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University admin digital services not up to scratch for students Image courtesy of Sujin Jetasettakorn, freedigitalphotos.net/images

Many of Australia’s university students are dissatisfied with university admin digital services, believing that compared to the other services they can do online, student administration is extremely difficult to manage digitally and there is too much paperwork involved.

According to a global study by enterprise applications vendor Unit4, nearly 1 in 3 Australian university students (33%) have problems with their university’s digital services approach, while globally 7 in 10 students across nine markets would recommend that their university reviews and changes its digital strategy related to student administration.

And, as a result of time spent on admin and paperwork, 42% of Australian students think they have less time to study – ranking them second globally after Singapore (55%) followed by the United States (40%). Across the Tasman in New Zealand, 30% of respondents believe they have less time to study as a result of time devoted to admin and paperwork.

“This research emphasises that there is a real demand for digital transformation when it comes to Student Information Systems (SIS). There has been no real innovation for more than a decade. Most of the existing systems used are on average more than 13 years old,” said Chris Tithof, channel director ANZ, Unit4.

“Students in Australia and New Zealand are craving more innovation and universities will need to increasingly adapt, embrace the digital age and offer them an experience similar to the device/app experience they currently receive outside of university in order to meet students’ expectations.”

Globally, 44% said that student admin is managed digitally "a little or not at all", while in Australia, 46% of the local students would be more likely to recommend their university if digital interaction was better, while a quarter of respondents think less of their university because their administration systems are so poor.

Tithof says that in terms of financial investment, almost half of Australian students believe that for the fee they pay, their university should make it easier to manage student life, while 42% responded that they would have a better experience if they could interact more digitally with their university.

“In light of this, the concept of a single application that shows students their current progress in their degree is very well received, with over three quarters of the respondents in each market saying it would be useful, and 9 in 10 in New Zealand agreeing. Additionally, more than 8 out of 10 would be more satisfied if their university implemented a single digital system to manage all of their administration.”

The research, conducted for Unit4 by DJS Research in March and April this year, included interviews with 200 students studying in Australia and 100 in New Zealand among a total of 2000 in the US, Canada, United Kingdom, France, Germany, Benelux and Singapore.

And, according to Unit4, student responses were fairly consistent across undergraduates and postgraduates and from country to country, and students want their universities to do a better job in digitising administration and collaboration.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham is a co-founder of iTWire and a 35-year veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

 

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