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Becoming a Digital Champion in your Institution – Are you in?

Believe it or not but making the case for digital is still an ongoing and often uphill struggle for higher education institutions around the world. Really, it is (in 2017)! And to be clear, we’re not saying that the merits of digital marketing are not understood or appreciated or even that it’s not being funded (although it’s underfunded let’s be honest). No. What we’re saying is that digital is still perceived as a task, as a set of activities, as a representation of ‘things’ that get done online.

And while it has to be said that this is partially true it does by no means appropriately convey the enormity of what digital is or should be.

In prepping for our recent webinar on ‘Digital Governance’ I asked our webinar presenter Claire Gibbons to make the distinction, in her opinion, between web and digital. Expecting a long pause while she reflected, mulled it over (potentially Google it) Claire shot back with “Web is a channel but Digital is a culture”.

My first thought was ‘Hell yeah, I’m robbing that one’ but my second thought was that is quite a lofty status for digital to own; for it to be a culture i.e. “a way of life, especially the general customs and beliefs, of a particular group of people at a particular time” (Cambridge English Dictionary).

Is digital really a culture in higher education? Is the power of digital and all the elements within it understood as a driving force for performance and success in your institution; a way of life? That digital itself can directly influence and shape institutional goals and the ability to meet them. That it’s a shared and accepted way of doing things throughout the institution. We were suspicious.

Truthfully, there are no easy answers but at least the questions are being asked and we want to wholeheartedly encourage that. Over the course of the next few months we’ll be pushing to help you become Digital Champions in your institution by arming you with all the best advice, independent insights and examples we can muster.

We started with our recent webinar: Digital Governance for Higher Education – Navigating the Chaos. We’ll expand this series to include more granular examples of how to set out on the path of Digital Governance and others that emphasize the importance of student-centric approaches to digital.

We also wanted to supplement this webinar series with a number of Digital Insight resources. To start this we asked renowned user experience designer and expert in digital transformation, Paul Boag, to create a number of short videos (2 minutes a piece) that seeks to put students at the heart of your digital strategies.

Digital Insights for higher education with Paul Boag

1. Introduction to customer journey mapping

Paul Boag gives a short overview as to the importance of 'Customer Journey Mapping' and why it's a valuable tool when thinking about the Student Experience. Furthermore, the place customer journey mapping has in informing the role of digital in your institution.

2. Are you educating or implementing?

What's the role of the digital team in your higher education institution? Are you setting the digital agenda or simply an implementer? In this short video Paul Boag makes the case for elevating the digital team to a position of strategy.

3. Five reasons you should love prototyping

In this short video Paul Boag, user experience designer and expert in digital transformation, discusses why prototyping should lie at the heart of any process for building digital services. He outlines 5 reasons why you should and will love prototyping and do it all the time.

4. How to get colleagues and clients in front of end users

Nothing transforms people's thinking better than seeing people struggling to use their Apps/Websites etc. In this short video Paul Boag discusses why usability testing is crucial and methods to remove any resistance to is.

5. How to get colleagues to care about user experience

In this video Paul Boag outlines the challenges of getting colleagues to care about the user (student) experience when building digital services. Highlighting how improved user experience impacts their personal goals and workload.

6. How to manage your web steering group

Fact, Universities and Colleges are hierarchical and often full of siloed divisions vying for power and authority. This is never more obvious when it comes to digital due to its far reaching impact. In this short video Paul Boag outlines how to manage the dreaded 'Steering Group'.

7. How to prevent your homepage overwhelming visitors

In this short video Paul Boag outlines an exercise that should be carried out with key stakeholders that will protect the integrity and impact of the homepage i.e. what goes on the page.

8. Top task analysis in a nutshell

In this video Paul Boag outlines the concept of Top Task Analysis. It emphasizes the concept of not creating digital strategies and channels that what it is your higher education institution wants to say but rather what your prospective student wants to see or do.

If there are topics that you want us to include in this 'Digital Insights' series please let us know.

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