Going home for Christmas – Weeknote #91 – 27th November 2020

A lot of news over the weekend on grade inflation. I was at an event last November where this was discussed and there was some despair about the issue, on one hand everyone is expecting the quality of teaching to be better, but at the same time they don’t want students to get better grades.

I spent a fair amount of time writing some proposals this week.

We’ve also been working on where Jisc goes next with Learning and teaching reimagined following the publication of the most recent report.

This report is the result of a five-month higher education initiative to understand the response to COVID-19 and explore the future of digital learning and teaching.

As the directorate I am now in is responsible for moving things forward, the key issue is how we move from a series of challenges and recommendations to a plan for change and transformation. We have a vision, we know where we are, it’s less about where we want to be, much more about how do we get there, what do we need to do to make it happen.

walking home
Image by 춘성 강 from Pixabay

So what’s going to be happening at Christmas as students flock home for Christmas?

The BBC reports and says:

Students in England will be urged to take two Covid tests three days apart, to cut the risk of spreading infection when they travel home for Christmas.

The Government published their full guidance as well.

Universities should ensure they have plans for how they support students to return home safely, including planning transport support, staggered departures and moving teaching online early so students can finish their studies from home. They should also communicate safer travel guidance to students, ensuring they understand how to stay safe while travelling.

Standing in the rain
Image by Daniel Park from Pixabay

Tuesday saw Universities UK call for urgent action on racial harassment in higher education.

Universities UK (UUK) has today published a new set of recommendations designed to decisively tackle racial harassment as part of efforts to address racial inequality in UK higher education. The recommendations are the product of an advisory group convened by UUK in October 2019 and come just over a year after the Equality and Human Rights Commission uncovered widespread evidence of racial harassment on university campuses.

Wednesday was the Government spending review, and what was in there for higher education? Very little it seems.

Had a meeting with the Civic University Network. I think this is an area that Jisc has a role to play with the linkage between the Intelligent Campus and the Smart City. It’s an area where we have looked at before. Last year I also attended a meeting with the University of Bristol in the One City project. What role does Jisc play in this space? How does Eduroam fit into the concept of the Smart City and into the levelling-up’ agenda? How will digital enable the civic university?

Image by Free-Photos from Pixabay

Friday I read the AUDE report Covid-19 and the future of the university estate as you might expect I was drawn to the section on smart campus.

As tech grows cheaper and more ubiquitous, so the expectation on us grows to deliver digital transformation. Robust data lights the path towards the smart campus. This isn’t about replacing the old with the new, it’s about identifying the projects with high student and staff impact, projects that replace or streamline transactions, improve operational delivery, reduce costs, widen access, improve campus experience and remove geographical or financial barriers to participation. Digital transformation is a way to differentiate our offer within the market. New models emerge – pay as you throw away? – and we can use transformation projects to identify and solve the big problems that people agree on. There are barriers aplenty, as in any change task – lack of IT knowledge, siloed thinking, inadequate funding, legacy IT systems, plans that seem more symbolic than credible. The data driven estate calls on all kinds of skills within your team from project management and building design to modelling skills, iterative learning skills, collaboration and much more.

But the potential prize is significant. Better recruitment via remote marketing tours of campus for those unable to visit in person, backed up by sophisticated CRM underpinning. A better experience for new undergraduates, with “nudge” tech guiding them towards successful behaviours – “Do you want to meet your personal tutor?” in the live Staffordshire example. Better and more predictive estates management and fault detection helping us identify that “Area X needs cleaning”. Better traffic flows and social distancing, as an loT guides users to low occupancy areas. Savings applied from such systems in one “creaky” lab space at the University of Alberta amounted to $780k: that system was quickly rolled out to 50 more buildings.

This is the guide to the Intelligent Campus I wrote which was published in 2018. It is an overview of the Intelligent Campus concept and the issues and challenges that universities (and colleges) may want to consider when designing and building a future campus.

We also published a series of use cases for the Intelligent Campus space. These use cases exploit potential uses for the intelligent campus.

This article from Educational Technology, written by me, asks What makes an intelligent campus? This article explores the journey from the smart campus to the intelligent campus.

More recently I did a piece back in May about how the Intelligent Campus concept could have been useful for the uncertain future.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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