UWM Planning for the Digital Future

UWM has two iniatives underway that hopefully will have a big impact on students, faculty, and staff in the near future.

The first is Mobile Iniative. The website is very bare bones, but the big thing is that Michael Hostad, who is heading this project, wants to hear from YOU! The aim is to develop a UWM mobile app that will be useful – not just informative or cool. One example is a mobile app that will help you find your classes on campuses, using your GPS location it would let you know how far you need to go, how much time it will take you, maybe where you can stop and get a coffee on the way!

Image Credit:MobileMarketingWatch.com

As a librarian, I’d love to see an app that allowed users to create a personalized UWM library. I imagine it working something like this: A student tells the app what their major is, what their current classes are, what their personal interests are and then the app takes this information and creates a customized app and search tool that includes databases, reserve readings, books, and journals that students will want to search within and access. This is a big picture description. Many details would need to be worked out. It could include one search box for searching these recommended sources. It could also include an RSS feature that automatically sends them alerts when new books and journal articles were available. The sky is the limit!

And that’s the kind of big picture app that Mr. Hostad wants to hear about. If you’ve got an idea send it his way.

The second initiative is UW-Milwaukee’s Digital Future. This is a campus planning initiative to imagine, plan, and enact real changes to how the university operates: researches, delivers services, and performs its core mission of educating students. The conversation kicked-off on October 19 (during Open Access Week) with a keynote presentation from Richard Katz, formerly of EDUcause. The day’s conversation centered around three big university areas: 1. Teaching and Learning, 2. Research, and 3. University Operations and Services. Planning and discussion will continue throughout the year.

I won’t report on the details of the day, but one comment that resonated with me and I think is important to students, is that online classes are not the only digital future for student learning. Online classes have grown tremendously over the years, but there is so much more that technology can offer education. What will a classroom look like in 2020? What will students expect from a university in 2020? What will be the role of faculty in 2020? What will students look like in 2020? Big and interesting questions. The conversation should be lively and I hope that the outcome will help UWM better position itself for delivering education in the future.

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