Digital innovation and societal changes that have developed in recent years, exacerbated by the new challenges posed by the global pandemic, have made it necessary to profoundly revise the organizational foundations of institutions.
Often, these institutions have found themselves unprepared for the speed and amount of necessary change that must be implemented.
The purpose of this introductory module is to guide the reader through an overview of the most important topics that will be covered in subsequent modules.
First of all, the concept of strategy will be explored: what is a strategy, how best to plan it, and how to achieve the objectives set (the so-called “strategy implementation”). It is essential for today’s leaders to be able to adequately develop a strategy and allocate the human and economic resources available to them. But even more so, time emerges as a fundamental factor to be taken into consideration.
From this reasoning comes a summary of best practices found in successful businesses and taken from the European Union’s suggestions on how best to define and implement a strategy, together with tips in order to try to make the most of all the tools that modern technology makes available.
Higher Education Institutions are particularly required to adapt quickly to these changes, and to optimize the use of their resources.
Often, academics are reluctant to change, and reject innovative teaching methodologies taking comfort in a safe and traditional past. However, this conception can be inoptimal, obsolete, and generally inconvenient when compared to alternatives.
These alternatives are considered in the second module, “How to encourage academics to embrace change and new academic practices,” which reviews the reasons why institutions should voluntarily embark on paths of change in the way they teach, using innovative systems and new strategies to give their students the best and most up-to-date service possible, while also keeping an eye on the cost of such changes.
Alternative ways of teaching and of approaching modern-day challenges may require expenses, which can be mitigated through innovative perspectives on Intellectual Properties. The third module, “Improving intellectual property right literacy and production and reuse of OER.”, deals with the definition and issues of the current rules on Intellectual Property, and offers possible solutions aimed at institutions who may want to use third party contents, which are becoming easier and easier to create and distribute, to improve their efficiency, productivity and performances.
Higher Education Institutions, for example, may want to pay attention to innovative models of managing IP rights, such as the Creative Commons licensing, or the world of Open Soruce software as a whole. Many Open Educational Resources and digital assets, all free to access, can be used for teaching, learning and assessing.
An up-to-date knowledge of the rules regarding IP rights and of the opportunities that many alternatives currently offer are essential to avoid negative impacts on research objectives and education, offering yet another reason why taking IP into account at all hierarchical levels is an important path to follow to obtain the best results possible in every field.
New ways of working bring with themselves new risks for the safety and health of employees. While employers have duties to provide measures in order to minimise these risks, based on a series of state-level regulations stemming from EU Directives, employees must be well informed and prepare to deal with them.
Taking care of health and safety should not just be considered something mandated by law. Better standards lead to better work organisation.
The need for a more flexible work schedule arising from the pandemic and the spread of forms of smart working could also lead to unpredictable working conditions, affecting both morale and productivity.
Then, in the fourth module, we aim to offer ways to ensure that managers are better prepared to deal with these new challenges, through a new multidisciplinary approach for occupational Health and Safety management. By combining different types of knowledge and competencies emerging from different fields, the module takes a look at the new challenges and hazards of the modern workplace and the instruments that can aid in mitigating them.
In the end, in the last module, an analysis is conducted regarding the most important legislative obligations related to privacy and security. The advent of the GDPR enforced a number of rules on subjects who process personal data, of which Higher Education Institutions are a part of.
The objective of the module is to make the readers aware of the risks involved in the processing of personal data, to make him aware of his rights and to offer him a basic but also comprehensive view of the subject, easy to understand even by those who are not experts in the field of law. Both sides of the processing of personal data are taken into account: the one who does the processing and the one who undergoes it, in an attempt to raise awareness of the inherent complexity of the matter.