Digital Infrastructure in Universities: Enabling Smarter Education
Digital infrastructure in higher education helps to enhance student experiences. Universities can attract more prospective students and fulfill the needs of current students with digital support, such as websites, mobile apps, portals, course registration platforms, intranet, and microsites.
Beyond the visible systems, there is an overarching digital infrastructure that supports university operations enabling smarter education. This type of digital infrastructure is not visible to all users but crucial to bringing together the infrastructure that enhances student experiences.
A digital vision is essential to implement long-term infrastructure in universities. All universities require secure and scalable systems to adapt to the ever-changing education landscape and operate on the same platform rather than in silos.
Let’s consider a few examples of long-term digital infrastructure and how they benefit universities.
Operational agility and efficiency
Cloud infrastructure enables universities to create, manage, and access information on one platform without requiring specialized hardware and software on individual terminals. Cloud computing, the method to combine IT and computing resources online, provides greater flexibility to universities to scale and access data.
Universities with limited budgets can utilize cloud services without making new or extra investments in ICT (Information Communications Technology) resources. Cloud infrastructure improves operational agility and efficiency in universities by enabling real-time collaboration supporting student communication and faculty management.
Cloud reduces data storage costs, minimizes data center maintenance, and provides easy access to university resources. No matter how many facilities a university manages, or how many students enroll, the cloud is scalable and will grow along with the university.
Analytics use existing data to derive deep insights into student preferences, faculty experiences, digital trends, and business activities to help universities make data-driven decisions. Smart analytic tools, such as dashboards, visualization software, information and records systems, and performance indicator metrics support agile university practices.
A dashboard to visualize university data analysis facilitates decision-making and planning. Processed data insights, available and accessible to university planners and managers, lead to efficient institutional strategies, research & knowledge production, and policymaking & governance.
Visual digital data enables university administrators to monitor organizational performance & improvement and support responsive learning through adaptive platforms. Smart digital tools enable smarter education.
Innovate and adapt
AI and its various subsets, like Machine Learning (ML), Deep Learning (DP), Natural Language Processing (NLP), and virtual assistance, empower universities to interpret and manipulate data. Algorithms can predict students who are most likely to apply, progress, graduate, and become engaged alumni, and help faculty to focus their efforts better.
Algorithms can detect early warning signs in students who struggle academically, enabling university personnel to proactively create retention plans to help the students. AI helps to automate several admin tasks, such as the admission process, visa process, course registration, housing selection, and more, making all processes personalized and faster.
AI will work on time-intensive tasks empowering universities to focus on enhancing student experiences. It gives higher-ed the capability to elevate academic performance, anticipate enrollment trends, and optimize recruitment endeavors.
Big data analytics
Big data analytics combined with cloud computing create high-performance and responsive systems that extract and analyze large volumes of data. Universities can gather information from hundreds of sources in real-time and deliver actionable insights quickly to all its sub-schools, admin, faculty, and stakeholders.
Data analytics can inform educators of their student’s progress, engagement, and well-being. Smart tools incorporating data analytics also allow the faculty to interact with students with an overview of their progress at individual and class levels.
Educators can personalize learning experiences for each student while improving teaching outcomes. Big data analytics enables universities to effectively collect, manage, store, and process data utilizing their resources to innovate better university experiences.
ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) software is a comprehensive system that digitizes and automates university administrative operations. Such operations include admissions, attendance, courses, alumni, tuition, records, faculty, documentation, and inventory management. An efficient university ERP system can automate course allotments, fee payments, payroll, time-table generation, and hall ticket generation.
University ERP reduces manual and repetitive admin tasks, thus enhancing faculty experiences. It can manage faculty profiles, schedules, and recruitment. It can also generate attendance reports, create class rosters, and send mobile or email alerts to respective students.
Document management tasks can be set up for manual approval, auto-approval, and auto-rejection. Faculty can create and manage different courses effortlessly with detailed sections, credits, and hours of each course. A university ERP increases daily productivity, connects faculty from multiple departments, and facilitates smooth communication ensuring all stakeholders in the university are on the same page.
Building an education ecosystem
We have considered different types of digital infrastructure for universities. It may seem expensive and time-consuming to invest in and adopt all these tools and technologies. But progressive technology simplifies digital transformation and adoption.
Digital Experience Platforms (DXP), combine content management, analytics, integration, personalization, collaboration, and processes to deliver excellent university experiences on multiple channels. An Open DXP utilizes intelligent architecture to connect with all systems improving operational efficiency.
Composable DXPs with Headless CMS and powerful integration will help universities to manage all services, websites, portals, apps, tools, and information on one platform.
An Open DXP evolves with advancing technology and university growth to adapt and meet the ever-changing expectations of current students, prospective students, faculty, staff, alumni, researchers, and visitors. If your university is looking to enable smarter education, an Open DXP is the solution.
QED42 has worked with multiple universities in reinventing their student and staff experiences with simple, scalable, and cost-effective digital infrastructure. Take a look at how we helped Stanford GSB amplify its digital experiences over its websites, platforms, mobile app, and portal.
We can help craft a digital strategy best suited for your university mission and goals. Whether you are looking to adopt an open-source CMS, or a design system, or prefer a custom composable DXP for your university, we are glad to help you.
If you want to visualize how our digital solutions will benefit your university, chat with our higher-ed consulting experts, who will arrange for a free walkthrough of the solution we delivered for the Stanford Graduate School of Business.