Why modern campuses need innovative tech for improved student experience
Several private institutions in India are building campuses with state-of-the art infrastructure including separate research facilities, labs for technological innovations.Updated: Nov 06, 2019 16:42 IST
As India is vying towards an internationalization of higher education, many efforts are being made to set Indian varsities at par with their foreign counterparts. Various Indian universities are also welcoming collaborations with foreign varsities to undertake research, technological development, exchange programmes, among other initiatives.
With varsities at the forefront of bringing educational reforms in the country, campuses need to be equipped with world-class facilities. Several private institutions in India are building campuses with state-of-the art infrastructure including separate research facilities, labs for technological innovations.
Expansion of higher education to reach India’s goal of internationalization requires a significant emphasis on improving student experience to deliver the best learning services.
Collaborating with foreign universities comes into play to enable Indian varsities to improve learning experience for students. Universities around the world are investing in technology on campus to make learning more effective for students. Coming from various backgrounds, students take time to settle in a university life.
The onus is thus on universities to make them feel comfortable and at home.
As personal interactions with students is not feasible all the time, universities are making use of technology to ease them into university.
For instance, Deakin University, Australia, provides students with DeakinSync which includes personal cloud storage, online access to lesson units, Microsoft tools for assignments, a Deakin email account, and other features like instant messaging and video chats. It also connects students with study groups.
While some central and private universities are already exploring technology to digitize libraries, or creating an online network for sharing lectures and notes, a technological revolution is necessary in modern Indian campuses.
Such technology helps students get familiar with a university and supports them with their day-to-day activities in campus.
Taking cue from the technological advancement in students’ personal lives, Deakin has also developed an AI-enabled personal assistant for students.
Deakin Genie is a voice controlled smartphone app that is designed to provide learning material and support services to students.
It enables instant access to everything required in college such as timetables, email, calendar, exam timetable, orientation itinerary, trimester details. It even helps students with assignments by suggesting references, access to unit resources.
Most university campuses are so huge that it is practically not possible for students to navigate their way to different rooms. Deakin University, for instance has 4 campuses which inhabits 350 buildings, 17,000 rooms.
For this, Deakin has designed Deakin Scout that provide personalised navigation and smart services to seamlessly navigate way through campus.
It aims to connect students in ways that make a large, complex, intimidating campuses feel welcoming and intimate.
DeakinScount allows students to search for a room, a service and provides step by step directions from the location to destination including internal and external directions in a building.
Scout is personalized according to students’ preferences.
It can also view live occupancy of spaces where students congregate including busy places like library so that students can hunt out quieter areas of the university to look for a place to study. As students are increasingly depending on technology for their studies, it is imperative to improve students’ experience at universities by providing them the right and reliable technological tools.
Such applications help create digital companions for students. Using artificial intelligence can help create a personalized experience for every student. Such technology can also help students grow in a personal capacity. For instance, Deakin Genie sees gaps between students’ elected classes and suggests options to fill the gaps with available workshops or events.
This not only helps students to manage their time effectively, but also helps them find ways to invest their time in other beneficial activities.
(The author is deputy vice-president (global) and CEO, South Asia, Deakin University. Views expressed here are personal.)