Preparing for the School of the Future Series: Driving Productivity for Academics

Cheerful professor communicate with pupils over video call picture id1223604450 1

Academics are typically overwhelmed by administrative tasks, from lesson planning and preparation to delivering engaging classes and planning assessments and marking. They're also the ones who will spend the most time with students, balancing the science of teaching and the art of learning. Dealing with the avalanche of change when schools replace IT or learning systems can be challenging on top of all they already manage.  

Today, we’ll hear from Mark Bai, MaivenPoint’s Edutech solution expert (who has been instrumental in developing a one-stop portal for academic staff in institutes of higher learning over Singapore in the past 18 months) as he shares what academic users really need to help them teach effectively and productively.

1. Can you share some of the top challenges that you are hearing from lecturers or professors today?

More often than not, academics have limited access to holistic student data to make personalised learning recommendations. Many academic users are asking for a more comprehensive overview of students’ records where they can get easy access to each student’s learning history, including modules completed and grades earned, to obtain a holistic view of the student’s learning progress or topical gaps that require supplementary tuition or guidance.

Academics are also requesting better post-course or post-class surveys that holistically gather students’ evaluation of the lesson delivery so that the lecturer, professor, or teacher can make constructive adjustments to lesson styles, delivery experience, etc. This will replace arbitrary lesson feedback forms that are mass-sent to students, which do not often return useful, specific information for lesson improvement.

2. In your experience, what are some functions that academic users feel are missing in most learning systems today?

One commonly asked for feature is the automatic tracking of lecturers’ or professors’ teaching hours to replace manual self-declared submissions after every class or term. Academics want their school administration systems to be intelligent enough to auto-track their attendance and involvement in lessons or exams so they do not have to recall their lesson start and end times and spend hours on claims.

They, rightfully so, think they should be automatically tracked and declared by a digital platform.  Such systems will also expedite teaching claims when synced to a payroll system (e.g. Workday), where it becomes as simple as a click rather than manual Excel or form submissions commonly used today.

Another key requirement is the need for deeper integrations to exchange critical information across systems that each lecturer or professor uses. For example, a single lecturer could be using 3-5 systems to handle separate tasks, from lesson planning to student communications, as well as assessments and exams. On top of that, they might be using another set of systems for administrative functions like attendance and teaching claims. As educators are mostly submitting manual declarations of attendance, system records are prone to human errors, which may cause inconvenient, downstream corrective actions or manual bypasses that add to their administrative workloads.

An integrated learning and administrative ecosystem will alleviate the burden of teachers and save multiple hours a day for each academic staff member, which could be redirected to quality lesson planning or consultation hours for more students.

3. What are some of the latest features in your product suite that have been popular among academic users?

One big hit with lecturers is our auto-attendance-taking feature within our lecturer portal. Traditionally, schools have used randomly generated QR codes and manual forms to collect and store attendance records in external systems, which must be manually imported into school systems daily.  

Our auto-attendance function sits directly within our learning administration platform to manage attendance during each class. Students or educators can declare their attendance through multiple means (QR codes or system declarations[KH2] ) automatically, without post-class uploads required. This saves time and effort for lecturers, who can focus on the exceptions, such as absentees or even provide them with the fidelity to indicate latecomers or percentage of attendance across a series of courses. [KH3] 

Another unique benefit of our SaaS learning and administration platform is the ability to democratise a whole range of academic services, fully online and readily accessible by all staff anytime, anywhere.

In many schools today, administrators will generate time sheets to be sent to lecturers via emails as they plan for their next lesson or course. In many cases, adjunct lecturers do not have access to school intranets due to user access controls and are unable to view their class schedules and lesson venues or access lesson materials. This fundamentally excludes academic users from a collaborative digital experience.

Our SaaS system combats this, providing an added benefit for all academic users to manage all their teaching needs in a secure, common online portal.  Furthermore, in-portal notifications serve as a faster means for lecturers to be notified of any last-minute venue changes, class cancellations, or course date shifts, to surface them for immediate attention.

Modern education technology is alleviating pain points educators have faced for decades. Discover how MaivenPoint TMS can streamline student engagement, lesson planning, assessment, and more.