Digital Initiatives in Higher Education- KeyPoints


By Dr. Anoop Swarup
Vice Chancellor, Jagran Lakecity University

Knowledge is power. Information is liberating. Education is the premise of progress, in every society, in every family.” ~ Kofi Annan

Key Points:
• Innovative methods for enhancing teaching learning process
• Innovations in improving the administration of institutions
• Measures for promoting research
• Major efforts at involving with the community for improving livelihoods
• Imparting Digital Education

Innovative methods for enhancing teaching learning process.
Knowledge coupled with creativity and innovation is the most powerful currency that Universities create and contribute to society and the humankind and define higher education’s purpose, as we address problems that have no borders in an increasingly flat world. In India, the numbers attending universities doubled in the 1990s, and the demand continues to surge. India’s rich demographic dividend may soon be a disaster if the need of at least 800 new institutions of higher education is not met by 2020 in order to raise the age participation rate from 12.4% to 30%.

To be a Door Opener for the students in a rapidly globalizing world, it is important to follow the emerging Technological Trends that are shaping the future educational landscape.

1. Big Data – Big Data, combined with predictive analytics, has great potential to personalize learning and bring students up to speed in exactly the areas where they’re falling behind.

2. Extreme BYOD – The driving force behind the movement of bring your own device (BYOD) is that actually “everybody wants their own individualized workspace.” As educators we need to support students on their BYOD possessions, also helping them make distinctions between their real lives and their digital lives.

3. Transmedia – Transmedia storytelling is underutilized in education, as the greatest portal into the multi-universe we have. If used properly, transmedia would give educators and students the opportunity to tell stories in a variety of ways and span the gap between critical thinking and creative thinking, forming a new and exciting “creatical thinking.”

Innovations in improving the administration of institutions.
Autonomy: The purpose of education is not just making a student literate but to ensure and adds values, rationale thinking, knowledge and self sufficiency.

Technology Adoption: Evidently enough latest interactive teaching is changing the role of education with the introduction of multimedia, and an innovative effort of an institution helps in its academic excellence. Thus decentralized proper planning and execution of these innovative and best practices will not only add to the skills, knowledge and personality development of the faculty but also of the students and make them employable.

Academic flexibility: Academic flexibility is necessary for improvements in course content, updation and practice based teaching and learning coupled with good infrastructure and bandwidth access along with unfettered international collaborations, level playing field for public and private universities and institutions as also equity in funding will be required to drive growth in the long term.

Measures for promoting research.

Research Integrity and Interest
Let us examine Research as – individual interest and manifestation of innovation and values, assumptions and perceptions instilled as researchers even though subtle, but mostly apparent with the impact factor based assessments, yet in both cases the effects are far reaching. The principles for promoting research and freedom will primarily focus on students as learners, respect and adjust for diversity, provide context-specific information and support, facilitate meaningful internationalization, dialogue and engagement, adaptable, flexible and responsive approach to experimentation and evidence in a globalised world.

Research Accessibility and Accountability
To ensure accessibility to international research and for accountability, to capture core ideas from the published research, be specific enough to guide researchers in their practice, flexibility to accommodate the variety of different learning and teaching contexts within which teachers and learners work, for example: offshore, onshore, online, in large and small groups.

Major efforts at involving with the community for improving livelihoods.
Strategic Planning for comprehensive community and societal involvement is much more than adopting new technology. Also at Universities we have to urgently think about the issues, problems and community solutions as also larger global ecosystem, adopting best practices, forecasting the emergence and impact of new technologies, and quickly adapting to the rapid changes. The critical efforts necessary are:

1. Assessing and measurement on specific livelihood benchmarks across all key areas, should include research and information fluency, communication and collaboration, critical thinking and problem solving, and creativity and innovation as the way forward to a future ready education.
2. Our education needs to evolve, so as to prepare to the needs of our future workforce, and the skills needed to drive this continue to change through integration with national priorities such as Skills India, Digital India, Swach Bharat, Start Up India and Smart Cities initiatives.
3. Professional development plan for community future. After integrating national priorities such as the Skill India initiative we have to get the leadership infrastructure in place as teaching and learning outcomes should map the end goal of student-led learning.
4. Ensure equitable access for the community to technology and information. Ensuring and providing students with equal access to information will not only shrink the digital divide but also support personalized learning and meeting community demands.
5. Evaluation and measurement of student progress in future-ready skills. Evaluation and assessing of students’ progress in mastering future-ready skills is a key component of building a successful future-ready livelihood initiative.

Imparting Digital Education: Emerging Paradigms in Higher Education
Studies on digitization and internationalization of higher education are of prime interest to policy makers, educationists, and leaders. Studies based specifically on the internationalization in the HE sector have been performed in numerous regions of the world: Alamri (2011) in Saudi Arabia, Liu and Dai (2012) and Chen and Huang (2013) and Mitra (2010) in India, which shows the importance given by researchers and reflects the respective nation’s keenness to digitize and internationalize.

In Conclusion
The higher education landscape will change more than ever in the next ten years than it has in the previous one hundred. Internet revolution and Technology has challenged traditional assumptions about learning, not only the proliferation of MOOCs and vocational training programs but also Virtual Reality and BYOD has led to new choices for aspiring students.

Digital Education is now a global phenomenon, with vast numbers of students seeking to go for it and these shifts all points to one truth: rapid globalization and enormous flood of knowledge across the world and an increasing number of choices about what, how, and where.