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Published by: christomer on Feb 15, 2008
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Top down or bottom up, designing and redesigning a Digital Campus…
Hans Ogg, Head of the ICT and Education department of INHOLLAND UniversityNico Juist, Project manager ICT and Education of INHOLLAND UniversityCopyright Juist & Ogg, 2007. This work is the intellectual property of the author. Permission is grantedfor this material to be shared for non-commercial, educational purposes, provided that this copyrightstatement appears on the reproduced materials and notice is given that the copying is by permissionof the author. To disseminate otherwise or to republish requires written permission from the author 
 A new learning scenario for a new university 
INHOLLAND University is one of the largest institutes of higher learning inthe Netherlands, with more than 38,000 students and 3,000 employees.The result of merging four major Dutch universities in 2002 comprises 16campuses and learning centers, throughout the western Netherlands. Theuniversity offers a wide range of bachelor’s and master’s programs,including finance, information technology, business management,communications, economics, education, social work, health care, musicand arts.In the merging process the university launched a new learning scenariocalled “Skills-based Education,” with a strong emphasis on collaborativeteam projects and individual learning. In this educational setting projectshelp demonstrate real-world proficiency in selected disciplines and givestudents valuable hands-on experience in collaborative teamwork.Students gain more responsibility for their own learning process, they canmake individual choices, but they have to prove if and how they acquire their skills. The evidence for that process is collected by the students in their personal Digital Portfolio(
 A new ICT infrastructure, anywhere, anytime
For INHOLLAND University “Skills-based Education”requires the latest in electronic communication andcollaboration tools. Students must be able to worktogether; using the latest version of all kinds of software programs, and they need access to their fileson the network, whether they are at one of theINHOLLAND campuses or at home. Therefore a newICT architecture (Information and communicationtechnology), connecting 16 campuses in 9 cities, hasbeen built.On top of that infrastructure a corporate portal, a newssite, a learning environment, collaboration tools andseveral back office systems have been fit into an overall system called “The digital campus of INHOLLAND”. The ICT infrastructure INHOLLAND provided for employees and students was at thatmoment “state of the art”.
Digital working environment 
But building a system is one thing, implementing theenvironment is another… For the first phase of implementing the digital campus a top down approachhas been used. ”Fit for all”- applications were launched,including a “personalized” corporate portal, Blackboardas learning management system, a Digital Portfolio anda digital study guide, which provides description of allavailable courses.However, implementing the Digital Campus hasappeared to be more challenging than we hoped itwould be. After the launching of the campus it soonturned out that many available tools were not used –both in quantitative as a qualitative way – as planned.Our digital portfolio system appeared not to be the best fit to support the way coaches and studentsworked in their every day educational practice. “Fit for all” applications were not the right fit for everybody. Moreover students used tools and workspaces of their own, outside the Campus, for instance Google.docs. On top of that many faculties were not skilled enough to cope with ICT basededucational environment. The whole system was, from a users perspective, too fragmented and tooinconveniently arranged. So, after three years of use, the the decision was made to start afundamental redesign.
The new release of MS Sharepoint 2007 Office 12 andWindows Vista turned out to be the right moment to startthe redesign process of the Digital Campus and theconcept of Service Oriented Architecture offered newinsight into how to design an integrated environment fromthe user’s point of view.Also ideas on what an electronic learning environmentshould be, are rapidly changing and so are our strategicviews of further implementing ICT in education. Studentsand employees are more and more addressed as“knowledge workers” working together in teams. In thatrespect online access to all relevant information andapplications by students and instructors is essential. Butthis aspect of a new educational approach also urges us todesign an ICT environment to support the more individual needs of the “Knowledge workers” to designtheir own personal and team working-environment and to adjust the look and feel of their workingspaces to what they are used to “outside campus”. Students and employees are stimulated to designtheir own working Environment, using the MYsite of Sharepoint, their Digital portfolio, web logs or video tools. They have the opportunity to become “participating designers” in a service orientedenvironment. Identity management is an important aspect in the new design. Information can bepushed more accurate to students, teachers, coaches. Back office systems integrate smoothly into theprimary process.

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