The “SOARing to successful Digital Transformation in Vietnamese Universities” is a visionary initiative aimed at propelling the successful integration of digitalization into Vietnamese Higher Education. This project, supported by the British Council’s Going Global Partnerships Programme, is an epitome of knowledge exchange in innovation and best practices in managing change related to digital transformation (DX).
The initiative brings together four universities: Bournemouth University (UK), British University Vietnam, University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH), and Tra Vinh University (TVU), with the BU partners being from the North (Hanoi), the South (Ho Chi Minh City) and the deep South (Tra Vinh province) in Viet Nam. In addition to these institutions, the project also involved two students from the BU MBA programme that worked on a consultancy project related to the DX project.
The first major event on this project, a symposium simply labelled as Immersion Forum1, took place on the digital stage on June 26, 2023. This resulted in developing a shared understanding of individual universities approaches and a collaborative picture of educational excellence in digital context.
Session 1, led by Bournemouth University, was delivered by the project PI, Dr. Milena Bobeva, Internationalization Lead of the Bournemouth University Business School, and the Co-I on the BU side, Assoc. Prof. Dr. Gelareh Roushan, Head of the Fusion Learning Innovation and Excellence Center (FLIE). This enlightening session delved into Bournemouth University’s organizational structure, its visionary 2025 strategy, and strategic outcomes. The spotlight was on FLIE, the driving force behind the university’s digital transformation. Dr. Gelareh Roushan provided valuable insights into FLIE’s support for academic staff in designing, delivering, and evaluating exceptional educational practices, using online resources, masterclasses, and bespoke sessions. The effectiveness of the university’s virtual learning environment, Brightspace, was apparent, offering numerous benefits for both staff and students.
Session 2, led by Tra Vinh University (TVU), featured a dynamic team of speakers who unveiled the university’s remarkable strides in digital transformation. Ms. Nguyen Thi Mai Khanh and Mr. Nghi Vinh Khanh, introduced the university’s visionary roadmap, aligning technology with a commitment to educational excellence.
Mr. Nguyen Thai Toan then shared TVU’s innovative Soft Skill Training Management System, a solution that streamlines the management of over 100 courses each month with just three part-time staff members. This efficient approach saves resources, optimizes time, and enhances the learning experience for both educators and students. Ms. Phan Thi Phuong Nam added to the discussion with insights into the Course Assessment Portfolio (CAP) System, addressing the challenges of traditional assessment by digitizing student outcomes data. This move not only simplifies data management but also provides valuable insights for informed decision-making at TVU.
Session 3, presented by British University Vietnam (BUV), featured Dr. Mike Perkins, Senior Lecturer and Head of the Center for Research and Innovation, and Mr. Benjamin Robinson, LMS Curriculum Designer. BUV’s innovative approach to digital transformation was highlighted through the upgrade of its Learning Management System (LMS), enabling a fully blended mode of education. The university’s clever use of familiar tools like Excel empowered academic staff, facilitating the creation of digital courses and improved data utilization. Notably, BUV’s work on a generative AI chatbot, designed to ethically support students, promises to be a significant future advancement.
The closing session, led by the University of Economics Ho Chi Minh City (UEH), featured Mr. Huynh Duc, Executive of UEH International Office, and Dr. Vo Ha Quang Dinh, Head of the Department of Information Technology. UEH shared its comprehensive strategy, focusing on eight aspects of digital transformation across three pillars of Administration, Training, and Research. Noteworthy was the university’s pioneering efforts in preparing for the future, including plans for big data utilization to create datasets for research and administration, as well as the anticipation of utilizing ChatGPT to support students and staff.
The awareness that came though the Immersion forum was complemented by the work done by the MBA students. Following extensive review of frameworks related to DX and digital competencies and with the help of funding from the Turing programme, the student team spent a month in Viet Nam, working with Vietnamese students from the partner organisations for developing a vision board of digital transformation that captures the views of the younger generation in Viet Nam. The work captured on padlets is insightful of the perspectives of the BUV, UEH and TVU students.
We are currently to commence another major stage in the project: the assessment of the digital maturity of the Vietnamese partners. Milena Bobeva and Geli Roushan are in Vietnam for the first assessment session that will be run with BUV senior management team on the 17 October 2023. More details on the outcomes from this stage and how it impacts on institutional decision making and beyond are to follow.
The partners are committed to embracing digital transformation and managing the transition smoothly and effectively, and though collaboration with their own partnership networks and the British Council UKVN Higher Education Network, to positively influence the DX journey across Vietnamese Higher Education.
To stay connected with this community of practitioners driving digital transformation, visit the project’s fanpage at https://www.facebook.com/UKVNHEDigitalTransformation.