Guest Column | October 29, 2021

A Must-Have Tech Stack For A Digital Campus

By Roman Davydov, Itransition

Science technology iStock-1210883399

The pandemic was equally ruthless to most industries, confronting each organization with the questions: where are we with digitization and what part of work can we do remotely?

While the entire K-20 education system is experiencing the same challenges, there’s an interesting side to it. While teaching staff might struggle with the new normal of remote education, students are so digitally-savvy that the switch to technology-enabled education would have been natural for them years ago. Now that the students have had a taste of digital convenience and freedom, there’s little sense in rolling everything back, particularly for higher education.

A fair share of colleges and universities already have some technologies in place, but according to Salesforce’s report, 26% of students claim they have to sign into two or more different platforms to access what they need, while one-third of staff members say their institution uses multiple systems, making it difficult to obtain necessary data to do their job efficiently. Under these circumstances, forward-thinking educators have to make sure they have all the necessary tools and can unite them into an all-in-one hub that will serve as a digital campus.

Let’s list the must-have tools for building such a digital campus that will provide all participants with smooth and connected experiences.

A Student Portal

The list begins with portals that can become an ideal foundation for a digital campus, be it for providing digital-first experiences or helping everyone move to a fully remote mode.

Such portals serve as a unified platform that connects not only students, parents, and professors (from any device and anywhere in the world) but also several vital systems, covering the entire student life cycle, from enrollment and learning to payment and engagement.

In a nutshell, portal users can access all the necessary information and functionality from a single interface. Similar to customer portal design, student portals should be shaped with users in mind to provide connected and highly personalized experiences to students and facilitate the daily activities of the academic staff.

An Enrollment System

Such a system covers the entire enrollment and helps streamline student admission activities, accelerate application processing, and create the conditions where no request is left behind.

The key objective of the platform implementation is to create seamless experiences for students letting them learn the necessary information (how to fill in applications, what documents to attach, what the next steps are, etc.), easily apply online, track the application progress, and more. Meanwhile, the admission team should feel empowered during the enrollment, having routine tasks automated, getting access to all the documents necessary for an application review via any device, and having enough time to provide meaningful help to applicants. What’s more, the system can be paired with a chatbot that can take over common questions and requests, assisting students around the clock.

Once integrated with a portal, the enrollment platform will serve as an entry point for students-to-be and provide insights into their preferences and behavior patterns. Having this data in place, educators can build a portrait of the institution’s potential students and analyze why they might choose not to complete enrollment.

A Learning Management System

A learning management system, or LMS, can serve as the backbone of the entire online learning process. The platform will provide students with their learning plans, curriculum, materials, and assignments while professors can use the system to assign tasks and grade them, share books, articles, or videos, and communicate with students.

In 2020, LMS platforms doubled their importance due to them having all the necessary features to make remote learning work overnight. Of course, it’s quite enough to have video-conferencing tools, email, and messengers to get online learning going. However, it’s so much more efficient to have all the tools under one roof in an LMS, as it helps cut down screen time, add interactivity, keep everything in one place, and provide an array of self-service options.

The system lets students create workflows to structure the learning process, engage with other connected tools and platforms, and communicate with professors and other students via devices of their choice. What’s more, such systems enable flexible learning options where students themselves can decide how to fit their education into everyday activities.

 

LMS platforms also allow gamifying processes and makes learning immersive via extended reality features. For instance, students can access enhanced images that can be zoomed in and rotated to visualize and explore complex concepts or participate in near real-life simulations.

A Student Information System

A student information system, or SIS, is a database that, once connected to other systems, accumulates and processes vital data, from completed tests, attendance, or grades to personal details, and turns into a single source of truth about students. By analyzing this data, it’s possible to see overall trends and patterns and zoom in on details to spot less visible yet important insights, like mental health deterioration. Such insights can help develop personalized curriculums, offer learning strategies that resonate with students best, support struggling students, and more.

Summing It Up

Once students try digital-first education and online learning, they will want to keep at least some amount of digital freedom and convenience. The next best action on educators’ part is to build so-called digital campuses that connect students with their institutions wherever they are. Student portals should become the foundation of such a campus that, living up to its name, literally opens the door to other systems essential to the learning process, such as enrollment, learning management, and student profiles. As a result, higher education can become more flexible and accessible during both normal and disruptive times.

About The Author

Roman Davydov is a Technology Observer at Itransition. With over four years of experience in the IT industry, Roman follows and analyzes digital transformation trends to guide businesses in making informed software buying choices.