Key points to take away from the Accelerating Digital Transformation in Higher Education conference

Wednesday, March 08, 2017 10:42

Katherine Hockley by Katherine Hockley

Yesterday we hosted the Accelerating Digital Transformation in Higher Education conference, and boy did we learn a lot. 

Here are some of the key take-aways from the event for those who had to leave early or couldn't make it. 

  • Voice search is being widely invested in and may replace other methods as the main way of searching. Check out this terrifying/cute robot:
  • Higher education learning may be open to change regarding teaching methods. Competency-based learning is being implemented at UEL, whereby the structure of a course is not linear in the traditional sense: the learner chooses modules at an order and pace that suits them. This aims at increasing employability, and was met initally with reservations but soon became popular with academics. 


  • Virtual open days are becoming increasingly popular, allowing students from all over the world who can't afford to travel to an open day to take part.

  • Investing in partnerships will increase the speed of your digital transformation as an institute. 
READ MORE: Is Snapchat the key to increasing student engagement? 
  • Big data should be collected, even if you don't know what to do with it yet.

  • Mobile and video are important marketing strategies for universities in order to engage with potential and current students. Create mobile responsive sites!


  • Lots of jobs can be automated, and this is not a bad thing. It is not man vs machine, but man and machine working in harmony. 
  • Increasing digital skills for humanities subjects was raised by our very own Digital Preservation expert Stephanie Taylor, for example data mining for history students. Digital skills can/should be spread more widely. 


  • Personalisation of content is key. Stop sending irrelevant information to huge lists, as this will likely decrease engagement. Sending personalised content, on the other hand, is a good idea. For example, 35% of Amazon sales are from personalised recommendations. 

  • Ethics around inevitable AI should be incorporated into student learning. 
  • Most importantly, be nice to your robot. 

Thanks to everyone for coming, we had a blast. 

READ MORE: The biggest challenges facing tech enhanced learning in HE

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Posted in Fairs and Events, Higher Education