I am attending the Association for Learning Technology conference at the University of Warwick this week.
On Wednesday in OC0.02 between 12 and 12:30 I am presenting a session entitled Looking through that digital lens.
The pandemic crisis gave universities serious challenges and required creative thinking to provide solutions. Universities have needed to act at pace and scale. They’ve needed to do this whilst staff and students are coping lockdowns, social distancing, and restrictions. One aspect of higher education that gained more prominence during the emergency response, was the importance of digital. Knowing that digital has been critical to dealing with the challenges of the pandemic, the question now remains: how and what role will digital play in the post-pandemic strategic priorities of the university?
There are two key questions facing universities?
Does the strategy still meet the needs of the university in this new, changing, and uncertain landscape?
What role does digital play in helping universities achieve their [new] strategic aspirations?
Any departmental or methodology strategy should always link back to the organisational strategy and how the objectives and actions will support the organisational strategic aims. If you apply a digital lens to the corporate strategy, you can demonstrate how digital technologies can enable that strategy. So rather than talk about how you are going to increase the use of digital technologies, the strategy talks about how the use of digital technologies will enable the strategic aims (Clay 2018). Digital does not exist in isolation and there may be other strategies, such as teaching and learning, assessment, environmental, wellbeing or community. The concept of a lens can be used here as well. The digital lens approach, as outlined by Jisc (Phipps and Clay 2018) can enable effective and transformational behaviours to emerge by helping staff to understand and develop their capabilities and confidence in the context of their own work. The results can include an improved status quo and the identification of new goals for individuals and their organisations. There is a history of people talking about applying a lens to challenges, to look at things differently. (Phipps and Clay 2018) To give a different perspective on what has been written or talked about. In this session we will reflect on the various ways in which universities can respond to these questions, you may want to create new strategic priorities, which reflect the new landscape in which universities will operate. A question that we will also discuss is, do universities need a separate digital strategy? There are challenges with having additional strategies that are an addition to the core strategic priorities, and with more strategies in place it is sometimes easy for things to fall between them. Additionally, the provision of a new strategy, with new digital priorities, may be seen as some kind of extra or addition to what staff are already doing. The end result is that the digital strategy is often ignored or left to one side (Clay 2018). In the session we will look at how this can be avoided. In this session participants will gain an understanding of the importance of digital in strategic planning and decision making.
Phipps, L and Clay J (2018) Delivering digital change: strategy, practice and process. Senior leaders’ briefing paper Jisc
Clay J (2018) Why does no one care about my digital strategy? – eLearning Stuff [online] eLearning Stuff.
After the conference I will provide more insights and an overview of my presentation. The slides will be pretty much useless on their own as I am only using images (again).
The essence of my talk is to provide a retrospective on my own digital strategy journey, the development of strategies in the different roles I have had, operationalisation, and the concept of the digital lens.
If you are interested please join me in my session at the conference.