Great Scott! – Weeknote #86 – 23rd October 2020

Over the week I have been working on various papers and reports, which have been going through a consultation and review process.

We launched the Data Matters 2021 conference this week, I am working with QAA and HESA on the programme for the event, which will be online.

This year’s theme will focus on ‘enabling data certainty’. The UK education sector is moving towards an uncertain future. The sector needs to transform to meet the requirements of industry 4.0 and student expectations. With COVID-19 having such a huge impact on the operation of the higher education sector now and in the foreseeable future, the entire student experience has been and will be disrupted by the restrictions in place to mitigate the risks of the virus. This has impacted on the use of formal and informal learning spaces, as well as an increasing reliance on online platforms and digital content.

It has also impacted on student recruitment, domestic as well as international. Universities have a responsibility to support all students to thrive and achieve, and it is increasingly recognised that students’ experiences are very different depending on a large number of factors, including background and personal circumstances, type and subject of their course. The mental health and wellbeing of students is an increasing concern for universities and sector bodies.

The role of data, analytics, data modelling, predictive analytics and visualisation will be a core aspect of this uncertain future, but the uncertainty will bring new challenges for the sector in how they utilise the potential of data. Public scepticism about algorithms and data use is creating new ethical and legal challenges in the gathering, processing and interpretation of data.

Book to attend the event.

Tuesday I took as leave. Went to the cinema and we were the only ones in there. We had the entire screen to ourselves, we were sat right in the middle and had the best view in the house.

Wednesday I had a fair few meetings about various things including strategy review and digital leadership. In my role of Head of HE at Jisc we’re reviewing the importance of digital leadership I the current landscape and reflecting on what Jisc can do, to help the sector meet the current and near future challenges.

Boaty McBoatface

Boaty McBoatface polar research ship set to begin sea trials, well it’s actually called the Sir David Attenborough. I have a special affinity to Boaty McBoatface as I used this as a case study when I was working on the digital capability project at Jisc. It was a great example of why you don’t ask the internet to decide stuff, well you can, but give them a choice rather than a free text option.

The university sector is still beset with challenges because of covid-19 and there is frustration and anger out there – rallies and rent strikes: how students and staff are uniting against Covid chaos

“Students were mobilised by the A-level U-turn. Now they’ve come on to campus, they’re thinking: ‘I’m sitting in my room watching a screen, which I could have done at home, why am I paying this money?’. There’s growing political awareness that enough is enough,” says Sabrina Shah, co-president of the School of Oriental and African Studies students’ union.

Wednesday was Back to the Future Day.

Back to the Future Day

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. 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

Thursday I got FTTP or full fibre as BT likes to call it. It was a pretty seamless upgrade, so much so that I didn’t actually notice that the FTTC connection had been turned off and the FTTP turned on, well I was in the midst of writing an e-mail at the time. The speed and quality of the WiFi signal is much better and is working well It will take a little time to settle in over the next few weeks so the speed will fluctuate up and down. Though for my first Teams call after installation it was working a treat.

It was quite a painless process and now we have a 1Gb connection, though the reality with WiFI is that the most I can get is about 500Mb/s, but that is still 25 times faster than what I had before!

My top tweet this week was this one.


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