ISS going fully digital

Time flies. It is already December, and we have now opened our application portal for the International Summer School 2017.

In 2016 we celebrated our 70th session in various ways, something that gave us a golden opportunity to look back and reflect upon our history and our tradition. 70 is the mandatory retirement age in Norway, but the ISS has no intention of retiring or slowing down. On the contrary, now we are looking ahead, and we are busily planning for continuing the great tradition of our summer school, and at the same time renewing and innovating it.

One indication of innovation is the process of digitalization we have been going through over the past few years. In 2015, we opened up for electronic applications for the first time, and the number of applicants soared from around 1,600 to more than 4,000. In 2016, the number increased slightly.

For the coming session, we have improved our website, to make it clearer to applicants whether they qualify for what they are applying for. If you consider applying for a scholarship, you can see what we offer, for instance for applicants, from your part of the world, or for the type of course you are interested in. This will save time, work and hassle for both applicants and the ISS administration.

On November 15, we launched our new website, which is a great step forward. The new website is both easier to navigate and more informative than the old one. We hope you will find comprehensive information about courses as well as extracurricular activities there. There are also quite a few short videos with general presentations as well as glimpses from the dorm and excursions. Most of our prospective applicants and future students actually find out about us through our website, so it is all the more important to make it as informative and illustrative as possible. In October our new brochure for 2017 also arrived from the printer, and it is considerably slimmer than the catalog we have printed in the past. This also reflects the fact that the website is now our main source of information with paper-based information as a supplement. We hope you find our material informative and feel inspired to apply. It is always exciting to receive and start process applications.

Another area where the ISS has gone digital, is our exams. Last summer we introduced digital exams for 213 students in 10 of our courses and replaced pen and paper with screen and keyboard. This coming summer, all our exams will be digital. One of the goals of the University of Oslo is to have all exams digitalized within the foreseeable future, and the ISS is proud to follow up this ambition at a greater speed than we had anticipated. Our goal was to have all exams digitalized by the 2018 session, and now we are a year ahead of schedule.

Digitalization of admission, exams and other services is of course no end in itself, but just tools to make our summer school run more smoothly and more efficiently so that we can concentrate our efforts on serving our students both before they arrive and during their stay in Oslo. Meeting, interacting with and reflecting together with people is what the ISS is really about.

By Einar Vannebo
Published Dec. 7, 2016 12:35 PM - Last modified Nov. 10, 2017 9:34 AM