Message from the Chief Information Officer
I wish to thank the many contributors across the University who provided input to this Information Technology Strategy. It is critical that the diverse and often complex requirements of our University underpin our plans for leveraging technology to enable its strategic ambitions. Our planning approach has been collaborative, developing a principle based strategy that incorporates staged commitments to delivering on the University’s mission.
The recent development of the Student Strategy Whitepaper has highlighted that UQ requires and is committed to changing the way we approach teaching and learning for our students. This context is imperative for Information Technology to have a profound impact on how our students live and learn. Our digital landscape at UQ must continue to evolve with student needs, integrating new and exciting tools that enhance the student experience.
Today, Information Technology is inherent in everything. It is a key enabler for creating, sharing and storing knowledge which goes to the heart of the academic endeavour. Our Information Technology environment is diverse and effective. We must ensure that it remains so, delivering services that support the University’s standing as a top 100 University in the world rankings. The goals of the Information Technology Strategy are aligned with our organisational goals, and will be the foundation for specific priorities that will adapt as our institution requires to ensure that Information Technology is agile and relevant.
The ICT Capital Investment Plan underpins the Information Technology Strategy and its priorities. Resources from the ICT Capital Investment Plan and other key initiatives such as the Student Strategy and Enhancing Systems and Services Program demonstrate the commitment to enhancing the student experience and enabling research and the academic endeavour.
Information Technology has a direct influence in supporting UQ’s strategic mission which can be described as “knowledge leadership for a better world”.
This mission translates into two areas of focus for UQ that the Information Technology Strategy will need to support:
- Delivering a student experience that transforms students into graduates who are capable of delivering change; and
- Delivering significant solutions to global challenges and opportunities through partnered innovation.
Enabling research and the academic endeavour is a key goal of the Information Technology Strategy, creating innovative solutions that are simple and agile. Our staff and students are living in a period of significant technological change which is both challenging and exciting. Our systems and tools that support research rely on Information Technology to adapt and embrace these new changes as opportunities that will set UQ apart from other higher education institutions. The Discovery Portfolio, championed by the DVC(R) aims to do just that. The overall goal of the Discovery Portfolio is to develop systems and processes that will support researchers and professional staff in delivering exceptional research results. The Student Strategy White Paper has identified four goals that will be achieved through a set of initiatives between 2017 and 2020:
- Game-changing graduates
- Student-centred flexibility
- Dynamic people and partnerships
- An integrated learning environment
This Information Technology Strategy, in part, aims to support UQ’s ambitious Student Strategy. Over the last decade, waves of new learning technologies have brought great changes and then great uncertainty about the future of universities. UQ has kept abreast of these changes by building arguably the most advanced automated eLearning environment in Australia where all courses have an online presence, assignments are submitted electronically and marked online, and lectures are recorded and available to students automatically.
Today UQ students login to Blackboard 80,000 times daily, and watch more than 4,000,000 lecture recording every year.
UQ students submit over 400,000 assignments a year electronically and receive feedback electronically on over 300,000 assignments that are electronically marked by coordinators.
Information Technology will play a large role in supporting the Student Strategy through improving the digital environment with which our students interact, integrating technology within our physical spaces to create improved opportunities for learning and developing analytics to support University process. These opportunities, and more, lead to an Information Technology Strategic Goal of Enhancing the Student Experience.
UQ is creating a distinct premium learning environment where technology augments high value physical experiences rather than replacing them. While UQ will take advantage of the very best pure-online learning technologies, it will now build a competitive advantage in the market by delivering premium signature experiences through:
In addition to the pressures on driving academic outcomes and enhancing the student experience, our Institution is facing strong financial and competitive pressure unprecedented in the Australian higher education sector. Information Technology has the unique ability to enable the University through digitisation of processes, utilising technology that improves process timelines while using less resources. An Information Technology strategy goal of delivering services that the UQ community values ensures that resources are directed towards the academic endeavour.
With limited resources, the University requires more from Information Technology than ever before. This will only be possible through a robust governance, IT architecture and assurance framework. The Chief Information Officer will have accountability for the IT function, having a clear line of sight will increase coordination of Information Technology and its alignment towards University goals.