Summer is normally a time for universities to regroup, prepare, and plan for the Fall semester. However, as universities are challenged with adjusting to an uncertain future amidst COVID-19, this summer is anything but normal.

Connecting communities on campus is top-of-mind for leaders as they look to engage students, faculty, alumni, and partners. In a recent virtual roundtable hosted by RingCentral, those responsible for connecting organizations shared their best practices for preparing, engaging, and adapting today, and what the future of higher education looks like. 

1: Be agile

This seems obvious but according to a recent Chronicle of Higher Education survey April 68% of institutions were planning for a return to campus, in July the same survey saw that number drop to 52%. Respondents also noted that only 7% in April were planning a hybrid model of learning (remote and in-person) that number increased to 33% in July. Many organizations realize that this is not a blip and that things will not go back to normal. Use this as an opportunity to think about how to prepare and make changes for the longer. 

2. Get ready

Many organizations were reactive to the pandemic but some have been adapting to remote, online, and in-person learning for some time. 

Any organization can start getting ready or improving existing efforts by asking the following questions: 

  • Were you technology ready? 
  • Were your people ready? 
  • Will your organization be ready? 

Make sure to listen and reach out to students, faculty and employees about how to set up for success in these new modalities of learning.  

3. Know your audience

It’s important to engage and involve students in any solution that you are designing. They are the ones that will have to consume the solution so make sure it is something that works for them.

Making accounting relatable to everyone is the challenge that one educational leader had to tackle. The focus was on introducing gaming research interests in learning and teaching with a special focus on innovations to enhance the student experience and learning outcomes.

4. Understand existing tools

Before making the decision to bring in any new technology, look at the existing technology footprint at campus. Understand what you currently have in regard to technology. Make sure that you are using what tools you currently have and are you maximizing it to the fullest extent. There is only so much budget to go around. Look at how you can partner with others too. It is important to talk to students. They will always help you to serve them better. They most likely know more about technology then we do.

5. Lead with a growth mindset

Education is about continuous learning and what better way to model that than by learning and adapting in the post-pandemic world. Everyone is being impacted personally and professionally by this pandemic. Organizations need to be focused on the longer term and learn from what is happening now. 

Use these prompts to help get you started: 

  • Are your efforts student-centered? 
  • Are your efforts affordable, accessible, and equitable for everyone?
  • What is the core service that we are offering? 
  • Are you building strong relationships with local high schools or community colleges?  
  • Is everything user friendly?  We are staying focused by 

This helps everyone stay focused on meeting students where they are and building strong connected communities. 

6. Engagement is essential

Engagement has never been more important. Educators were looking for real-time, quick easy follow-up, tools that help keep the learning going as students leave the classroom. Students want the ability to learn anytime, anywhere, with a fun and engaging experience.

Look for tools that give educators visibility into real-time student performance. Educators need to see if students are engaged. Having information about this real-time helps adjust during the learning process, not at the end of a semester. 

RingCentral for Higher Education helps to Connect the Digital Campus and address many of the challenges facing organizations today. Today’s campuses are increasingly digital and Higher Education organizations struggle to connect their diverse members, from Faculty and Administrators, to Students (current, future, and past), and the different ways they collaborate. 

RingCentral changes all that. Now, faculty members are free to create modern, blended learning experiences with video and messaging, with a single easy-to-use app that works with Canvas, Google, Salesforce, and O365. 

  • Students are instantly connected to courses and each other.
  • Student Services and Administrative staff communicate the way they want through voice, messaging, or video. 
  • Alumni and Recruiting engage with the extended community on the social platform channel of their choice. 

The RingCentral cloud communications platform is a single solution for the entire campus. It was born in the cloud and deploys rapidly, comes with a complete analytics platform, integrates with common systems, and scales for departments or campuses of any size.

RingCentral – connects the Digital Campus. Get connected today by visiting www.ringcentral.com/education