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How education faculties can give their universities a competitive edge

KatrinaReynen
Blog Author
0 2 3,744

In the new ultra-competitive era of higher education, students have become highly discerning paying customers, and have a greater choice of universities and courses than ever before. Digital technologies are changing the way students learn, where they learn, who they are learn with, and their expectations of personalised attention.

 

Yet many University Boards and management teams have yet to tap into one of their most valuable resources – their Education faculty. They’re yet to discover how on-staff education experts can help their universities become more competitive.

 

Improving the university’s core product

As university budgets tighten and the balance of funding shifts from research grants to student fees, the onus is on universities to improve their core product – education – to become more attractive to potential students.

Many lecturers in other faculties don’t have a formal education background, but for those in the Education Faculty, teaching is their core expertise. They generally know more about student engagement, assessment and learning than anyone else in the university.

 

With their deep educational knowledge experts can help the university create a superior contemporary learning experience across all faculties and increase demand for places at the institution.

 

Giving e-learning initiatives a competitive edge

Massive open online courses (MOOCs) are touted to be a major disruptive force in the tertiary education sector, yet in the rush to compete online, many universities are producing MOOCs that are not engaging and do little to enhance the institution’s reputation.

 

Online education should be about more than simply providing .pdf versions of documents, PowerPoint presentations and long videos of lectures. On-staff education experts can help their university colleagues to develop effective e-learning strategies, engaging online lectures and courses, and communication tools that can help the university become a digital leader.

 

Furthermore, education academics and postgraduate students are constantly conducting research and discovering new ways of engaging, teaching and assessing students who have grown up in a digital world - which can help ensure their university remains at the cutting edge of e-learning.

 

How education faculties can wield influence

Despite their wealth of expertise, education faculties need to overcome some challenges to unlock their potential as an important university resource. Chief among these challenges is the teaching profession’s reputation, as is illustrated by the relatively low entrance scores for Bachelor of Education courses.

 

Overcoming this perception and value challenge for educators is a national issue that needs to be considered by Australian governmental departments. But there are ways education faculty leaders can increase their influence on campus. They can:

 

  • keep up with the latest technologies and e-learning techniques, and conduct their own research in these areas, to ensure they become a trusted authority on ICT in education
  • build better relationships with the IT department and other faculties, sharing information, offering help and forging partnerships when opportunities arise
  • ensure that any digital strategy to improve the campus experience for students is securely located in ICTs that enhance collaborative, off site and on site learning
  • consider participating on councils and committees, and being proactive in offering advice on issues such as e-learning platforms and new assessment methods, in order to improve their voice within the University.

By offering more value to other Departments and University management, Education Deans and academics can increase their influence, improve their faculty’s reputation and lift demand for places in their faculty and university as a whole.

 

The next blog will focus on specific strategies recommend by some of Australia’s most influential Education Deans to better engage learners and drive customer experience.

 

All views expressed are those of the author.

 

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2 Comments
New Member Jonathanaca
New Member

I think Unis need to embrace MOOCs as part of their marketing and focus on improving the onsite campus experience. The traditional 200 seat lecture hall doesn't make sense as online video is much more effective at delivering this type of presentation. 

 

Architecture and technology needs to come together to support team work and collaboration- something that is still best to do in person. 

 

The workplace has embraced 'Activity Based Working' and if we are training Uni students for the workplace- their collaboration enviornment should be similar.  

 

Jon.

acaprojects.com 

Occasional Visitor ethan1211
Occasional Visitor
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About the Author
Katrina is a highly respected and dynamic executive with a record of high performance in general management, strategic planning and leadership development. She has experience at a senior level in all three sectors - government, not-for-profit and corporate.
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