The COVID-19 pandemic led a lot of organizations scrambling to cope with the extraordinary situation. Educational institutions were not spared. Educational institutions had to find solutions to keep their employees and students safe, and yet, continue to deliver the services they are expected to provide. Just like other industries, the shift towards remote delivery of services, in this case, remote learning, led educational institutions to invest in information and communications technology (ICT), specifically in educational technologies (edtech). What was missing was a plan to digitally transform the way educational institutions operate (some already started pre-pandemic)— this pandemic gave that a boost and made it top priority for most. How do you do digital transformation if you are an educational institution? Where do you start?
Digital transformation in the academic sector does not only mean deploying educational technology. Whilst educational institutions exist primarily to deliver learning, the support system necessary to effectively provide that service is also crucially important. With employees, faculty members and students mostly working remotely, the ICT infrastructure necessary to operate efficiently and effectively needs to be properly planned and architected. In addition to ICT hardware and software, the people behind these must also be properly equipped to support it. Finally, are there established ICT-related policies beyond the familiar controls on how students access online resources? There is a need to understand where ICT strategically sits in the overall scheme of things, so to speak, and not simply treated as tools for learning. Case in point, you would be hard-pressed to find a Chief Information Officer (CIO) sitting on the board of these institutions!
The UP System Information Technology Foundation (UPSITF, not connected to the University of the Philippines), of which I am a member, in the spirit of full disclosure, is holding the first Digital Transformation webinar, “Digital Transformation 2021: Preparing for a Future-driven Education”, dedicated solely for educational institutions on June 15 and 16, 2021. UPSITF recognizes the importance of learning from peers, both local and international, and the webinar hopes to do just that. Hurry, register as soon as you can.