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Edited by Jonathan Vernon, Tuesday, 24 Nov 2020, 17:57

Digital Transformation in action : Part of WONKHE@Home Online Summit 

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Patrick Mullane, Executive Director, Harvard Business School Online >  linkedin.com/in/pjmullane

We teach digital transformation, it is NOT about platforms but about everything that wraps around it. The Covid experience may set us back as so many institutions rushed to get online and created a poor experience .

  1. Pedagogy > the way you teach when it is technology enabled. Lectures are dull in person, deathly online. Simply putting what you do face to face online will be dreadfully boring. 

  2. Leadership commitment > not a dip of the toe in the water, but a commitment to the path with money and time. 

  3. The Core competencies you need online are different to online> If you do not make digital marketing a key competency within the university you will not succeed/ There must be a robust marketing facility internally to let students know what there is. We made incredible platforms and spent a lot of money expecting students to turn up and they did not.

  4. Legacy > have realistic expectations. It won’t change overnight. It won’t reduce cost.  

  5. Restructuring for the new world > it is not enough just to have the technology. If you are doing something new it will be better to do this somewhere else. When successful, fold it back into the current structure … which may have to be blown up so that you can start again. 

You will be planning a path where there will be failure. 

Having a technology department is NOT the same as having people who understand pedagogy and can design student centred learning.

Harvard used the ‘Aristotelian - the case method’ in which a tutor leads a discussion and with the students you reach an ‘aha’ moment. Inductive learning required ways for students to take part, to challenge each other … 

Interaction is essential. 

A lot of support, in the community, makes for the overall learning experience. 

Simplicity for the students creates complexity in the backend. But the end objective has to be the simplicity for the student.  

Students know how to crowdsource answers to questions so once the platform has been created the faculty can walk away. 

Don’t let complexity get in the way.

Bespoke platform built by Harvard Business School online.

Have a clear idea of what success looks like at each stage and build on that. Commit to two or three experiments. Either commit and do it well, or fail. Certificates for example are inevitable.


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