Royal Holloway, University of London prepares for digital transformation

Royal Holloway - Digital Wave

Key takeaways

  • Digital transformation in higher education is inevitable.
  • Real change is yet to come in higher education.
  • The question is: Are you going to surf the digital tidal wave or drown.

Michael Johnson - Strategic Project Director, Royal Holloway, University of London

The digital tidal wave is a concept; it's a way of explaining about the pace of digital transformation that's about to hit the higher education sector.

I think every other sector in the UK and globally - such as banking and travel for example, have been transformed hugely by digitisation. You book a holiday in a very different way than you used to book 10 years ago, and you certainly bank very differently from how we banked 10 to 15 years ago.

We've seen some of the transformation in secondary and further education but real change in the classroom in higher education is yet to come. I think it's inevitable. There's lots of pressures coming from external forces – whether it’s government regulation or finance, and just the pace of student expectation moving forward. The tidal wave is coming and it's a question of whether or not you're going to surf it or whether you going to drown.

At Royal Holloway we are preparing for digital transformation and the broader digital tidal wave in a number of ways. We're establishing a baseline of technologies. We're looking to stabilise the foundations that we've got - there's no point in trying to build new capabilities on a castle of sand.

We are stabilising the foundation and working with external partners to create much more resilient infrastructure and - where we can - we’re divesting ourselves of the kind of ‘keeping the lights on’ activity ie. the basic day to day maintenance, and allowing third parties that can do that better - but also reduce cost for us - to do it. This will help to free up our internal resources and our experts to really start to drive forward what matters.

We are a university so we should be innovating and teaching and research. What we need is the best student journey systems, the best virtual learning environments and the best possible classroom spaces.

Learn more about our Digital Transformation Series.

Let's Start a Conversation