Solving Data Integration Challenges for the Constantly Connected Student

Solving Data Integration Challenges for the Constantly Connected Student

This is the first in a series of posts discussing critical aspects of the Educause report “Top 10 IT Issues 2020: The Drive to Digital Transformation Begins.”

Although Educause’s annual top ten list of higher ed IT issues was released months before covid disruptions began to work their way into higher ed, its findings and predictions have managed to hold true – and the need to address them has in fact been accelerated due to the changes the pandemic brought on.

One of the key considerations the report focused on was the need for colleges and universities to build a truly student-centered campus in order to attract and retain students.

Prior to the pandemic, this was already a daunting feat – one that meant catering to a demographic used to a ubiquitous connection, integrating multiple devices and operating systems into a seamless experience.

Now, with so much more of the college experience migrating online, it’s even more daunting – and even more crucial to the success of both students and universities.    

What is a Student-Centered Virtual Campus?

According to the Educause report, a student-centered campus is focused on creating a student services ecosystem to support the entire student life cycle, from prospecting to enrollment, learning, job placement, and continuing education. The university must approach this from a student’s point of view. The university should make attempts to satisfy the student’s needs, expectations of a seamless digital experience, and future professional goals.

This digital transformation, although inevitable, has been hastened by the current pandemic. It has shown administrators, students, and professors that enabling a seamless learning environment for students is critical as we continue along with our technological evolution. A seamless experience will attract more students and help drive student retention and success. But it does not stop there.

At N2N, we believe in a virtual, student-centered campus that works on any mobile device or desktop environment. We believe that a student should be able to access every resource – whether they are learning resources or administrative resources from a simple application, without the need for multiple logins or applications on the student’s device. 

The model needs to incorporate not just learning modalities but must be present with the student through his/her entire campus lifecycle. The model should support student services like billing, financial aid, library, and even cafeteria services directly from this holistic virtual campus module.

At N2N, we are committed to the end-to-end student experience, that begins at recruitment and follows through application, acceptance, financing, learning, student success, graduation, and beyond.

Considering all the departments and disparate systems the above entails, that is quite a challenge for any institution.

An Adaptable Student-Centered Campus System

In addition to the pure technological challenges of combining siloed systems, there is the challenge of future planning. For example, universities were once centers of synchronous learning. But recent worldwide events have shown that this model is no longer sustainable. The incorporation of virtual learning into the traditional college experience is no longer optional for academic institutions. Some institutions are now 100% virtual, but most institutions now support hybrid learning or flex learning to support students and their learning preferences.

Looking beyond the current pandemic, and projecting forward – we believe that students will need more flexibility from their educational institutions going forward, and the academia needs to adapt to succeed in this new student-centric world. 

It will be imperative that leadership at institutions choose a set of tools that can be adapted to support whichever learning modalities it may be called on to try. Beyond modalities, leadership must also be able to adapt and scale their systems to integrate new tools for the ever-growing and ever-evolving demand for that seamless online experience.

In a previous blog post we discussed how the N2N Illuminate platform is a solution that allows university systems to easily add and remove any tools they decide on quickly, easily, and affordably, integrating them into one seamless ecosystem.

Contact us to find out how we can help you transition into a student-centered campus.

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