Digital Transformation in the education sector: impacts on students and their choice of University.

Gone are the days when you queue at a university comms room for a computer to become available….

Student expectations have changed; the consumption of technology in the home translates to the expectations in all other areas of life. Speed, efficiency, immediate response…combine this expectation with the fact that students are paying hefty fees for their education in FE, so expectations are greater on the services they receive. They are now demanding customers, and rightly so.

Access to lectures on demand, anyplace, anytime without delays or restrictions on lecture room sizes, times or locations are a few examples of how the previous University academic to student relationship has evolved. A ‘never miss a lecture’ mentality is being formed and being able to tap into lecture recordings or dial in remotely and attend off campus is being adopted.

It’s all become smartphone app friendly too, to help universities meet their KPIs of attracting and retaining as many students as possible from the UK and from overseas. Now with the inset of 5G and the impending government decisions on deploying the 5G network with Huawei or other providers this will have security impacts for Universities and their content sharing on their network. Something else for students to become inquisitive and concerned about when making their university selection.

Impacts on student welfare

Mental Health Awareness and support in Universities is growing and student welfare is key to their experience at university and their ability to study and make the grade. Having the right resources and technology to support students over the internet is expected; some universities are setting up specific private counsel spaces where student can remain anonymous and communicate their concerns with the university welfare officer.  University studies are only part of the experience; now access to technology to communicate with loved ones; family and friends at home are equally important and improves the transition from home to student life.

The creation of huddle rooms for small clusters of students to attend lectures over a webex is becoming the norm; ideal for students who suffer from anxiety of large lecture theatres or for those overseas who are on a specific research program and collaborating with overseas contacts. This is becoming a great steppingstone into future employed life.

Rising costs of living

The impacts of costs on students affects their mental health significantly: spiraling costs of living and education, and it being the biggest decision for students at that point in their lives.

Webex can ease the transition. Access to technology may help reduce costs for students which then can help improve their state of mental health; for example if they are struggling to make ends meet, spending money attending a face to face lecture when they can dial in from home would be a great way to ensure lecturers keep their attendance rates high and ensure student wellbeing is maintained.

Guess what – academics are expecting the same!

Some of the above considerations also apply to academics. Travel is seen as downtime and becoming a barrier for attracting talent into Universities. In order to overcome this, using webex teams, and voice and video helps maximise the expensive resource they are. It also allows for more detailed research time and helps with the work/life balances that all professionals aspire to achieve regardless of sector.

To find out more about how Nowcomm supports the education sector with some of the largest universities and FE colleges in the UK contact us today for more information.