Delivering value with AI

Back in March 2024 I attended the UCISA 24 Leadership Conference in Edinburgh. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

There was a Microsoft sponsored session, Delivering value with AI: Insights and lessons learnt in shaping your AI enabled digital journey.

As AI becomes ever more woven into society, many organisations and individuals are just starting to understand the full extent of what’s possible. During this session, members of the Microsoft team will share thoughts and insights on the use of AI across the sector, whilst also drawing upon the lessons learnt from other industries. Security, governance, skills, and responsible / ethical AI are amongst the key pillars of building trustworthy and reliable AI outcomes. The session will discuss how data and models can be protected from unauthorised access, tampering or theft. How governance ensures processes and policies for developing and deploying AI are transparent, accountable, and fair. The importance of skills, both in consideration of your curriculum and your own workforce. And lastly, the approach of Responsible / Ethical AI to ensure alignment with human values and social norms. By following these principles, we can create AI solutions that benefit society and empower individuals.

The session covered a huge amount of content, but as you might imagine from a vendor perspective, it was quite positive about the impact AI will have on working and productivity. There were quite a few demonstrations of how copilot could be used to support this.

AI Today: Myths, politics and visions for the future

Back in March 2024 I attended the UCISA 24 Leadership Conference in Edinburgh. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

One of the sessions I attended was AI Today: Myths, politics and visions for the future.

In this session, Dr Eleanor Drage, Senior Research Fellow, University of Cambridge walks us through the key myths about AI and why the images we use to represent it matter. She explains what companies can learn from how AI relates to politics, and how feminist and anti-racist ideas can make AI better and safer for everyone.

I made a sketch note of the talk.

As I expected in this session it covered a lot of the AI issues that would impact on educational institutions.

Taking the elevator – Weeknote #266 – 5th April 2024

Shorter week this week with Easter Monday. Headed to the office on Tuesday after the long weekend and did some writing and planning. In the end (with what it being school holidays) I was in the office every day this week. With many people in Jisc on leave this week, and the same can be said for much of higher education it was a rather quiet week, which gave me time to focus on getting some research, analysis and writing done.

I did write a blog post about lecture capture and how you could do things more creatively.

The idea of capturing a lecture isn’t new. Even before the advent of dedicated lecture capture systems being installed across the campus some lecturers (and some students) would record the lecture onto cassette tape.

Radio
Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

I have been thinking of using Jisc’s Digital Elevation Tool for FE in the Intelligent Campus space. So this week I started planning what needs to happen to make that happen. This involved looking at the scaffolding that the tool has and what would need to be in a campus version of the tool.

Made some suggestions for Connect More 2024.

The idea of capturing a lecture…

conference
Image by Florian Pircher from Pixabay

The idea of capturing a lecture isn’t new. Even before the advent of dedicated lecture capture systems being installed across the campus some lecturers (and some students) would record the lecture onto cassette tape.

Radio
Image by fancycrave1 from Pixabay

Though we talk about the lecture in higher education, there isn’t really a standard lecture across the different cohorts and subjects of the undergraduate degree. A mathematics lecture is not the same as a art history lecture, nor is it akin to a lecture in macroeconomics. Even within mathematics different topics will require different approaches.

In reality modern lectures are not really monologues anymore, lecturers will be bringing in visuals, video, interactions, engagement, discussion, and Q&A sessions. However these are not easily captured and as students engage with lecture recordings, they will focus on the core of the lecture which will be in essence a monologue and aspects of the discussion.

Are lectures still valuable? Lecturers and students seem to think so. They are quite a cost-effective way of teaching.

There is something also about the eventedness of the lecture. The coming together of a group of people for a common purpose. The social interactions that happen before, during, and after the lecture. The sharing of an event is something that is more challenging to recreate from a recording.

However there is still value in recording a lecture. The facility to review and replay a lecture has value for some. For those that missed the lecture, the recording is probably a better choice than not seeing the lecture. For those with different needs, for example English is not your first language, having access to the recording will help if they didn’t get it the first time, or missed the lecture. You can also add close captions to a recorded lecture, making it more accessible than it was in its original format.

Of course a recording of a lecture for many is not as good as the live lecture itself. A lecture recording is a compromise, you can’t put your hand up when watching a recording for example. You miss out on those social interactions that happen in the live in-person experience.

Finally is a lecture recording the best way to record the lecture. Is there a way of capturing a lecture differently?

The first thing to reflect on, is the video or images needed? Could you remove the visual element (or provide it in a different format) and focus on the audio only? Make this an audio recording for example. Well, possibly make some of the lectures audio recordings.

radio
Image by Igor Ovsyannykov from Pixabay

Rarely when accessing content on different media, do people listen to monologues. That’s not to say there isn’t value in a monologue, but a recorded monologue misses out on the affordances that you can have when creating a recorded piece for a course. Also the mental discipline to listen to a one hour (or even two hour) recorded lecture is challenging for some. Reflecting from an audience perspective, it might be better to create two or three shorter audio recordings rather than one big one. It might result in a fresher better recording than one which tires itself out. Also think about the student, will they have the time to listen to a 60 minute recorded lecture? You may think you are an amazing and engaging presenter and raconteur; the reality is maybe do something shorter and to the point. Breaking the podcast into two shorter recordings may allow them to be more accessible to the students, they could listen to them as they do something else, physical exercise for example. These could be released together or split during the week and again and follow it with a week long asynchronous online chat discussing the topics and content. Visual resources could be provided in advance or alongside the audio recording of the lecture.

Another option is to think differently and instead of recording a lecture, create an audio recording that is more akin to a radio programme or a podcast. The format and structure of a podcast or a radio recording is different to that of a lecture. Often they take form of a conversation or a panel discussion with multiple participants. This can be challenging to organise, but is something to reflect on.

Capturing a lecture isn’t a new idea, however capturing a lecture may not be the optimum way of delivering a recorded version of the in-person session.

Quality and AI

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

There was part of one session which focussed on quality and included insights into AI and plagiarism.

It wasn’t a lengthy presentation, so it’s quite a minimalistic sketchnote as a result. I do like the fact that the Matrix inspired background worked well for a sketchnote; over the plain background I usually use.

Sometimes it doesn’t quite work…

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

I did attempt to do a sketchnote on one of the sessions, but it didn’t come together.

Looking over the programme I am not even sure which session this was for!

My sketch notes are really for me, rather than other people. The process of sketching allows me to digest for myself what is been talked about and demonstrated. The sketch note provides me with a mechanism that provides a process for my interpretation of what is being said and what I understand from the talk. The process of sketching engages me in the talk in ways in which note taking does for others or conversing on social media.

Now in this session, I really couldn’t bring together what was being said in a sketch. There were odd words and phrases, which I noted in my sketch.

Does this mean it was a poor presentation? Well of course not, presentations at conferences are not delivered so I could draw a fancy sketchnote! However the talk didn’t work for me.

How do students use their time?

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

I attended the session What do we know about what’s shaping how students spend their time?

The latest and most powerful insights on the student condition from Wonkhe and Cibyl’s Belong student survey platform and from across the HE sector.

There was a lot of things in there, about sleep, travel time, working, and time travelling to work.

Of course time isn’t everything, space is important too. Time and space go together. Some interesting commentary about students (who don’t live on campus) needing space on campus to rest or even sleep.

A history of attempts – Weeknote #265 – 29th March 2024

Shorter week this week with Good Friday. I spent the start of the week working from home, I did eventually get to the office on Wednesday.

Some interesting articles from WonkHE on Monday, related to the work I am doing with optimising operations and data.

 There may be ways to make UK higher education cheaper to run

Is UK higher education really the world’s third most expensive way of getting a degree – and if it is, what might the alternatives look like?

One of the key questions that arises from different operating models, are higher education institutions prepared to change, and are they only going to change because they are forced to.

The other article was about shared services.

Are “back office services” really better together?

There’s a history of attempts to drive efficiency by sharing services – and precious little evidence of success.

When I started my work in this space, I came to similar conclusions that were in this article. However I do think just because that was the way things were, doesn’t mean that there isn’t opportunities in the future.

Did some analysis of various reports, articles, and links in relation to Optimising Operations and Data. I did a similar analysis of various reports, articles, and links in relation to Intelligent Campus.

I started the planning various reports in relation to Optimising Operations and Data.

I had a meeting about a proposed Intelligent Campus maturity framework.

I did some more field research on the Intelligent Campus.

What do we know about the conditions that help students thrive?

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

The session which kicked off the conference was What do we know about the conditions that help students thrive? 

The latest and most powerful insights on the student condition from Wonkhe and Cibyl’s Belong student survey platform and from across the HE sector.

For many students, university can be a stressful experience, as they worry about money, the cost of living, working, as well as studying and assessment.

Deck of Cards – Weeknote #264 – 22nd March 2024

A busy start to the week, I was attending HESCA 24 at the University of Loughborough. HESCA is the Higher Education Smart Card Association, primarily a membership organisation for vendors in the smart card and access card space.

There were some interesting talks and presentations. Some were from universities and others were from vendors. As the presentations were about fifteen minutes long, I didn’t make any sketch notes.

I was talking at the final session of the conference talking about the holistic approach to building a smart campus. Got some nice feedback from the session.

This week we also had our Senior Education and Student Experience Group Meeting. As a well as our usual what’s on your agenda discussion, we also looked at what the big challenge is for higher education and discussed two of the future visions I have been writing. Some interesting thoughts and commentary came out from that.

I had an initial discussion meeting with another university about a possible stakeholder workshop. I was also contacted by a colleague in Jisc about a different university for a conversation, who is also interested in this space. There is a lot of interest and demand in this area from universities across the UK.

I continued my work on optimising operations and data, undertaking further analysis of various reports, articles, and links. I did a similar thing with my work on the intelligent campus.

We had a team meeting, though meeting isn’t really the operative word here, much more a structured conversation and chat.

I was in the office on Friday which was quite busy, for a Friday, usually it is quite quiet.

I attended the Digital Elevation Model review meeting with colleagues from the FE side of Jisc.

news and views on e-learning, TEL and learning stuff in general…