The Digital Agenda
The Digital Agenda, which will be finalised in the coming month, will give direction to the further development of digitisation at the UvA in order to to better seize the opportunities of digitisation and overcome risks. It is an elaboration of UvA’s 2021-2026 Strategic Plan, the strategic plans of faculties, and input from shared service units. This is much needed for the UvA: digitisation is transforming research, digital resources have become indispensable in education, and we are increasingly aware of our dependence on technology companies.
Questions for students and staff
In order to ensure that the Digital Agenda meets the needs of students and staff, and incorporates their ideas, they were invited to contribute their thoughts. Everyone who signed up was welcome. In the sessions, programme leader Maarten Emons first shared the most important points from the draft plans. Then, the meeting focused on two questions to the students and staff members:
- Does this Digital Agenda match your needs and experiences?
- What would make you even happier? What other points would really help you?
‘Make it easier to find information’
Both students and staff members indicate that it takes a lot of time and effort to find information. Students find it difficult that information is spread over different websites and apps, while lecturers also often use different systems and tools. In the staff members session, it was suggested to create an onboarding dashboard, in which new people can see when they have to do what, and where or to whom they can go.
‘Put the users first’
‘Keep talking to us, not just about us’, a student said during one of the sessions. Staff members also argued in favour of continuing to involve them in the future. OBP staff members and lecturer-researchers advocate to prioritise user-friendliness, and to test new systems and tools before introducing them.
Download outcomes of the sessions
These are, of course, only a few of the outcomes of these sessions. The students e.g. also stressed that the UvA must remain a campus university: 'We should not forget that students go to this university to be taught by someone to whom they can ask questions; not to visit YouTube and watch videos. So digital is the icing on the cake, not the core!
Lecturers and researchers experience a high work pressure. They said that they are open to changes, but these should not be implemented too quickly so that everyone can keep up. In line with this, they ask for less administrative pressure and fewer systems: ‘Put us, the users, in the centre. Minimise the number of 'mouse clicks'. Make it clear what can be done better and why it will save us time. Then we will certainly start using it.’
It was noticeable that the OBP employees also asked for attention to what is coming to lecturers: 'Make sure you have a logical set of initiatives that takes that takes the workload of lecturers into account. Create more breathing space.’ They also argued for more room to experiment with tools and digital resources for digitally proficient lecturers who want to improve their teaching. They indicate that lecturer-researchers are now often held back, which slows down the innovation process.