And we’re back – Weeknote #149 – 7th January 2022

Happy New Year, hope 2022 will be a good year for you.

Working from home this week as our (physical) offices are closed this week. So that makes a nice change from normal…

So went back to work on the 4th January. I had 83 e-mails in my inbox. Most of them though were advertising emails, so didn’t take too long to clear the inbox.

I have had a few meetings this week, mainly about planning for various things going forward.

Spent a fair amount of time discussing, thinking about and reflecting on digital transformation. Part of the challenge is what do we even mean or understand by the term digital transformation?

There is a Jisc definition of digital transformation, that I do think we need to revisit now.

The definition says digital transformation:

  • Is the cultural, organisational and operational change of an organisation, industry or ecosystem through a smart integration of digital technologies, processes and competencies across all levels and functions in a staged way 
  • Leverages technologies to create value for stakeholders, and to enable greater agility and resilience in the face of changing circumstances 
  • Is not primarily about technology adoption. It is first and foremost about transforming the mindset and culture of an organisation to ensure that technology can be deployed as a multiplier of impact

There is a diagram on that page that I think is too simplistic and though the accompany surrounding text says different, the diagram implies that transformation is a linear journey.

It isn’t. In many ways what you did with digital before may prepare you for digital transformation, but the reality is that you probably need to throw out what you have done before you can move forward.

The definition continues with a statement which I broadly agree with:

Similarly, digital transformation should not be conflated with prior technological shifts, which focused on digitisation (moving from analogue to digital formats, for example paper forms to webforms) and digitalisation (deploying technology to attain transactional operating efficiencies, or localised benefits).

I know that many confuse digitisation and digitalisation with digital transformation, but transformation is so much more than just merely going digital. I think I might need to expand on this in a future blog post.

Image by mohamed ramzee from Pixabay

Back in the late 1990s when I was teaching business studies and economics, I was a programme lead for a level 2 Intermediate GNVQ programme for 16 and 17 year olds. When I took over the programme we had a long thin course design. Students would undertake different units simultaneously and then we had the challenge of all the assessment being bunched up at the end of the modules. This resulted in stress for students, poor outcomes and shedloads of marking for staff. So what we did was convert the course design into a programme of short fat topics. Students would focus on one thing at one time, but intensely. They would focus on that one thing and there would only be one assessment at any one time. It was challenging for staff, but it was of real benefit to the students.

So when I saw this tweet on block teaching I was reminded

At higher levels, I think the in-depth immersion in a topic would be beneficial and most universities would have the flexibility to deliver this, however it does have implications for staff workloads and timetables as well. Something again I might think about especially as with the iGNVQ programme we did a lot of mapping across the curriculum (and the core skills) so that similar topics were “bundled” together.

girl with mask
Photo by Thomas de LUZE on Unsplash

Despite the rising covid infection rates I’ve not had much or seen much discussion about the impact this will have on higher education and students.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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