Digital Transformation Benefits Students at Saint Mary’s University
HALIFAX, NS – Saint Mary's University, one of Canada's foremost primarily undergraduate universities, is building the learning environment of the future that will give current and future students a world-class engaging and immersive experience. A digital transformation, backed by a series of technology investments, will place Saint Mary's in a leading position for student experience, student choice, and blended learning in Canada and around the world.
Saint Mary's has partnered with industry-leading experts D2L and Ellucian to innovate and improve the learner experience in an approach that is on the cutting edge for post-secondary institutions. Saint Mary's integrated learning environment will be one of the most sophisticated in Canada. It will bring together all aspects of virtual and in-person learning into a seamless whole, including the management of learning, data records, academic and financial services, credentialing, and learner support.
“The digital transformation will be a game-changer for our students, removing barriers to higher education related to scheduling, learning style and preferences, finance, accommodation, and location," says Saint Mary's University President Dr. Robert Summerby-Murray. "New technology and digital services will mean that Saint Mary’s students will be able to learn and engage fully with their professors, fellow students, and research partners in the classroom, from their home and from anywhere in the world. For some students, their academic journey could be entirely online. For others, their courses, and experiences will be the perfect mix of in-person, virtual, and online. Our students have spoken and building on what we have learned during the pandemic, we know they want these options and this flexibility. This is the future and this strategic partnership puts Saint Mary’s in a leadership position nationally."
Saint Mary's will use D2L's Brightspace platform and leading-edge technology to create the most interactive course content for learners anywhere in the world, provide individualized learning pathways, give learners personalized feedback, and engage them in their learning through gamification, social tools, and video.
The university's new integrated learning environment will be hosted in the cloud to provide a seamless service to learners across a lifetime of learning. The transformation will encompass all courses, programs, and certificates, and all 6,500 students will benefit from this $9.3 million investment over five years.
"This investment will lead to significant improvements in the teaching and learning experience and the general operations and systems of the university that will be felt by everyone," says Saint Mary's University's Vice-President, Finance and Administration, Michelle Benoit. "We are removing duplication and increasing student and faculty access to the services of the university while providing them more tools and pathways to enhance their experience. We are automating processes to provide faster response times for students, freeing up staff time to focus on other service delivery areas. This is a very significant moment for our institution."
Over the project's term, the university's data management system, Ellucian Banner, will be integrated with the university's online learning platform, Brightspace by D2L. Both Ellucian and D2L are key partners for this digital transformation.
"We are excited to expand our relationship with Saint Mary's University to further accelerate their digital transformation journey," said Laura Ipsen, President and CEO, Ellucian. "SMU's investment in modern systems in the cloud will enhance operational efficiencies enabling more resources to focus on what's most important — students. Their unwavering commitment to improving the student experience, paired with their vision to become a truly global institution, sets them apart as an innovative leader in higher education."
"What Saint Mary's University has done is nothing short of remarkable," said John Baker, President and CEO of D2L. "Creating a truly learner-centered, fully integrated learning environment can only happen when you're absolutely committed to student success. It's a real honour for all of us at D2L to be part of such a progressive, innovative and student-centered success story."
"This investment is about improving supports for teaching and learning and improving processes and data management to allow students, faculty, and staff to focus more on the primary reason we are all here—the creation and the dissemination of knowledge," says President Summerby-Murray.