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Transformar la UB, beyond technologies

The Rector, Joan Elias,and the vice-rector for Digital Transformation, Oriol Pujol, opened the conference.

The Rector, Joan Elias,and the vice-rector for Digital Transformation, Oriol Pujol, opened the conference.

The roundtable counted on the participation of UB experts and other international experts.

The roundtable counted on the participation of UB experts and other international experts.

The speakers agreed that transformation is not only a digital issue but an issue about people as well.

The speakers agreed that transformation is not only a digital issue but an issue about people as well.

Durant la jornada també es van lliurar els premis del concurs #Mems UB.

Durant la jornada també es van lliurar els premis del concurs #Mems UB.

24/07/2018

Institucional

The conference “Transformar la UB” which took place at the Historical Building of the UB on July 11, showed the aspects of the University that the UB community worries about, but it also served to show the view of other people outside the university field.

The conference was opened by the Rector, Joan Elias, who highlighted that digital transformation has to be understood as “a chance to combine practices and ways of working that result in new techniques and innovative and competitive skills”. The promoter of this conference, the vice-rector for Digital Transformation, Oriol Pujol, said this was the first of several meetings that have to define how this transformation should be at the UB.

Afterwards, a roundtable chaired by Ignasi Labastida, head of the Office for the Dissemination of Knowledge at the CRAI Research Unit took place, and counted on the participation of the vice-rector of Digital Transformation together with UB experts and other international experts. The first speeches aimed to define and understand digital transformation. All speakers agreed on the fact that this is not only about a digital issue but about people too. Mariona Grané, expert on educational technology, noted that “digital transformation is a strong tool, but technologies do not transform anything on their own. Transformation is the way in which these technologies are transformed and the decisions we take”. In this sense, Xavier Marcet, president of the consulting company Lead To Change, stated that “the challenge is for the people”, and highlighted that it is harder to transform institutions with a long life than new ones, and that “technology gives you something but takes something from you too, but it creates many opportunities”.

Genís Roca, consultant in RocaSalvatella, believes one of the challenges prior to transformation is the diagnosis: “the objective is to introduce changes, but the challenge is to identify that which is changing, so as to know what to do”. In addition, he added that digital transformation could be the opportunity to introduce structural changes. Roca defined the main steps to carry this transformation out: diagnosis, knowing where to go, prioritizing where to start –since resources are limited- and informing the community to look for support.

The most debated aspects focused on the future view of the University, with issues related to whether it should be a 100 % online university or whether the teaching staff will become robotized. In this sense, Marcet opted for the “amount of intelligence” rather than the replacement.

It is noteworthy that the university is currently training changeful people, “the University should manage its students’ professional transition”, said Marcet. This change makes the learning process to continue over life and university has to offer “memorable experiences” to people, which students cannot obtain through technology, noted the expert.

On teaching and research, the lecturer Gemma Marfany, from the Department of Genetics, Microbiology and Statistics, said these are “short-distance” and that the lecturer has to be able to “transmit passion”. For Marfany, apart from the curricular training, it is necessary to “train future citizens with decision-taking skills”. Also, Grané coincided by saying that “training people is not only professionalizing but creating criteria and knowledge, we have to teach how to think”.

Marfany suggested promoting mentoring attitudes, a less hierarchized system, with synergies and a larger transversality and agility in degrees, and claimed for a scientific policy at the UB. She also remembered that although the UB provides Catalonia with a 25 % of research, it is behind other institutions regarding funding. In these lines, several speeches talked about open and cross-sectional degrees, since the UB has a great potential for it.

Later, Itziar Lecuona focused on ethics as a key element for the innovation of knowledge. She put emphasis on the need of a student data management policy and research as well as the creation of a research unit. She also mentioned the deficiency of some of the current tools of the teaching staff that supported other lecturers in the room.

Several talks coincided on the fact that metrics need a change. The current system only measures impacts on research and teaching but it needs to analyse the social impact, as Genís Roca stated. Roca noted that “we need to renegotiate the treatment we have with society” so that the university is regarded as relevant.

Over the whole debate, which covered ten speeches, one of the topics was the excess of rules and bureaucracy at the university and the fact that this transformation needs a process of de-bureaucratisation to gain agility and remove procedures.

The speeches also coincided on the need to use other spaces –outside the classrooms- as well as adapting them for new ways of teaching, quality, improving internal knowledge of different units and centers, promoting internationalization, creating new technical figures and promoting communication policies.

“We don’t have a university, we have many”, concluded Xavier Marcet, who reminded the attendants that “the university is extremely heterogeneous, hosting many cultures and transforming it requires a big leadership exercise”.

In his conclusions, Roca said “the tendency is not good” and gave an example explaining that he does “not find the university” on his daily life. He put emphasis on the fact that the solution will not be reached just by looking at the UB, but by observing the Catalan university system. In order to conduct this transformation we need to be “radical and hard-hitting”, said Roca, and sometimes “the collectives have to take decisions against their interests so as to maintain the institution”, he concluded.

#MemsUB contest

During the conference, the awards for the #MemsUB contest were given. According to the vice-rector for Digital Transformation, the contest “has been a way to grisp the opinion and perception on the University as well as its deficiencies by students and lecturers”. The winner of the funniest and most creative meme was the meme by the lecturer of the Faculty of Library and Information Sciences, Francesc García, who published it on Twitter as @txescu. In the category of the most visionary meme, the winner was the student Ferran Mañà (@FerranMana) with a meme he published on Instagram.

 

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