A Smart Campus isn't a project

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07 June 2015

Smart Campuses are to universities what ‘Digital’ was to modern business a few years ago, and that’s a huge problem.

One of the larger trends of 2014/2015 has been the change of stance in how Businesses see digital; namely as a cultural movement rather than a ‘project’ within a programme of initiatives.

We see brands like Telstra take on the task of digitising it’s business with a 500m self investment, and a dedicated internal team to champion the movement, Digital First.

In a similar sense the emergence of the smart campus is, for most educational institutions, a project that should be treated as an entire paradigm shift in the way that we all want to absorb education. This change in the way education is delivered is not driven exclusively by millennials—although they do play a huge part—but also by post graduates who want to further their education while either rearing a family or continuing full time work.

Enter the Mass Online Open College (though not so impressively).

In an article on MOOCs by The Economist[1] they report very high dropout rates, with around 10% of first time subscribers completing their courses.

This incredible statistic points to a rationale that it isn’t just about the convenience of accessible education, and that students require both community and proximity to find their study practical, and useful.

It also outlines that cost is not an overly defining factor for why online study has become so incredibly popular; something that is in line with businesses universally, not just educational institutions.

Instead Universities are able to offer value through a long term strategy of ubiquitous and omnipresent technology enabled campuses.

As covered above, these campuses are more than just a project. They are more than simply having a mesh wifi network, smart whiteboards and online enrolments.

A Smart Campus is driven entirely by technology to gain efficiencies in it’s business; ensuring optimum efficiencies of services to maximise cost savings. It is a campus that provides it’s teachers the ability to remain smart, and to keep up with the latest trends and research in their field.

This is something that students are able to do with ease, and in some degrees such as Computer Sciences are able to out-specialise their teachers. This results in dissatisfied teachers and disengaged students.

Additionally a Smart Campus is integrated into it’s community to seek opportunity of both business efficiency and scale, as well as demonstrate leadership in it’s immediate vicinity.

This leadership provides long term aspirations of high student retention and staff retention, as well as being able to put their Smart learnings into practice.

There are a large number of Universities that are taking a smart approach to facilities such as parking, lighting, and security to better their student and staff experience, though this is just scratching the surface of a much greater beast.

The MOOC is here to stay, in some form or another, so a rapid adoption of Smart Campus as a modus operandi will ensure far greater engagement and long term success for all involved.

Treating it as a ‘project’ however will only see short wins, and long term setback.

1. http://www.economist.com/news/briefing/21605899-staid-higher-education-business-about-experience-welcome-earthquake-digital