of cases.”

Bringing stakeholders together to ensure effective transformation

“During any transformation, it is important to put yourself into the shoes of your internal stakeholders and understand what is driving them. For example, for me, I am driven by improving services for students and ensuring a great customer experience. But this may not be the same driver for other stakeholders. It is good to take on their perspective and understand what they want to achieve out of a situation so you have some ammunition in terms of how you best can work together.

If you can take on the other stakeholder’s perspective and also try to give them insight into your perspective you can find middle ground and it is easy to understand how you can influence each other’s KPIs.”

Overcoming challenges along the way

“The transition to running a dual-sector university student services department, compared to a strictly higher education-focused department was a challenge. There are clear administrative differences between the TAFE sector and the higher education sector which we have had to overcome. We have also had to rapidly multi-skill staff who may have come from a strictly TAFE background or a university background.

We put all staff in the mix together and they have had to learn each other’s skill-sets quite rapidly in order to carry out the requirements of a diverse student services portfolio.

Another challenge, which is more relevant to the VET sector, is the provision of government subsidies to students. There has been a range of bureaucratic processes imposed upon providers which have made processes in some ways slower and less efficient. While there is not much we can do about these changes, we have found new ways of accommodating it to make other processes more efficient.

An ongoing challenge has also been student perception versus reality. Students come into university with expectations of what it is going to be like, which does involve expectations around customer service. Students do hold universities to the same customer services standards that they would a bank or retail outlet. They don’t necessarily understand what has to happen behind the scenes to enroll students or process ID cards etc.

It is not our job to tell them how hard it is, it is our job to ensure the process is as efficient as possible and ensure they have a relatively seamless experience. Increasingly students also understand they have a lot of choice and options when it comes to universities.  As a result, we have to understand that the way things have always occurred within universities may not be matching the expectations of the millennial consumer. We have to try and meet in the middle to ensure we are providing a level of service that is on par with the service they would receive anywhere else.”

If you’re interested in learning more, you can join Chris at the Student Services Transformation Summit taking place in 2 weeks time at the Bayview Eden in Melbourne. 

For more information Download the Brochure here or call +61 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Online Learning at Monash University

Ahead of the 2nd Annual Online and eLearning Summit 2017, we caught up with Kris Ryan, Academic Director at Monash University to find out about the core elements of Monash’s approach to online learning and how they are designing online learning programs that are engaging and create a personalised student experience.

Watch the video below to learn more about:

  • A brief overview of Monash University’s approach to online learning
  • Tools to monitor student progress and enagement in online learning
  • Using multi-media feedback to create a personalised learning experience for students
  • Challenges associated with using analytics to scale the development of online learning and how to overcome them

The 2nd Annual Online & E-Learning 2017 Summit held 20-21 June 2017, Sydney will explore leading digital learning initiatives employed by both education and corporate sectors in detail, providing practical solutions for Enhancing Learner Experience and Engagement with Digital and Mobile Technologies.

For more information download the brochure here or visit http://onlineandelearning.iqpc.com.au

How the University of Technology Sydney is piloting analytics to equip learners for the future of work

Simon Buckingham Shum is Professor of Learning Informatics at the University of Technology Sydney, where he is the Director of the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC).

Ahead of Learning Analytics 2017, we caught up with Simon to find out the vision behind UTS’ Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC) and how analytics is being used to equip students for lifelong learning.

Can you give a brief overview of UTS’ approach to learning analytics – what are the core elements?

In terms of learning analytics, the Connected Intelligence Centre (CIC: http://utscic.edu.au) is an innovation centre focusing on tools specifically to advance the UTS teaching and learning strategy. That strategy has created collaborative learning spaces, emphasised teaching Creative Intelligence, and introduced flipped learning. This all needs to come together if we’re to better prepare students for a turbulent society and massive complexity.

All the thinking on the future of work points to the need for graduates to display qualities such as outstanding interpersonal skills, thinking across disciplinary boundaries, innovation capability when presented with a client’s problem, critical reflective thinking, teamwork, ability to handle ambiguity, personal resilience, strong sense of personal agency… this list is pretty familiar to anyone involved in the future of work — and universities for that matter!

So where does analytics come in?

Well, since that’s our university strategy, the analytics question goes something like this: How can data science help equip students for lifelong learning? In particular, how can we provide personalised feedback on such attributes, and at scale? And that’s really the reason that CIC’s quite different from, and complementary to, our Business Intelligence and LMS teams. We’re an innovation centre of academics, PhD students and a professional services team, with our sights trained on UTS challenges. The academics bring a mix of learning science, data science, and tool design.

They can talk pedagogy with the learning designers, assessment with academics, and code and data with our IT Division. I don’t hire anyone without the skills to work across departmental boundaries to forge effective partnerships. This gives us the expertise to develop, pilot, and evaluate novel analytics approaches focused on UTS Graduate Attributes. Browse our website and you’ll find us talking about Collaboration Analytics (for instance, generating heatmaps and timeline visualisations to help nursing teams reflect on their performance when treating simulated patients), Writing Analytics (aiming for 24/7 formative feedback to students on their draft writing), and Dispositional Analytics (a tool that helps students see for the first time how they approach challenge and complexity).

Those examples are at the sharp end of the innovation spectrum. Added to that are technically less complex tools working with more conventional data. So for instance, like many universities, UTS information systems contain data inaccessible to the right people, in the right form, at the right time. Academics have been asking for better insight into who their new students are going to be. We’ve been working in close collaboration with academics and the BI team to create a dashboard that shows educators key aspects of the cohort building up to the new semester. Another example is a tool to filter and visualise student subject pathways dating back 40 years, enabling us to explore it for significant patterns.

Dispositional Analytics: Personalised feedback on your resilience and agency

What types of organisational conditions are needed to enable the creation and operation of the CIC?

It’s fair to say that Learning Analytics is really very well aligned with the university’s strategic priorities. The strong senior leadership backing really creates the right culture for us to innovate. UTS sees data and analytics as central to its future, and that covers teaching and learning, research and administrative operations. CIC launched in 2014, following a strategic consultation across the institution starting in 2011 that prepared the ground. CIC sits in the portfolio of the DVC (Education & Students), and from there we work in partnership with academics in the faculties, the student
support teams, IT and business units. So organisationally, we are well positioned to move with agility, and I can liaise with other directors to ‘get stuff done’.

Interested in learning more? 

Read the remainder of the article with Simon here

Join Simon at Learning Analytics 2017 where he will further explore how UTS is innovating analytics for institutional impact and future pedagogy, including:

  • Organisational conditions enabling CIC’s creation and operation
  • Ethical Design Critique workshops for rapid feedback on analytics dashboards
  • From data dashboards, to analytics for 21st Century Competencies

For more information visit http://learning-analytics.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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7 key steps universities can consider to ensure successful student services transformation

Budget constraints, changing student expectations and efficiency demands are causing many higher education institutions across Australia to consider new models of operations.

And at the centre of transformation is student services. The past couple of years has many universities focusing on ways to transform their support and student service functions in order to demonstrate accountability, transparency and value in a changing market.

But transformation is no easy journey – it requires a change in culture, processes and technology. What’s more, many universities are still in the early stages of services transformation, and are grappling with how to best select the most appropriate operating model that is best suited to enable them to deliver student centric services.

With this in mind, ahead of Student Services Transformation 2017, we have compiled a list of 7 key steps any organisation should consider to ensure effective and successful student services transformation.  Read on below to learn how some of the leading universities across Australia are approaching student services design and how you learn from their experiences to date.

  1. Establish a clear vision

Before embarking on services transformation it is important to set a clear vision on what you want to achieve. For many universities, existing administrative support services can be disjointed and duplicated. Consider what type of model you can set up where information can be sourced simply, centrally and at different levels of the organisation.

University of Canterbury is achieving this by not only establishing a clear vision for transformation early on, but later supporting this vision with principals of delivery and constant evaluation and feedback from students and staff.

  1. Build and evaluate the business case

As a higher education business leader you understand that a business case draws its strength from having a compelling narrative, responding to key drivers and demonstrating significant value to the entire institute and not just one or two areas of the university.

When building an effective business case for services transformation, you need to be able to define the “as is” environment and the future “to be” to showcase clear objectives to what you want to achieve.

For Monash University, building the case for change through effective stakeholder engagement throughout their Scheduling Services Improvement Initiative has been central to driving enhanced student experience, cost efficiencies and optimised resource utilisation.

  1. Keep the student as the centerpiece of your strategy

As the higher education sector continues to adapt and transform to keep up with student demands, it’s important to become more ‘customer-centric’ and design your services around the student experience.

This can stretch from teaching and learning, to digital touch points to student support services. Western Sydney University is one university who is keeping student needs and wants front of mind when designing services, by placing a big emphasis on integrating digital and new technologies in their strategy.

  1. Embrace new tech

Digital natives are demanding access to services anywhere and at anytime. In the past, University student services models have not been equipped to handle such requirements. What’s more, budget limitation, increased demands and process constraints can make it difficult to decide which direction to take.

Following in the footsteps of La Trobe University, it’s important to consider how new technologies might be able to help you deliver services more efficiently and effectively. For La Trobe, this has involved transitioning their student management function to the cloud in order to move beyond a traditional services model to one that is now equipped to handle customers of the 21st Century.

  1. Keep it simple

Even though most universities can give a long list of their student support services, it doesn’t necessarily mean all the services are actively functioning and benefiting the students effectively.

Remember to design your services in a way that makes it simple and easy for students to engage with you. A great example of this is the Australian National University’s recent transformation using the vision No Additional Resources, No Assistance for IT applications, with a key focus on moving from a reactive to a proactive service delivery model.

  1. Predictive data is your friend

With various student touch points now available throughout many universities, predictive data and effective allocation of resources can be used to transform the student experience.

While it is important to be student centric in the delivery of support services, don’t forget to be aware of the power of capturing student data and using that data as a guideline for connecting support.

Over the past 12 months Swinburne University of Technology has not only been focusing on using student insights to drive service improvements, but also to optimise resource allocation for improved return on investment.

  1. Engage stakeholders throughout the entire journey

A communication plan during a transformation project is crucial. Stakeholders involved, as well as those who will be affected by changes, need to be informed of timing and methodology throughout the entire process.

For Murdoch University, engaging stakeholders throughout the entire transformation journey has made it easier to implement changes, assess progress and evaluate outcomes. What’s more, stakeholders engaged in the process are usually more open and transparent, making it easier to seek input and collaboration from other parties.

Interested in learning more?

Join Murdoch University, Swinburne University, ANU, La Trobe, Monash and the University of Canturbury at Student Services Transformation 2017.

For more information visit http://studentservices.iqpc.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au

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Designing collaborative learning spaces that support digital at Massey University

There is no doubt learning is changing. New technologies – such as interactive whiteboards, mobile and high quality digital learning resources – are transforming the experiences and ambitions of learners.

In response to the evolving digital environment, the last decade has seen institutions across the New Zealand higher education sector creating and designing innovative spaces that support flexible teaching and learning, in a bid to improve learning outcomes, enhance digital literacy and optimize the student experience.

With the Ministry of Education recently reporting that approximately 90 per cent of New Zealand’s educational institutions are currently exploring the direct correlation between space and technology, it appears many universities are already realizing the benefits new learning styles, supported by good space design, can provide.

For Massey University, the concept of ‘new generation learning’ is not new. The University has for over fifty years been New Zealand’s leading distance provider of higher education and has kept pace with innovation, shifting from traditional learning modes through to a sophisticated digital platform. Since 2008, the University has been actively future-proofing its buildings to better engage students, staff and visitors through the use of innovative space design, along with technologically enabled pedagogies.

And while the journey so far has not been without challenges, the transition to new innovative learning spaces has been very popular among students from all academic disciplines, with an impressive 90 per cent satisfaction rate.

Ahead of New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, we caught up with Professor Giselle Byrnes, Assistant Vice-Chancellor Research, Academic and Enterprise at Massey University, to find out how the University is creating learning environments that inspire and engage students, the tools they are using to align space with digital technology and the results that have been realized in terms of learning outcomes and student engagement.

Taking a multi-disciplinary approach to revamping learning environments

“Over the past eight years, Massey has rolled-out a number of flexible learning environments, transitioning from large fixed seating to large flat floor collaborative spaces. We have transformed spaces that incorporate traditional learning environments to incorporate new elements of design, like tiered seating, where appropriate, and movable furniture. These kinds of spaces allow for more collaborative learning and more facilitated engagement to occur.”

“We have taken a multi-disciplinary approach to revamping our environment, particularly in the business school and veterinary science teaching spaces. Our focus here has been on the delivery type rather than what a specific discipline needs. We’re trying to be flexible in our approach to cater for different learning types. For example, in the business discipline there is more emphasis on dialogue, analysis and group work than there is typically in veterinary science and other laboratory-based subjects. It’s important to factor these requirements in during the design phase, both in terms of learning space and curriculum planning.

All of our large entry level programs also adopt a collaborative form of teaching, through the use of problem based learning, which as a format lends itself to the need to have co-working, collaborative spaces. We’re trying to accommodate on-campus dialogue amongst groups of students in the teaching space design, as well as providing digital spaces for collaboration to occur among our large cohort of online students.

Because we are a large online provider, we consider it vital to facilitate online collaboration through our learning management system so that every Massey University student – whether studying on campus, online or in a blended mode – has an equivalent learning experience.”

Aligning space with digital technology

“Every one of our refurbishments or new builds in terms incorporates digital learning in the space design.

For example, we have collaborative software tools that have been included in the design, so that any device can log onto the software app that is available in the space and project onto the screens in the room. These screens can be on all walls, not just one wall, which allows for students to bring their own devices and use the resources for self-directed learning.

As a multi-campus institution, we also have a need for our classes to work in conjunction with each other. For example, a cohort of students from one location will need to connect with a cohort of students from another. So we need the software solutions to allow that to happen and Adobe Connect is the main tool we are using to achieve this collaboration.

We also have a video link teaching project we are investing in, at both our Manawatu (Palmerston North) and Auckland (Albany) campuses. The rooms in these two campuses are identical – the students are in a virtual classroom and communicate completely as if they are in the same room. This is innovative and there has been strong support for this kind of teaching, both from the students and the teachers.

Our rich media project is another area where we are continuing to invest. Over the last two years we have invested considerably in installing lecture capture software and hardware across all of our campuses. This has given us the ability to allow students to engage either in real-time out of the classroom or participate in personalised viewing options through Stream (our online learning system or LMS). This has allowed students to connect with the lecture in real-time or post-lecture and has very positive impacts for both distance learners and our on-campus students.”

Transforming the roles between students and staff: moving away from institutional to constructional learning

“The most graphic example of constructional learning is the conversion of old fashioned spaces – such as immovable tables and chairs in a tiered lecture theatre  – to flat floor spaces. These new spaces provide much more flexibility as they allow greater emphasis on dialogue around collaborative and cooperative learning. This also means there is less emphasis on the lecturer as the disseminator of information and more emphasis on the teacher being the facilitator and curator of learning.

Many of our lecturers are also engaging with flipped classroom principles. For example, the lecture or the tutorial (or the ‘lectorial’ as these modes of teaching and engagement blend into one another) is a space where the teacher and students come together to interrogate ideas, primarily on the basis that the students have been, with guidance from their teacher, accessing the content outside of the formal lecture class. Content is still delivered during class, but there is greater emphasis on the analysis, interpretation and critique of the work during the contact class time.

There has also been a shift where the lecturer is no longer the didactic teacher, or ‘sage on the stage’ and has become more of a facilitator and coordinator of learning – more of a ‘guide on the side’. In fact, the best teachers we have at Massey University describe their role as being ‘partners with the students on their learning journey.’

The spaces at Massey University reflect this pedagogical shift and we are also using technology to facilitate this shift. Technology has enabled a much more disruptive structure of a lecture – for example, if you have screens on every wall you can pull up online clips easily and you might have the ability to connect with students in another location. It’s much more interactive and engaging than the traditional 50 minute lecture.”

Ensuring staff are on board with new teaching and learning styles

“It is important to provide staff with sufficient support and development when rolling out new learning technology and designing spaces to support engaged learning. We have done this by having a strong academic development program to ensure staff feel supported. This program is also presented as part of their professional development and engagement.

We very much value teaching at Massey University, given that (along with research) it is one of the core types of work undertaken by our research-active academics. We reflect these values in our promotions policy and the ways in which staff are recognized and rewarded for their teaching quality and innovation, as well as providing supportive academic development.

For example, we run courses from the centre of the university around teaching development and design and are always looking for good ways to push our new ideas around best practice and peer-to-peer. It is important to ensure staff feel that innovative and new ways of teaching are supported by the University.

The new approach to learning can also be potentially a little threatening to the traditional role of the lecturer and the professional identity of the university academic, but the academic still has a very important role in the process: to guide, advise and co-construct the learning experience. In essence, there will always be a role for the teacher, but new learning spaces and technology makes learning more of a mutual discovery process.”

Interested in learning more?

Join Giselle at New Generation Learning New Zealand 2016, where she will further explore Massey’s success and the following:

  • How can we create learning environments that serve to inspire and engage our students and staff? 
  • The move from “instructional” teaching to “constructional” teaching, and how has this changed teacher and student roles 
  • Why do we need to align space design with digital technology? 
  • The innovative design and refresh of programs within an LMS and virtual learning environment 
  • Tailoring spaces and technology to suit teachers and their preferred pedagogies 
  • Providing adequate professional development and realigning pedagogical practice to optimize learning and teaching

For more information download the brochure here

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How ANU is digitising administrative processes to drive efficiency

Over the past two years, The Australian National University (ANU) has introduced a range of improvement initiatives designed enhance administrative services to better support teaching and research outcomes.

In 2014, ANU began their transformation journey with the roll-out of automated and standardised travel processes across the university. From there, digitalisation of processes became a core focus of their transformation project, and in 2015 Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre was established to improve efficiency and service delivery by digitising processes across functions.

“We started with a list of about 170 key end-to-end processes that were identified by our academics and our administrative communities as being high pain-point processes. Over the last 20 months we have digitised over 22 per cent of those processes,” says Lakshmi West, Director, Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre at ANU.

While the journey to date has not been without challenges, ANU is set to realise some big wins over the next couple years as a direct result of standardisation of processes and improved data quality and reporting.

“In July 2016 we had an independent audit done by a third party management audit team over a six month period to find out what the net benefits of digital transformation can be. The result is we achieve over $6.1 million of net benefit over the next seven years for the work we have done to date,” says Lakshmi.

So what strategies are Lakshmi and her team using to ensure successful process improvement throughout the university? And, more importantly, what steps are they taking to engage academics and stakeholders in the journey to ensure ROI?

Ahead of Higher Education Services Transformation 2016, Lakshmi shares how ANU built the business case for transformation, the core tools they are using to roll-out digital process improvements function by function and the key lessons other universities can learn from their journey to date.

Proof of concept: justifying the case for transformation

“ANU’s transformation journey began in 2014 when we were given a donation from two alumni who own a company called Intelledox, which provided us with software and perpetual licensing that allows data integration.

To prove that the technology and transformation would work at the University, in 2014 I project managed a small team of people to digitise, streamline and automate the travel approval process across the University. At the time, we had over 10 independent paper based forms and there was no standardised process.

We used Intelledox to roll-out digital transformation of travel approval and it was a major transformation –  not only  did we streamline and simplify the process, we  also standardised it. We also integrated this process within the Finance system, the HR system, DFAT, Electronic Records Management and the data warehouse.

This initial project changed practices. For example, administrators used to make travel arrangements on behalf of academics. We made the strategic decision that academics were to become responsible for their own travel, so the administrator was removed from the process.

The automated travel process was a proof of concept to demonstrate we could successfully digitally transform a process at the University. The aim was to show the academic community and the ANU at large that by accepting the donation from Intelledox, transformation would actually work in practice and not only in theory.

We have had many failed IT business transformation projects at ANU in the past. Even travel had two failed attempts before we picked it up. It was therefore important we could show digital transformation could work to gain the trust of the university community.

Based on feedback and research from administrative services surveys, travel approval was the most bureaucratic  process and a big pain point for academics. Since the project went in 2014, we have had about 30,000 travel approvals that have been initiated through this new digitally transformed process.

Off the success of that project, we created the Intelledox Digital Transformation Centre in 2015 with the aim to digitalise approximately 170 key end-to-end processes that were identified as pain-points by our academics and administrative community.

It has been a rapid journey starting the Centre. We started with travel, but we have since expanded our scope. Our approach was to transform function by function. For example, transform HR and find out as much as we could in a six to nine month block of transforming their processes and rolling-out those c hanges. The next step was then moving into the student space and making changes in a six to nine month block as well.”

Read the remaining case study here to further learn about how ANU is:

  • Rolling-out digital process improvements function by function
  • Engaging academics and end-users to ensure successful transformation
  • Learning from past mistakes to drive successful organisational-wide transformation

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If you found this blog post interesting, you might also like to check out the Higher Education Services Transformation Agenda here

For more information visit www.highered-servicestransformation.com.au or call +61 2 9229 1000 or email enquire@iqpc.com.au