I have never attended the UCISA Leadership conference before, but after the 2020 conference was cancelled, I was given the chance to attend the 2022 event. This was the third in-person conference I have attended since March 2020.
This year’s much-anticipated UCISA22 Leadership Conference will look ahead at the future challenges and opportunities for digital leaders in education. The theme of conference is Digital Leadership in a Post-Pandemic World.
I wrote about day one of the conference in this blog post. This post is about the second day of the event. This was a full day of sessions, conversations, exhibition and networking. Certainly not enough coffee, but then again conference coffee is never anything to write home about.
For me the day started with the 9am session, From The Workshop to The Disruptor: Strategic Online Planning During the Pandemic which was delivered remotely by Adam Shoemaker, Vice-Chancellor & President, Victoria University.
In 2021, enduring significant lockdowns meant we had to be creative and authentic in the way we engaged with staff. This became especially significant during our new strategic plan development – as we wanted our staff to be involved in the process in a way that had never been done before. Utilising a crowd-sourcing platform that we named The Workshop, we harnessed people power and digital enablement to create something truly unique. This has led to a new way of imagining our senior leadership and designing our teaching, research and partnering future.
I did a sketch note of his talk.
Victoria University took a very different approach to their strategic planning. This was not a top down approach, the process initially involved nearly a thousand staff. This was a highly collaborative approach bringing in ideas, thoughts and visions from across the university.
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.
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
"The pandemic has triggered a fundamental rethink of many academic orthodoxies, but the nature of students’ weekly timetables has largely been ignored." Is block teaching the future of university pedagogy? https://t.co/TCB6EcytRs via @timeshighered
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.
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.