The bells, the bells… – Weeknote #34 – 25th October 2019

Wedding Car by James Clay

I spent the weekend at a family wedding down in Sussex and I got my first taste of campanology, when I was asked to ring the bell in the church at the end of the wedding service, why I was asked I have no idea, but my family now have an amusing video of me being pulled up and down by the bell rope! The wedding was lovely and we had a great time.

Nine years ago on the 19th October 2010 I took this photograph of one of the offices in the college I was working in.

Office space

We had been having a lot of discussions about desks and offices. One particular group of staff were adamant they needed their own desks to work on and that they didn’t want their space changed.

What you should notice from the photograph above was that though everyone had their own desk, what they were actually using them was for, was storage. No one was really using their desks for working at. The result was a room which was not conducive to working, so no one worked in there. No one could find anything… well some could.

I remember having discussions about replacing the space with fewer desks, more storage and some nicer seating and comfortable areas. The reaction was (as expected) no, I need my own desk.

The staff in this office spent the majority of their working week teaching in classrooms, when they were not teaching, they wanted space to mark and prepare, research as well as somewhere to relax, drink coffee and discuss stuff with colleagues. They also needed space to store materials and resources, as well as student work. Their needs were being overshadowed by the need for their own space, a space they could call their own.

For me the key lesson here was that people didn’t think about the space in the context of what they needed to do in that space, but more about having a space to call their own. In terms of space planning you do need to balance those things out.

Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay
Image by Jan Vašek from Pixabay

It was a quieter week for me (in terms of travelling and meetings), partly due to family commitments I needed to be working from home and it was good to rest from the travelling I did last week and catch up on some of the writing I needed to do.

So on Monday I was working from home and it was Back to the Future Day.

Back to the Future Day

The 21st October 2015 was the day that Marty McFly travelled back to the future with Doc in their flying DeLorean.

If there had been a FOTE in 2015, I would have done a Back to the Future themed talk.

Great Scott! – Back to the Future at FOTE15


The talk would have been about predicting the future, I had even thought about and researched renting a DeLorean for the event…

Flying DeLorean from Back to the Future

One of the lessons from Monday that I decided I needed to do something about research that we do at Jisc. We need to not only carry out research, but also publish it as well.

We have been discussing the Technical Career Pathways we are launching at Jisc. I have been working on outcomes, assessment criteria and verification. Reminds me of my GNVQ days at Brunel College in Bristol. We had a few discussions over the week about assessment judgements, validity, subjectivity as well as verification.

Wednesday I had a pre-meeting about a future meeting with the Welsh Government. I am now bringing myself up to speed on the LA Wales project Jisc have been undertaking.

We have been working with universities in Wales supporting them to implement learning analytics. I read a lot about the project and what Jisc have been up to and the impact on the institutions.

I published a blog post on the presentation I gave last week at the HE Conference and Exhibition.

Boosting Student Retention and Achieving Strategic Goals Through Data and Analytics


I wanted to link to the relevant blog posts and reports I had mentioned in my talk, as well as a link to my slides.  As I mentioned last week, the challenge I have, is that people who attended would have heard my presentation, but the slides are just images (thank you Pixabay) and no text! The blog post adds some context and content to the slides.

Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay
Image by tigerlily713 from Pixabay

Thursday I published a blog post inspired by my work on Education 4.0, on the tyranny of the timetable. I had been thinking about what a future timetable system could do, if it had access to the right kinds of data to enable staff and academics to make informed decisions about space and rooms.

The tyranny of the timetable


This post covered what a potential smart timetable could look like, as well as an idea of what  the intelligent timetable could provide universities. One of the requirements is a decent realm of data about loads of different aspects required for timetabling.

Friday was a day to continue with presentations preparation and more writing of articles and reports.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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