PART A- Consultancy report

Table of Contents

PART A: Consultancy ReportIntroductionTemple Bar University (TBU) is one of the oldest universities in Dublin, Ireland and has been shaping the lives of students for almost seven decades now. Currently influencing the lives of over 15,000 students, the University has associates in China, USA and the mainland of Europe. Temple Bar University holds the record of being the only Irish University to be represented in an elite research consortium consisting of five universities from the European Union, two from Australia, three from Canada and China and seven from the United States. With such an impactful history, the University has recently initiated work on expanding its campus to Shanghai (China) post a successful implementation of a similar project at London (United Kingdom).However, there still remain thousands of people who are full of potential but lack either the assets and resources or the privilege of acquiring their degrees from reputable places such as the Temple Bar University. Considering this very fact, the university now hopes to launch an online medium of imparting education and providing employer-sought degrees to all those individuals who are at locations unfeasible geographically or are stuck in situations ugly. The TBUOnline initiative shall target students belonging to Central Africa, Latin America and Australia.Not only do they aspire to make education accessible to all, traversing geographical boundaries, they also have provisions of imparting education to those financially incapable to take the courses up both in the university campus and through the online programme. They are ready to offer full scholarships to deserving and talented students from the funds they receive from their philanthropic partners – the Wuinness Family Foundation. Their idea of reaching out to a maximum number of students through real-time campuses and virtual classes doesn’t end here; they also have another expansion project on the loop which shall basically target the students who aim to go to the established providers in Europe. With the TBU Online programme the University is supposed to attract a much higher number of students and since this will be like a distance learning programme, the students coming in would be from a wide range of age groups.AnalysisThe Temple Bar University is a University of repute and has been shaping the lives of students for the past sixty nine years. It has imparted quality and impeccable education to over a million students ever since its inception. Spread across various fields of study and staffed with some of the most refined, highly qualified and experienced teachers of the world, TBU has set a standard for itself among its counterparts. Continuing with its noble and sound work, the University has also expanded its branches to several other parts of the world, traversing national and continental borders and has consistently been the best in its field.Its newest endeavor is in keeping with the technological advancements taking place across the globe. Technology has made everything available at the tip of one’s fingers. Right from a nursery rhyme to the most complex solutions of Calculus – everything that is under the sun is also on the internet and on your mobile screens. Hence, the Temple Bar University has decided to come up with an online platform that shall make all courses available offline, also available online. This means that which certificate is accessible via daily class at the college premises shall also be accessible through the screens of one’s laptop and cell phone.Right now the project is still in the planning stage and a lot still remains to be done but here are the basic advantages that the TBU Online forum shall present:Attend class from the comforts of home: A major setback for many students when it comes to attending college is that they either cannot afford the expenses of college right from uniforms, accommodation and fooding to college fee or else they have too many personal issues and responsibilities elsewhere which doesn’t allow them the leeway of enjoying regular college life like any other kid. No matter what the problems of the students are, a bitter truth that stand upright at the end of the day is that the lesser your qualification is, the lesser your chances are of securing a better and respectable life for yourself and your family. Especially in today’s tough times, having a degree from a decent institute has become a prerequisite for landing up at any job. If a student finds himself in a position where he cannot go for regular college, then the right solution to that is the online project launched by Temple Bar University. As it is the University has the finest faculty, the quality of education won’t be an issue if a student chooses to take up further studies under TBUOnline. Right from the comforts of one’s home and room, one can learn one’s course lessons with as much precision as was only found in regular college classes previously.No worries about missed out lessons: a major problem that kids face when at school or college is the loss they incur if they happen to miss out a lecture or two at class. When they go back to school after a break of few days, things seem alien to them as they had missed the previous classes and nothing taught now seems relevant to them. You may copy up the notes taken down by your friends at class or even approach the professor personally for an exclusive extra class but nothing matches that first round of lecture that the teacher gives at class. And then there are teachers who may not be as cooperative as you would want them to be and chances are, they will refuse to re-teach the lesson you missed. But this problem gets instantly striked off with the TBUOnline programme. One can always swipe up and watch, re-watch, re-re-watch a class as per convenience as the lessons won’t be brought down until the end of the course.Online allotment of assignments: The Temple Bar University’s online portal shall be entirely functional on the online medium and students need not worry about what they all be tested upon and how will they in touch their course by merely watching video lessons. The TBUOnline project shall timely upload the weekly or monthly assignments for every course available online and the students can simply download the assignment document to understand what their homework for the week is. This is much easier, faster clearer and convenient than the conventional means of conveying everything via notices or personal emails or broadcast messages. This not only saves time of the teachers and management but also ensures transparency of information for all.Online submission of assignments: Just as the assignments are made available online, so will their submission be made acceptable online. For, every week and month that a student engages in a course, there shall be a folder assigned for that week and month and all that a student needs to do is upload his/her assignments on the allotted folder on time to ensure that is doesn’t face rejection or get them any negative marks. The one thing that makes the TBUOnline portal unique is that it gives students the leeway to take the course forward as though it is a distance course by giving them all the privileges of a real-time regular course at college. This means that if someday, the student is unable to submit his/her assignment on time, he/she can simply forward an intimation regarding the same to the TBUOnline assistants who shall instantly assign them a new deadline.Online study material: The University has properly thought through the entire process of awarding degrees to students via the online medium and they realize that as much as the class lectures are important, they are not sufficient for the preparation of University level exams and a professional life after that. Hence, a digitalization process of their entire collection of course books is in the process presently and shall reach its completion hopefully by the end of this academic year. Hundreds of experts are at work currently to upload all library books needed for the online course in PDF format on the Study Material section of the TBUOnline portal. Apart from that, every assignment shall also contain the links to references from where the students can derive the information required for the completion of the assignment.FAQs answered: This feature takes the TBUOnline portal beyond the expectations a person has from a newly created website. The FAQ section shall address all questions that a student might have pertaining to the course and the procedure involved. One might wonder how the authorities would speculate the probable questions. Well the answer to that is that the creators are taking the pain to explain the functioning of the portal to a bunch of people and they have cooperated to comply to all the course procedures and in the process, whichever doubts pop into their head, they have asked those to the authorities who in their turn have formulated a FAQ section based on that for the future students. In addition to this, the website shall constantly keep updating this section since it is one of the key sections ensuring that the website is user-friendly.Provision of contacting professor: Just because it’s an online course does not mean that the students taking it online will be deprived of the privilege of personal interaction with the teachers. All contact details of the professors coming up in the video classes will be shared so that the virtual students can reach out to their teachers whenever the need for the same arises.Avail discounts/scholarships based on merit: students who excel in their chosen course or have an excellent academic track record shall be eligible for a scholarship that can go as far as being a fully covered scholarship. This shall be facilitated by TBU’s long-standing philanthropic partnership with the Dublin-based Wuinness Family Foundation. Despite the mentioned advantages that TBUOnline shall extend to its students along with the relaxation it will bring to its faculty, there are also a few challenges that lie ahead for the website developers:Proper publicity: Since the online portal of Temple Bar University is a relatively new initiative, naturally, not many people are aware of it. Proper publicity drives via trustworthy channels should be carried out in all the countries and territories that the University has its branches in and particularly the areas which it primarily targets via TBUOnline that is, Central Africa, Latin America and Australia. It’s only through awareness that the University shall succeed in reaching out to a large number of people spread across a wide range of geographical locations.Creation of a mobile and desktop friendly website: The creators of the website have a huge challenge ahead of them in the form of the accessibility and user-friendliness of the website. Anything that appears too complicated, haphazard, unorganized or simply off-beat is enough to shoo away the prospective visitors of the page and students of the University. Hence, a huge responsibility rests on their shoulders as they need to ensure at all costs, that the various sections of the website are thoughtfully arranged, perceiving the mind of a casual visitor who can be a prospective traffic bringer.Uploading the huge amount of data: Since there will be as many as twenty courses available on TBUOnline initially and probably a few others added to the list over a period of time, there shall be a huge expanse of information that will be uploaded on the web portal pertaining to the varied courses. In addition, an entire library of books is to be uploaded on the portal which in itself calls for excellent digital managerial skills so as to ensure that the portal doesn’t keep crashing frequently, or rather, doesn’t crash at all! Also, the students too shall upload their assignments as the weeks and months pass by. Apart from this, HD videos of class lectures for all courses shall be uploaded and this only goes on to indicate the plethora of things that the portal must be capable of storing.ConclusionWhile the initiative taken by Temple Bar University is great, unique and out of the box, yet it is a massive project can stands equal chances of either being a total hit or an absolute disaster. The things they have in mind for this project and the level of sophistication they intend to uphold right from the beginning would required months of rigorous work. While the digitalization of library books is going on in full swing, they are yet to begin speedy work on the portal. Though the primary step of hiring teams has been initiated, actual ground work is yet to commence. Looking at the vast expanse of work that lies ahead of the University with regards to its TBUOnline, they will need at least two years to give shape to the vision they have for the portal. In spite of hiring the best of the teams and a large number of technicians, the creation of a portal meeting all their technical needs cannot be completed before a minimum of period of two years.RecommendationLibrary first: Since the process of digitalizing the library is near completion, it will be nice not only for the future virtual students but also for the existing regular students to access them anytime, anywhere. Also, the Temple Bar University has branches at quite a number of places, so naturally, not every book that exists in one branch will exist in the other. Having all books uploaded on a PDF format will enable all students under the banner of TBU to have a uniform access to textbooks. They can even consider having a separate portal only for the library if the need be.Go one step at a time: The entire project of TBUOnline is a major one that needs special care and attention at every point. Rushing through the process would only result in a web portal of inferior quality. Hence, time must be taken before the final portal is released. And it is highly recommended that they go ahead one step at a time.Make managerial teams: They should have separate teams for every section, who shall work only on their assigned section and attain perfection in it before a final supervising team merges everything up and formulates the final website. Some of the prospective teams handling different branches could be:Previous year papers.Assignments.Course study material.Course video lessons.Web designers.Run trial: Any project that begins without a trial and error method in place always has a lot many errors surfacing immediately after the project is launched. Hence it is a must that the TBUOnline portal is first tried out among its existing students or any other group of interested people so as to figure out whether it functions effectively or does it need further modification before the final launch.