From the article:
The higher educational environment in Europe is changing and for the Netherlands this means that the dual educational system (universities and insti-tutes for higher professional education) will disappear. However this is not the only driver of change. Many European countries face a population that is aging and in the near future many lecturers will retire. Also the current financial crisis in Europe is causing many investments in higher education to be delayed. These and other drivers mean that universities need to organize their resources (such as buildings, lecture halls, libraries, IT etc.) in a different manner. Furthermore sup-port staff and administrators within universities need to be more flexible in the way they work to cater to the needs of a new customer group. To identify the changes that are needed and any bottlenecks that can be expected, a study was conducted at the HU University of Applied Sciences in the Netherlands. Professors, managers, staff, and students were interviewed and based on the outcomes a method for a new way of working was developed and IT tools to support this were recommended. Subsequently the method and some of the tools were tested in a pilot with 22 students. One of the most impressive results has been the re-duction in the number of e-mails sent. During the pilot several means of commu-nication were used (mainly twitter and Facebook) while the use of e-mail was not allowed. For the lecturers involved this meant a reduction in e-mail from over 1000 mails to fewer than 200 while at the same time the amount of tweets and Facebook postings totaled around 350. This means a reduction of about 45% in the number of messages. Furthermore we also used e-learning to reduce the amount of time that teachers and students needed to be physically present at the university, thereby not only reducing overhead but also helping in realizing the sustainability goals of the university.