You're invited to join the conversation and help shape UBC's first university-wide digital strategy. Your ideas, perspective, and aspirations are critical to the process. We want to hear from students, faculty, staff to understand your current experience with technology and what capabilities would make the biggest difference in terms of your studies, research, teaching and learning, or work.
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Digital Dialogue (Open to Faculty, Staff and Students)
UBC is developing its first institution-wide digital strategy: a forward-looking plan that advances Shaping UBC's Next Century and reflects the needs of the community in the context of a post-pandemic world.
Digital UBC is reaching out to faculty (inclusive of assistant professors, associate professors, sessionals, adjuncts, lecturers, emeriti, and those with research or clinical appointments), students and staff on both campuses to join the conversation and to dive deeper into the emerging priorities gathered from various consultations and to further define the capabilities required to enable and advance UBC. The next opportunity to provide input is through the Digital Dialogue which are in-depth explorations of various themes bringing together cross-stakeholder perspectives.
The topics covered will be:
Date: May 12, 9:00am-11:00am
There is a crucial need for centering Indigenous voices in the design of our collective digital futures, building upon our conversations to date with Indigenous members of the university community. The digital inequities experienced by Indigenous people are real, and it is essential to listen and understand how to help solve these challenges. Issues of data sovereignty and Indigenous ways of knowing are also fundamental and must be considered as part of Digital UBC. Through this work, we can consider together how the use of technology can help expand and enrich educational opportunities, support Indigenous community engagement and research, and enhance equity for Indigenous students, faculty, and staff. How can we do this in an inclusive, informed, and considered way?
Date: May 20, 11:00am-1:00pm
Concerns around inequities in digital access have been a consistent theme in the Digital UBC conversations to date. Not everyone has equal access to technology or experiences it in the same way, and we need to identify these challenges and find ways to address them. Conversely, there is recognition that technology has the capacity to enhance inclusion and access. For example, virtual and hybrid technologies can open educational opportunities for students facing barriers that have made it historically difficult for them to attend formal education or in-person classes. However, without thoughtful development and implementation, technology can reinforce existing inequities, or create new barriers. How do we ensure that Digital UBC helps advance the university's foundational goals of equity, diversity, and inclusion, as well as those of access and engagement?
Communicating and engaging with our diverse and distributed community has always been challenging. In a hybrid world, these activities will become even more complex, and our approach will need rethinking as we consider and adopt the learnings from the past two years. Data-driven, digital-first communications that break down silos are becoming increasingly important. The management and dissemination of information are complex and critical tasks. At the same time, virtual communications and the ability to collaborate across the institution and with partners must be strengthened for those researching, teaching, learning and working remotely. What is the future of communications and collaboration at UBC, and what role can – and must – technology play?
UBC consistently ranks as one of the world's top research universities. Technological advances that are more powerful and scalable, such as those used to support advanced research computing can revolutionize research and help lead to breakthroughs in knowledge and innovation. Cloud-based and other platforms enable the power, scale and data sharing across buildings, campuses, and countries that is so crucial to excellence in research. Data management is a complex domain and there are growing compliance demands on universities. How can we use the campus as a living lab framework to foster innovation and to operationalize and scale our research? What technologies or digital capabilities are needed to support the future of research at UBC?
Historically, the UBC student experience has been primarily place-based. The past two years have seen a dramatic shift in delivery and hybrid modes are expected to continue with the result that technology is now as integral to students' lives at UBC as it is to their lives outside of the university. Students continue to want the important community aspects of in-person learning but also increasingly demand the flexibility afforded by hybrid teaching and services. There is an opportunity to reconceive how the university supports students as their digital interactions are enhanced, accelerated and personalized. What matters most as we consider how best to evolve and enrich the UBC student experience in all aspects of their interactions with UBC?
It could be argued that we've undergone more change in the educational model in the last two years than across the previous fifty. Pre-COVID, courses were offered principally in-person. During the height of COVID, out of necessity, more than 95% of all courses were fully online. We are now navigating an equilibrium position for some form of hybrid learning model that lies between these two-end points. There are opportunities to leverage advancements in areas like AI, VR, and XR technology, to rethink program structures and academic calendars, and to reach a more diverse student body. What does education look like as we consider the potential of technology to enable new ways of teaching and learning?
The global effects of climate change are increasing in severity, and higher education institutions are helping lead the way in addressing these challenges through their research and in taking steps to become carbon neutral. How can UBC use digital technologies to support a more sustainable future, including reduced inefficiencies and enhanced remote and hybrid operations that lead to smaller carbon footprints? How do we evolve our campuses in ways that best support our academic mission? There are possible implications for physical spaces, capital investment, and operating costs, as well as questions about how best to link virtual and campus-based infrastructure.
The future of work, research, and teaching and learning can reasonably be expected to be more hybrid than pre-COVID – at least to some degree, depending on individual context. The pandemic has also shown us how we can use technology to support fully remote (initially) and hybrid (more recently) operations, with significantly enhanced cross-campus collaborations and interactions. The university is more than its physical footprint and it is more than one campus. How do we sustain the crucial benefits of place as the university embeds and expands hybrid education, research, and operations as part of the new normal? How do we ensure that we continue to work together effectively across the expanding and increasingly distributed UBC system, as we again convene in our respective campuses?
It is important that we hear all points of view and understand a diverse range of lived experiences, so please join us even if you feel that you are not well-versed in the digital landscape. Please register now and choose the topics that pique your interest and if you are available during the listed dates and times.Register now
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Community Survey (April 2022)
Thank you to everyone who took time to provide feedback on your perceptions of the current state of technology at UBC and your digital vision for the future. Your input and insights will be shared with the Digital UBC team to help shape UBC's first institution-wide digital strategy.
Focus Groups (February 2022)
Thank you to the faculty, staff, student leaders and students who attended the Digital UBC focus groups. The wide-ranging conversations were highly engaging and illustrated the passion and ideas from the university community to leverage what's working and to improve UBC's digital landscape. Your perspectives, comments and feedback on what you envision for UBC's digital future will inform the digital strategy which is taking shape. Watch for opportunities to comment on the draft strategy in the spring.
Townhall for IT Professionals (December 16, 2021)
IT professionals were introduced to Digital UBC and themes that have emerged from early community consultations. Our featured speaker, Dr. Murali Chandrashekaran, Vice-Provost, International and Fred H. Siller Professor of Marketing and Behavioural Science from the Sauder School of Business, delivered a thought-provoking presentation about the importance of considering the lens by which Digital Transformation is viewed i.e., post-digital, post-pandemic, post-colonial etc.
Survey for UBC IT and IT@UBC Staff (November – December 2021)
IT staff at Vancouver and Okanagan campuses completed a survey to share their insights on UBC's current technology environment, comparative rating with other higher education institutions, digital readiness of their respective faculties and units and digital priorities identified by their clients. Survey insights will be combined with other feedback from community consultations.
Academic and Administrative Workshops (November – December 2021)
Dedicated workshops with academic and administrative leaders provided a forum for early conversations and perspectives on what is working well now in terms of digital technologies; a digital vision for the university; and the digital priorities over the next 5 years.
Interviews (September – November 2021)
In the fall of 2021, 1-1 interviews were conducted with UBC Executive, Deans and ITAC members to share the goals and objectives of Digital UBC and to contextual the initiative with other in-flight planning (UBC's Strategic Plan, Indigenous Strategic Plan, Inclusion Action Plan, Campus Vision 2050, Beyond Covid etc.)