What is the digital campus? Why would leaders push their institutions in this direction? The benefits can be rewarding for directors of online learning. Still, the barriers can distract leaders, moving the digital campus to the back burner. This decision can harm the institution down the road. Below are 6 points directors need to know to create a vibrant digital campus.
Defining the Digital Campus
A digital campus is a thriving online extension of the university culture. The digital campus uses many modes of online learning. Still, the digital campus is not instructor-led learning taught over a meeting platform. Leaders design the digital campus with intent. The university positions online learning to meet future needs. Likewise, leadership uses data to predict trends, track student behavior, and enable staff. Yet, the digital campus faces many barriers to implementation.
1.) The Digital Campus Needs Staff That is Skilled
Most importantly, leaders face a tech skills gap in staff. AI, machine learning, and chatbots are new technologies. Thus, the staff needs more training, so they can implement these new tech tools. Also, faculty faces the challenge of converting instructor-led content to dynamic online learning. Learning management systems must be reviewed. Besides that, leaders and IT must ensure machine learning, AI, and data points make sense to end-users. Also, assessments, assignments, and adaptive content must work in the LMS. So, online learning directors must resolve these barriers for the digital campus.
2.) Competing for the Target Audience
Likewise, ed-tech companies continue to attract and steal prospective students from schools. These players offer digital credentials and data-driven workforce education alignment. Certificate programs, micro-credentials, and up-skill courses are available at reasonable costs. Besides that, employers value workforce skill attainment and competency-based outcomes. Still, institutes of higher ed are the experts. Also, directors of online learning can play this game. Forward-thinking institutions are adapting and leading this revenue generation approach. These innovative institutions disrupt the degree-seeking market and win students back.
3.) Directors Can Invest in Technology for Online Learning
Likewise, these schools invested in technology. Leaders can select from a variety of options. Some schools opted to offer the program to more students at discounted rates. Other colleges retired traditional residential degree programs. Moreover, other institutions partnered with businesses to fill online classrooms. Yet, rising costs can deter leaders from investing in tech. But the digital campus relies on a consistent and reliable infrastructure.
4.) The Digital Campus Enhances the Student Journey
Still, in a post-pandemic crisis, students expect a degree of online learning. Also, incoming students are digital-native learners. Likewise, online learning improves the student’s journey and academic experience. Students enrolled in a vibrant online learning community tend to stay. Also, the government continues to tie funding to student performance. Online learning directors can leverage analytics to enhance student performance and journey.
5.) Increasing Student Retention
So, a digital campus gives university access to new students. Non-traditional and rural students take part in the digital campus. Schools with stout brands attract and keep students. Now, colleges can partner with students for the duration of their careers. As a result, institutions with effective digital programs see an increase in revenue. Besides that, these schools place themselves in the path of opportunity.
6.) The Digital Campus Advances Research
Forward-thinking universities position themselves as leaders in research and innovation. When operations are optimized, leaders can invest cost savings into technology. This investment keeps the institution competitive. Researchers need complex tools like cloud computing on secure networks with remote access. These institutions leverage tech and win more grants. They attract top talent and leadership in advanced research. As a result, these schools are positioned to partner with industry leaders.
In sum, leaders define what a digital campus looks like for their institution. Besides that, directors focus their team on the long-term benefits of online learning. Also, leaders overcome obstacles such as staff skill gaps and competition. Most importantly, leadership benefits by creating a lifelong partnership with students. Instructions benefit by having a vibrant extension of campus culture.