Academic Software’s CEO, Arne Vandendriessche, recently had an article Software’s CEO, published in PIE (Professionals in International Education) News, in which he outlined some of the ways Academic Software can help institutions break down barriers to the use of digital tools in education.
Barriers to education
As education has become increasingly digital, with information technologies reaching into every area of study, we need to acknowledge that some of the barriers students face may be digital.
Information technologies are now a cornerstone of every area of learning, from languages to physiotherapy, to architecture, to qualitative social science research.
The digital transformation has also seen computers in on-campus labs largely replaced by user-owned devices (BYOD); on-premises ICT infrastructure replaced by ICT infrastructure for the cloud; and installable software giving way to browser-based software, applications, and learning platforms.
In a context of flexible and hybrid learning, and the wider digital transformation, how do we make sure no one is left behind? How does a school, college or university make sure that all its students can use the digital resources it offers?
The challenge of complexity
Complexity and lack of support around digital resources is a big issue. A study for the Chronicle of Higher Education found that “more than a quarter of students say they have to sign in to two or more platforms to access what they need to be successful every day.” Meanwhile one in three staff say their institution uses multiple tech systems, making it challenging for them to do their jobs effectively.
How Academic Software can help
Arne explained that Academic Software was created to help meet these challenges. “We believe the Academic Software platform provides a model for following through on inclusivity in digital transformation, by backing up the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of a simple-to-use self-service solution for licensing and deployment, with guaranteed helpdesk support.”
- Institutions benefit from Academic Software’s economies of scale, and from Academic Software’s position as a broker, which means they have access to licences for software and applications at favourable rates.
- Academic Software also takes over helpdesk support, offering any direct support users may need in accessing and installing digital tools. The school, college or university can be assured that its students and staff have all the support they need, but the institution’s own resources are freed up and can be put to furthering other strategic goals.
- Through the platform, students can access a wide range of software and applications for free (including open-source software), or at significant discounts. And institutions can also offer completely free access to students who might not be able to afford certain software they need for their studies.
- The Academic Software helpdesk offers real-time assistance, followed through until the application or software is installed. And the helpdesk is available in the user’s own language, out of term time, and will solve deployment and licensing issues for any device the user is on.
Academic Software has one goal – to break down barriers to the use of digital resources in education, and is committed to digital inclusivity everywhere. Academic Software recently signed the Digital Inclusivity Charter, joining forces with government and other organisations leading the way on inclusivity in digital transformation.