Universities at the heart of new ways of working

Jon Knight, Commercial Director at Ascentae, reflects on an amazing year of new technology for universities

What a difference a year makes! Technology is moving so fast and universities are right at the heart of new ways of working. When we look back at the year, we can see that higher education is going through a transformation and it’s being driven by the changing needs, behaviours and expectations of students.

Instant access, quick transactions and sharing

There have been a number of interesting articles on technology and the way that universities are embracing it to recruit students and then provide fulfilling and effective learning experiences. Students use technology to manage every aspect of their lives. We’ve noticed two key trends shaping student behaviour – the need for immediacy and the desire to be involved with other people. Students today can access information and make transactions in their daily lives quickly, efficiently and wherever and whenever they want to. They also seek advice and share information and experiences with their network continually.

Targeting customer satisfaction

It’s no surprise, then, that this will shape their expectations when they embark on their higher education journey with their chosen university. Add to this that today’s students are more conscious than ever that they are the customers and they’re paying for their education. They are looking for a high-quality service, with the latest enabling technology to match.

Universities have always been at the forefront of new thinking and innovation and have often led the way with developments in science and technology. Now they’re thinking not just about the content but about the way they deliver education to make it engage and highly personalised for their students. Over the year we’ve seen some great examples of universities that are stepping up to the plate and delivering highly interactive and collaborative environments for their students. They benefit from this because not only can they attract more students, but research has shown that engaged students get better results.

Collaborative learning spaces

We’ve seen them moving from traditional lecture theatres to high tech collaborative workspaces that maximise the opportunity for learning.  We’ve even seen the example of Exeter University using virtual 3D technology to take their students on a tour of the Arctic Circle. More and more universities are using technology that helps students to engage with the material they’re learning about through the latest generation of interactive white boards and audio technology ensuring they don’t miss any of the insights and shared experiences of participants. Humans learn best when they involved and when learning becomes a social experience. Education is no longer a ‘chalk and talk’ interaction, and technology now needs to support the shared experiences and insights that enrich the learning experience and embed key learning points.

So, what can we expect from the year ahead? Well one thing is for certain – things are going to continue to develop at pace. At Ascentae, we keep ahead of technology, offering universities the knowledge and advice needed to keep pace with developments. Students are big consumers of digital technology and they will continue to expect higher education institutions to support their learning effectively and efficiently. It will be up to universities to anticipate trends and evolve in line with the needs of their students.

For more information contact the team at Ascentae on 0800 368 8074 and if you haven’t already, be sure to check out our website: www.ascentae.com 

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