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13 Sep 2016

Higher education can provide richer student experiences for less

Robert Janssen Director of Direct Sales Operations at Ricoh SA
Managed Document Services

Technology can be a student’s greatest hurdle but biggest enabler


Education institutions are under increasing pressure, not just in South Africa but globally, to provide richer student experiences at lower costs.

Massive open online courses (MOOC) were essentially pioneered by US universities and have since been adopted by several others.
However, a recent global study sponsored by Ricoh and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, agrees that higher education needs new technology – but adds that, while technology is important, it will only add value if people can more creatively connect students with that technology. That’s most evident where document and information processes support online courses.

The activities where human imagination or intuition are most critical are 1) teaching and 2) developing new teaching materials. Teachers will remain essential to student learning and particularly so where the interaction between the two is enriched by technology.

Our UK operation recently partnered with a college to help them virtualise their IT infrastructure supporting online learning and resource access. It gave students access to documents 24×7, from anywhere and any smart device.

It’s given students an independence, as well as collaborative interactivity, they never had before. Another upside was the cost savings.

Our sponsored research by Economist Intelligence Unit also showed:

• 77% of those in the education sector have some of the latest devices but are being hindered by back end legacy systems.
• 73% of educational institutions invest in new technology before fully realising the functionality of their existing technology.

Technology is the number one enabler for the future of higher education learning yet today it is the number one obstacle. Practical solutions with pragmatic and experienced partners can hurdle those obstacles.

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