The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction


Short course: Digital transformation in the built environment

Returning short course launching March 2023: Digital transformation in the built environment: aligning technology with business.

Eleni short course image

The Bartlett School of Sustainable Construction will be launching a new short course, Digital transformation in the built environment: aligning technology with business. The course is a successful outcome of a short course development grant funded by UCL Innovation and Enterprise through their lifelong learning team.

Aimed at executives, senior managers and policy makers involved in the construction industry, the course will address the challenges and opportunities created by digital transformation of the built environment.

Course leaders, Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki and Dr Beth Morgan, are experienced lecturers and executive coaches and active researchers in topics such as digital leadership, digital strategy, innovation, data management, and digital procurement among others. As   well as benefitting from their research experience and track record in providing executive education to private clients from around the world, Eleni and Beth are using the scenario-based teaching case methods, developed by Harvard Business School and widely used in business schools globally. They are both certified in using the inductive Harvard teaching case method and have a portfolio of their own teaching cases set in construction setting.

Course format and pedagogy

The course will be delivered online through a mixture of 3 half day interactive synchronous sessions, self-paced asynchronous learning and webinars taking place over a four-week period amounting to 20hrs total study time. A key part of the learning will involve networking and business environment simulation. The short course will use the UCLeXtend platform as a Virtual Learning Environment (VLE) and the online interactions will take place during the dates below through Zoom.

The Harvard Case Study methodology will form a central part of the course. This is a teaching methodology that is particularly appropriate for this type of education: it uses a ‘flipped’ classroom style where participants are provided with scenarios to prepare before joining the class and asked to address various issues relating to it.

Course Description

The “Digital Transformation in the Built Environment: Aligning Technology with Business” executive education (ExecEd) short course is designed to help experienced managers and leaders understand the terminologies, principles, tools and techniques for addressing digital transformation. This course responds to calls made recently by global governments and industry groups for reform and modernisation of construction. The course will prepare you to be a proactive manager or executive with a good grasp of the breadth of topics which are important in this subject area, including organisational management, project management and supply chain management.

The short course consists of the following teaching and learning events:

  • Preparation – Digital transformation fundamentals: Week of February 27th - March 5th (Online asynchronous self-study component):
    • Videos
    • Pre-class preparation readings
  • Day 1 – Digital transformation in firms: March 7th 2:00 - 5:30pm UK time (Online synchronous interactive component), focusing on teaching cases:
    • ‘Organising for digital change’
    • ‘Digital strategy and innovation ecosystems’
  • Day 2 – Digital transformation in projects and supply chains: March 14th 2:00-5:30pm UK time (Online synchronous interactive component), focusing on teaching cases on:
    • ‘Digital leadership’
    • ‘Digital supply chain for sustainable futures’
  • Day 3 – Leading digital transformation in your workplace: March 21st 2:00-5:30pm UK time (Online synchronous interactive component), focusing on:
    • Presentations of group coursework
    • Reflections and outlook

The assessment will consist of (i) individual learning journals and (ii) group coursework. Upon completion, a certificate of attendance will be provided.

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Who the course is for

The Digital Transformation in the Built Environment: Aligning Technology with Business course is ideal for professionals who have worked in the built environment sector for at least 3 years and are in a position to bring their own practical experience and challenges they have faced in the sector to the class.

Cohort size

The cohort size is limited to 20 executives to effectively facilitate peer-learning and interactive learning experience for participants.

Content and learning outcomes

Upon completion of the short course, the participants will be able to:

  • Understand the argument for digital transformation and how it changes the built environment
  • Gain knowledge of the impact of innovative digital technologies on the management of the built environment ecosystem (including architecture, engineering, construction and owner/operator firms)
  • Comprehend the latest developments in research, in the fields of management, organisation, social science with regards to digitalisation in the built environment and its implications
  • Develop the intellectual skills required for interpreting and reacting to changes in the built environment at organisational and project-based levels, and;
  • Critically listen to, read and/or receive a variety of information in different formats and from different sources and then summarise and evaluate their relative significance
  • Demonstrate ability to formulate arguments, communicate problems, their analysis and solution in a logical and concise manner in the English language
  • Interact and coordinate with like-minded professionals to co-create solutions without compromising competitive advantages in the digital built environment

Course facilitators

Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki

Dr Eleni Papadonikolaki is an academic and consultant and her research interests lie at the intersection of management, social science, and engineering. Eleni has been looking at digital technologies as information artefacts for generating, sharing, and managing consistent information among various actors and her research has been funded by InnovateUK, European Horizon programmes and Project Management Institute (PMI). She is particularly interested in innovation, collaboration, integrated teams and digital ecosystems and platforms from a socio-technical approach. Eleni is an Associate Professor at University College London (UCL) and the Founding Programme Director of MSc Digital Engineering Management. She has extensive experience in teaching and research on digital transformation and hands-on experience in technologies such as digital twins, blockchain and artificial intelligence. She is Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), member of the Association for Project Management (MAPM) and an engineer by training and has extensive experience in teaching using the Harvard Case Study methodology and blended and hybrid teaching methods, having delivered short courses to a number of clients from the UK, Norway and Hong Kong.

Dr Bethan Morgan

Dr Bethan Morgan combines extensive management experience with substantial expertise in the teaching and research of digital transformation. Her current interests include leadership for change, particularly in the construction industry. She has recently co-authored a chapter with Dr Papadonikolaki on this subject. Her work focuses on the socio-technical aspects of digitalization in organizations, ecosystems and industries. In 2017, Beth was awarded a fellowship from the UK’s Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) for continued work in disruptive digital technologies and is widely published and regularly presents in this area. Her interest in executive education is long-standing and has led to her authoring and teaching using the Harvard Teaching Case method. Having participated in case studies regularly during her MBA studies (where she was graduated Cum Laude) she has become a qualified instructor, and now uses this pedagogy extensively with international groups of executives. Beth has extensive industry experience in private and public sector bodies, including as Director of Research and Innovation for the UK's Constructing Excellence. During her time at CE, she was closely involved with early value related initiatives including Be-Valuable; managed Innovation Centres at three University hubs and collaborative action research schemes including Avanti.