Powering up – Weeknote #108 – 26th March 2021

I realised that I have been walking and exercising less during the last few weeks, now the children are back in school, so this week I made a determined effort to increase the amount of walking I do.

Like last week, I have spent a lot of the week interviewing staff and students as part of a project we’re doing at Jisc. We have been talking to them about their thoughts and perspectives on digital learning. As with a lot of these kinds of interviews there are some interesting individual insights, however the real insight comes from analysing all the interviews and seeing what trends are in there. I also spent time planning a similar, but different project.

I attended a roundtable on a digital vision for Scotland and facilitated a breakout room reflecting on the vision.

If you have watched a 60 minute TV programme, you will realise few if any have a talking head for 60 minutes. Few of us have the time or the skills to create a 60 minute documentary style programme to replace the lecture, and where would you go to film it? So if you change the monologue to a conversation then you can create something which is more engaging for the viewer (the student) and hopefully a better learning experience.

In a meeting this week with staff from a university I was discussing this issue and their response was, what about comedy stand-up? That’s a monologue. That got me thinking and reflecting, so I wrote a blog post about needing a tray.

Lego Star Wars
Image by 501stCommanderMax from Pixabay

Wednesday was a busy day, as well as a project meeting I was part of a panel session looking at Challenges for quality assurance in the wake of the pandemic – ensuring quality in digital learning, academic integrity in remote assessment, and emerging best practice. I gave a five minute presentation from my personal perspective.

Following that panel session I had my Senior TEL Group meeting. We discussed many things, but some of the key things that I got from the meeting was about how challenging assessment still is for many universities. Is dual mode delivery (sometimes called hybrid or even blended) a viable option for universities? This is when a lecturer delivers a lecture both in-person but the lecture is also live-streamed at the same time. There is also an understanding that the lecturer will engage with both the online students and the those attending the lecture in-person. It works for some individuals, but how can you ensure it works for all and is it the best option for flexibility going forward?

Photo by Chris Montgomery on Unsplash

I learnt today that I can’t host two Zoom calls at the same time… I was using Zoom for my Senior TEL Group meeting, but had also set up a Zoom session for a focus group, alas I couldn’t host two Zoom calls, we did manage to sort it out in the end, but there was no warning when I set up these clashing events that this was going to be an issue.

Wednesday was also the day that we published our new HE Teaching and Learning document, which could be called a strategy.

Powering UK higher education is a three-year plan that supports universities towards a technology-empowered future. Developed following months of discussion with sector leaders, the new higher education (HE) strategy will help steer and support universities across the four nations of the UK.  

We share our future priorities using four strategic themes, developed from your needs and priorities:

  • Empowering culture and leadership
  • Reimagining learning, teaching and assessment
  • Reframing the student experience
  • Transforming infrastructure

These themes also make it clear how our current advice and guidance, training, thought leadership, innovation projects and products and services support the sector.

Download the strategy.

The BBC reports on how the Nationwide Building Society is changing the nature of their work.

The Nationwide is to allow 13,000 office staff to choose where they work under a new flexibility scheme. The UK’s biggest building society said its “work anywhere” plan would allow employees more control of their lives. Under the plan, Nationwide is closing three offices in Swindon, with 3,000 staff either moving to the nearby HQ, working from home, or mixing the two.Friday was the 14th anniversary of me joining twitter.

In my own organisation, Jisc, we are reflecting on the nature of our own offices. During the pandemic we converted a space into an office for me, going forward that isn’t sustainable, so I will be looking to work in more locations going forward.

Friday was the 14th anniversary of me joining the Twitter.

I did think back then that Twitter probably wouldn’t last long. 140 characters was fun, but it was not really a game changer.

Well I was wrong on that one….

Image by Florian Pircher from Pixabay

Next week I am presenting at two events and it isn’t too late to sign up.


One thing I am taking away about this week is the way in which individuals and teams engage with strategy.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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