The Future Of Higher Education - More Than Just A Digital Challenge

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The Future Of Higher Education - More Than Just A Digital Challenge
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Universities around the world had to move online since the outbreak of the Covid-19 epidemic. Although digital transformation created many difficulties, it could be a means of ameliorating long-standing problems and turning graduates into more employable individuals. 

"When I had to work from my first project, I had to spend time in California discussing the future of retail banking with a consulting firm for a client. What I realized is that no matter how many years I had practiced banking strategies, technology would be merely a tool rather than the whole structure. My approach and knowledge base had to be entirely reevaluated, and I began to realize I lacked adequate technology knowledge, "- says Oliver Bueche, Executive in Residence: Cofrin School of Businesses at UW Gree Bay in a webinar we hosted recently. 

Here is the crux from the webinar you cannot miss. 

An Innovative Partnership in Digital Transformation: 

Oliver was employed part-time as an Executive in Residence (EIR) by the Cofrin School of Business of the University of Wisconsin - Green Bay. Here are some of the key ideas and experiments he implemented to change online education. Below are a few of his notable accomplishments and experiments. 

  • Using Artificial Intelligence to Create a Learning Menu: Education has a significant component to the project using AI. At the start of my career, we picked a new MBA program at UW Green Bay and developed a process to work with every instructor who teaches MBA students. Then I developed a menu of technical knowledge to use in the delivery of the course and presenting it back to the instructors. Through this, we brought forward-looking technology content into current course materials and approaches.

“It is important to bring the content of the business schools into the present” - Oliver 

  • Webinars for Educational Content: Our goal with our summer series was to provide broader fame for education that applies both to students and faculty. Anyone interested in learning new technology or trends could choose one of two topics each Friday. Over time we created a good library of topics that were accessible across departments and topics.

“We know from the beginning that it wasn’t just about interacting with faculty or getting people smarter but it about putting the entire university on a trajectory of change and that has begun more recently working with university leadership to craft a vision for future,” - Oliver. 

  • Working with University Leadership Teams: We called the project "Classroom of future" but there was much more to that project than just the name. It involves working with university leadership to craft a vision for the future.

  • Bridge the Gap with Communication: It is my duty as the executive of a university residence to provide a link between the academic community and the community. That is why I facilitated the research of a student on supply chain and how the local business community can get involved to deliver the MBA Course.

Developing a Vision is an Opportunity for Engagement 

In the beginning, when offering this service to schools, each of their offices explained to each other what they will do. But that plan included the below steps that changed how people perceived the service and how schools would be able to digitally transform. 

  • Shape the leadership consensus on Classroom of the Future

  • Initiate the Dialogue with Faculty and Key Stakeholders across the university

  • Visioning Dimentitianal – Identify the areas for change, articulate a spectrum of change, devise a survey process, and then collaboratively discuss results

  • The process will lead to improved engagement

Higher Education in an Era of Change: 

As a response to the pandemic, creating a hybrid education form was huge. The entire faculty learned how to manage an online system within a short period. However, taking several steps back, the current hybrid education model calls for higher education to examine it more closely. With the advent of virtual reality, cognitive reality, etc., educational institutions must be able to curate the learning experience. As a consequence, the environment plays a vital role in education, for example, learning through games. This is an area in which universities must outsource educational content. Future trends in the education industry suggest that the gaming industry will have a huge impact. 

“ This year there is a really key importance on higher education because of the pandemic. I think everyone is so focused on during 2020 is creating the balance between in-person learning, online learning and creating hybrid formats” - Oliver 

What are the Key Obstancels for Higher Education? 

The pandemic and online learning have led to a paradigm shift in the business models of many organizations to move away from brick and mortar such as classrooms, buildings, halls, etc. There is a problem with mindsets and the ROI on education. “As long as the mindset of the education system is built around brick and motor, it is the biggest problem for institutions,” says Oliver. 

Institutions tend to consider 'Excellence' to be an exclusion metric. For instance, if a school admits 5,000 students and the school has rejected 100,000 people, this rejection is seen as an elite quality. That was the biggest problem and has to be changed. “Excellence is defined by exclusion rather than inclusion and breadth of reach,” adds Oliver. 

Perhaps institutions need to build the gap by allowing students to do internships in the local market. Academic teaching models should be altered to include the local community in the school. 

Collaboration Tools in the Education System: 

What is in common to everyone, no matter if they are a working professional or a student, they are dependent on conversational AI (Alexa, Siri) which performs tasks for them. This is the big trend which has brought us too close to it. When students want to support, they have to use multiple pages and windows, which is extremely fragmented. These problems stem from the fact that students are unable to self-serve and must call support agents (most times they may not be connected to). This can all be organized through Microsoft Teams. The process of educations can be unified using Teamisfy. This can help improve the student experience. This shift will propel student education. Microlearning and helpdesk will be moved to Microsoft Teams. 

There is so much more you can learn about the same topic in this webinar by Oliver and Saurabhav Kumar where they discussed a couple of tools for digital learning workspace where it improved productivity amongst students across the world. Watch the webinar now! 

About the Panalists 

Guest name: Oliver Buechse 

Designation: CEO of Advancing Digital, Serves as an Executive in residence at the Cofrin School of Business at UW Green Bay 

Host: Surabhav Kumar 

Designation: CEO of

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