Annette Gevaert, Head of Workplace for Good at Workplace by Facebook

Today’s students are tech-savvy and have high expectations when it comes to education, which puts pressure on educational institutes.

Teachers, lecturers and academics are all facing new questions about how they can maximise student learning, how to use technological platforms and how they can make most efficient use of their out-of-teaching time to keep students engaged and better collaborate internally.

Added to this is the fact that millions of hours are wasted every year on arranging diaries for meetings, making it complicated and wasting people’s time.

So how can the education sector adapt to accommodate growing expectations from students?

It's time for universities and schools to evolve.

To meet expectations, universities need to ensure their staff are given the best possible platform to support their students. This is where collaboration tools such as Workplace can prove dividends.

Whether it’s to co-ordinate seminars, arrange rotas or share opinions on methods, collaboration technologies are helping teachers stay connected and collaborate better than ever. This ability to work cohesively and conveniently, is a necessity in education.

Collaboration can give teachers the edge and really make a difference. Australian Catholic University (ACU) is one such example.

One of ACU's biggest challenges was finding a way to bring together the 2,500 researchers, educators and support staff who work across ACU's eight campuses.

But by using a collaboration tool like Workplace, ACU saw a number of different benefits:

It can turn ideas into action

For example, the National Sustainability Manager posted a message about disposable coffee cups onto his News Feed, it was seen, shared and commented on by hundreds of staff members, which resulted in a campaign that cut plastic consumption on campus.

Within two and a half months, the university was able to convince all cafe operators on campus to offer staff and students a discount on using reusable cups, instead of their environmentally harmful counterpart.

It can break down structures

Not only this, it can help break down siloed organisational structures, something which made many ACU staff feel disconnected from each other. Many of the university's departments operated as self-sufficient units, with lecturers, researchers and professional staff collaborating inwardly on their own curriculum and services.

Workplace opened up a new kind of peer-to-peer dialogue and inter-departmental knowledge sharing that did not exist at the university before.

Within just four months of adopting Workplace, 76% of staff in the pilot rollout said their sense of connectedness had improved and 63% said that Workplace created more opportunities to collaborate.

It can replace old tools that don't work

Traditional methods of communication can feel outdated and restrictive - something that ACU also experienced. By implementing Workplace, ACU was able to become more digitally savvy and invigorate their internal communications.

With familiar features like a News Feed, profile pages and tagging options, staff were quickly able to become familiar with Workplace and start trialling new ways of working that didn't include emails and newsletters.

Workplace has enabled ACU to break down the barriers associated with traditional communication, with ACU's then Internal Communication and Engagement Manager, Catherine Snelson stating that Workplace has enabled employees to contribute to the greater good of the entire organisation “by sharing ideas, best practices, resources, and highlighting their accomplishments.”

After four months of piloting Workplace, ACU reported a 13% decrease in perceived reliance on email and a 33% improvement in staff saying that ACU's communication channels made it easy to share updates on projects.

Collaboration beyond education

Collaboration tools aren't just for the education sector. It’s time for organisations of all sizes and sectors to realise the benefits and implement these to help connect teams across multiple locations and departments, simplify communications and inspire all levels of companies to embrace digital and mobile.

Workplace by Facebook helps companies and education institutions collaborate better, making it easier to get things done.

Annette Gevaert, Head of Workplace for Good at Workplace by Facebook

About the Author: Annette is the Head of Workplace for Good at Facebook, the global programme bringing premium work tools to Nonprofits and Educational Institutions.

Since joining Facebook 2.5 years ago she helped organisations large and small to transform the way they work through Workplace, leading the Growth team for Workplace in EMEA. Prior to Facebook Annette built industry communities for suppliers and buyers at Achilles and spent 7 years at SAP. Annette holds an MBA from INSEAD.

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