The Digital Journey
The Digital Imperative
In April 2019, BUV embarked on a pathway to digital transformation which has seen their students provided with digital course textbooks. The initiative combines the Kortext personal study platform with digital content from world-leading educational publishers such as Pearson, Oxford University Press, Taylor & Francis, and Cambridge University Press. To ensure equal opportunity and as part of their accessibility programme, BUV also provided each newly enrolled undergraduate student with a personal iPad to enable materials to be accessed both on and off campus at any time. The partnership made BUV the first Higher Education Institution in Vietnam, and one of the first in the ASEAN region, to provide its students with learning materials that are 100% digital. It is the result of a year-long process of due diligence and careful curriculum management between BUV and Kortext to ensure that the right content and materials were available at the right price.
The initiative provided every BUV student with access to their own digital learning environment, individually tailorable for them to acquire information at their own pace and at the frequency required to support their own needs,strengths, and passions. The Kortext platform enables students and lecturers to engage with the content whenever and wherever they want. Kortext’s interactive study tools are accessible across multiple devices and students use a combination of laptops, desktops, the iPads provided by the programme as well as mobile phones.
Professor Ray Gordon, the Vice-Chancellor and President of BUV, commented:
This transition aligns with BUV’s philosophy to offer students everything they need to prepare for their dream profession. BUV is positioned as the University providing innovative learning technologies that prepare students for life and work in Vietnam and the world’s emerging digital and 4IR economy.
Logistics and cost benefit
Forward thinking, student centric initiatives have always been at the heart of BUV’s thinking and, prior to this digital programme, BUV provided all of their students learning materials in print form.
While this provided significant benefits to students, the logistical exercise was fraught with issues. The required textbooks were rarely available locally and so had to be imported at great cost to the University. Sadly, if more students registered or courses than were anticipated, then there would be insufficient copies to go around. Similarly, if less students registered then the University was left with expensive unused books and materials or the escalating cost of returning the books to the supplier.
A further frustration was that having given students the print books, BUV could never be sure how great the usage of a particular piece of content would be, how students were using the book and what content in particular resonated with the students.
All of these issues were reviewed individually, and strategies put in place to reduce the cost and logistical problems, improve the contribution of learning content in the pedagogical process and finally enhancing the student learning experience. The improvements were immediate and BUV was able to cover the investment in iPads for students from the savings generated by the new digital content delivery programme.
A student receives a new iPad from BUV’s Chief Academic Officer Christopher Jeffery.
Student engagement, analytics and learning outcomes
A deciding factor for BUV when selecting the Kortext solution was the depth of analytics that were provided on student engagement and interaction with their content. For the first time, BUV can see how individual and classroom groups of students are working with the materials provided.
This facility, of course, goes much deeper than just measuring return against investment. The analytics very quickly enables BUV to profile student interaction and helps build profiles of students that are excelling within the classroom environment and, more importantly, those that are struggling with their course materials. Having this level of information available for the first time will help BUV plan interaction strategies for at risk students, encourage a research mentality and really help prepare students for the transition to the workplace.
Since moving to the digital environment BUV is able to receive real time data. At the halfway stage of the academic year we have already seen:
“Over 99% of students registered with 96% of those active users of the platform. Students on average viewed 864 pages to date and studied from the book on average for 10 hours. It also shows the impact of the use of the iOS device with 83% of activity being on an iPad, with these investments clearly illustrating their worth in student engagement.”
The depth of engagement can also be seen through the number of annotations and other activity within the book. BUV’s digital ambitions have not stopped at textbook delivery in the classroom. Following the successful launch of the digital textbook platform in April 2019, BUV has integrated the Canvas Learning Management System with Kortext and are currently reviewing their digital library resources.
A final word from the Chief Academic Officer of BUV, Christopher Jeffery:
““This cutting edge development has excited our student body and illustrates clearly the commitment we have to be leaders in the Higher Education sector within Vietnam and the region; the partnership with Kortext allows students and faculty to facilitate a pedagogy of discovery, exploration and consolidation, and provides real time learning analytics that allows our lecturing team to understand more about each student’s learning process and progress.”