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Digitalisation strategy for the higher education sector 2017-2021

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3 What do we want to achieve?

3.1 Primary goals

The currently applicable sectoral goals for research and higher education, as determined in the annual budget proposition to the Storting Proposition 1 S, will always be the primary goals for digitalisation and ICT in the higher education sector:

  • High quality in education and research
  • Research and education for welfare, value creation, and adaptation
  • Good access to education
  • An efficient, diverse, and robust higher education sector and research system

Digitalisation and ICT in the higher education sector must support these goals.

3.1.1 High quality in education and research

The government wants Norwegian education and research environments to be of high quality, and for more Norwegian education and research environments to climb global rankings. The quality report stresses the importance of exploiting digital opportunities so that all students can experience stimulating and varied learning and assessment methods. In addition to academically relevant digital skills, students shall acquire more general ICT skills and digital judgement that are relevant across disciplines. Digitalisation makes it possible to conduct research more efficiently and to create new opportunities to develop methodologies, to co-operate, and for development within existing and new disciplines. In addition digitalisation provides opportunities for sharing research data and results in new ways, while also presenting new challenges for researchers in relation to data security and correct data management.

3.1.2 Research and education for welfare, value creation, and adaptation

The government aims to make Norway one of the most innovative countries in Europe. For this we need education and research that interacts with the outside world and meets the needs of the labour market and society. The potential of digitalisation is vital to conducting research more efficiently, to academic development and to the development of methodologies, and ICT solutions that facilitate seamless co-operation with stakeholders outside of the institutions both nationally and internationally.

3.1.3 Good access to education

The government wants everyone to have access to higher education, regardless of their gender, ethnicity, or social, geographic, or economic background. Education should facilitate good access to labour and skills across Norway. Lifelong learning is important in order to help not only individuals but also society and the labour market at large to adapt and innovate. Digitalisation expands the opportunities for access to education and for co-operation on the development of relevant courses. New and varied forms of teaching and learning are being used in regular campus-based courses by combining analogue and digital media (blended learning), and new models are being provided for purely online-based studies.

3.1.4 An efficient, diverse, and robust higher education sector

An efficient, diverse, and robust higher education sector and research system will help to achieve the first three goals for the higher education sector in the best possible way. Universities and university colleges manage a significant portion of community funds and must use these resources efficiently and for the benefit of society. The institutions shall develop their brands in line with their strengths and individuality and contribute to high quality and a differentiated sector. Furthermore, they shall meet the needs of society in a variety of areas and help Norway to assert itself internationally as an outstanding knowledge nation. Digitalisation is a tool for making fundamental changes to the processes, content, and forms of work that can put the sector in a better position to achieve the goals of education and research: high quality and relevance, and access to education for all.

3.2 Objectives for the future

Our objectives indicate a direction for the development of sub-strategies and implementation of measures.

3.2.1 Objectives for students

  • Students are admitted into an academic community of staff and fellow students in which digital opportunities are exploited as part of active and varied learning and assessment methods, that result in the best possible learning outcomes and provide students with the academic and digital qualifications that they shall acquire within their programmes of study.
  • Students can participate in research projects (research-based teaching) and are trained in the use of research tools in order for them to be able to participate in and directly contribute to the research.
  • Students are given the opportunity to develop their digital skills, and they are trained in the use of technology that promotes learning and generic skills and makes them aware of the ethical, legal, and security issues that arise through the use of data and digital technology.
  • Students have access to a modern, personal learning environment that facilitates individual learning arrangements, efficiency, interaction, and flexibility in their studies.

3.2.2 Objectives for teachers

  • Teachers have high levels of digital and pedagogical skills (knowledge of how to use digital tools to promote learning in their subjects), incentives for the academic/pedagogical development of their own teaching, and access to collegial communities and support services for the development of study programmes and to share digital learning resources.
  • Teachers have a wide range of applications and digital tools and services that support the implementation of education, from planning, through teaching itself and interaction with students and colleagues both internally and externally, to the follow-up and evaluation of students at individual and group levels.
  • Teachers have the opportunity to receive remuneration (in the form of promotion, qualification, salary) or time to pursue the development of education activities on the basis of documented results in the field of education.

3.2.3 Objectives for researchers

  • Researchers have the digital skills needed for the optimal utilisation of ICT in their research in order to carry out their tasks efficiently and exploit the opportunities that digitalisation provides for developing the discipline and processing research data effectively and appropriately.
  • Researchers have access to relevant scientific publications, a good overview of relevant researchers, and access to research data for their discipline.
  • Researchers have access to a well presented range of applications and services with sufficient resources for storage, calculations, and advanced user support.
  • Researchers have access to user-friendly ICT support functions that meet the needs of their day-to-day work in terms of both academic and administrative tasks.
  • Researchers have access to infrastructure and tools that enable them to interact effectively with other researchers across sectors, nationally and internationally.
  • Researchers use tools for digital interaction in order to work efficiently on projects and in networks, both internally and externally.

3.2.4 Objectives for the management at all levels

  • Management leverages the opportunities provided by digitalisation in order to achieve their institutions’ goals by including digitalisation in planning and in specific measures and processes.
  • Management is aware of their managerial responsibilities and have the skills to lead, motivate, and support the change processes necessary as a result of digitalisation.
  • Management leverages the potential of digitalisation to streamline administrative support functions and ensure effective governance.
  • Management maintains their institutions’ values ​​and interests and follow national policies through systematic efforts to improve information security.
  • Management puts in place formalised systems for the documentation of and remuneration of work relating to the development of teaching.
  • Management sets goals at a level that makes it possible for academia as a whole, and not just enthusiasts, to embrace the potential of digitalisation for raising the quality of education.
  • Management ensures that the systems chosen facilitate interaction internally within the higher education sector, as well as with stakeholders outside the sector.
  • Management has easy access to information and decision-making support.

3.2.5 Objectives for the data and infrastructure

  • Data is stored once and made available from a single source.
  • Data is retrievable, available, interoperable, and reusable in accordance with the FAIR principles.
  • Infrastructure is flexible and facilitates mobility and development.
  • Cohesive governance and management of information security are fundamental to digitalisation and strategic efforts and superstruct the sector’s goals.

3.2.6 Objectives for administrative systems

  • All services, information, and communication are digitally available as far as possible.
  • Needs, ease of use, and the user experience are key criteria in the realisation of new solutions.
  • Administrative workflows and user interfaces are improved and streamlined through standardisation and digitalisation.
  • A shared system portfolio has been established to address transversal administrative needs (budget, accounting, payroll, procurement, etc.).
  • The potential for automation and self-service is well utilised so that services are perceived as being simple, effective, and user-friendly.
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