Paul Lowe, University of The Arts London, has just returned from the Wimba Connect 2010 conference in Orlando. The Project supported Paul attending this conference as he presented on his Open-i Trial Project. At the Executive Track Session the discussion was about how to plan for the strategic use of technology, seeing it as an enabler of collaboration and communication rather than as an end in itself. Wimba’s CEO Carol Vallone outlined 4 main drivers that they see as key to the intelligent use of technology to support education:
1: Meeting the expectations of today’s students – students now expect universities to meet them where they are, rather than having to come into the faculty itself. They are increasingly digitally literate and want to be productive in the workforce immediately on graduation.
2: Increased demands for accountability – to the market, to students and to quality assurance.
3: Strategic use of technology – Successful collaboration means mapping out a strategy for the institution and then mapping collaborations against it, with a context based application of technology for collaboration – looking at costs, efficiency, productivity, and engagement. It’s key to map technology to specific initiatives e.g. retention rather than just randomly training staff in various software packages.
4: Repurposing and leveraging current investments – find ways to use systems already in place in new and innovative ways e.g. for administration and student support as well as for teaching and learning.