Category Archives: digifest23

Back to Birmingham – Weeknote #210 – 10th March 2023

Monday I was spending time planning and working on the  Intelligent Campus community event for the 24th May 2023 and the Intelligent Library community event for the 21st June 2023. I also did some more planning for Senior Education and Student Experience Group Meetings on the 20th March and 21st April, including producing slides for the meeting I am planning some internal and external personalisation events.

The government got slammed on the Twitter for talking about innovation, through the use of a QR code and some weirdly animated AR text.

I published this in 2011 which was a little while ago, though for some I guess it only feels like yesterday… Ten ways to use QR Codes.

Sorry, this is not a blog post on ten ways to use QR Codes, but it is a blog post about what you actually can do with QR Codes. Once you know what you can do with QR Codes then you can build learning activities round those functions.

Still one of my favourite bizarre uses of a QR code.

Remember holding your phone whilst driving is illegal.

In the middle of the week, I was in Birmingham this week for Jisc’s Digifest conference.

I did a few sketch notes of some of the presentations.

I undertook a fireside chat with Dom Pates on the Intelligent Campus, early indications were forty plus people attended the session. It was also recorded. In case you were wondering where the slides are, well we didn’t use slides, we literally had a chat, with a video of a fireplace on my iPad.

It also coincided with the launch of the revised guide to the intelligent campus.

Many colleges and universities are working on ways to improve their students’ experience, business efficiencies and environmental performance by better utilising data. This data can be directly related to learning and part of the overall campus experience.

I was intrigued and enjoyed this article, Why ChatGPT should be considered a malevolent AI – and be destroyed on The Register.

“I’m sorry Dave, I’m afraid I can’t do that.”

In the article, Alexander Hanff, a computer scientist and leading privacy technologist who helped develop Europe’s GDPR and ePrivacy rules, talks about how ChatGPT killed him off and even tried to fabricate URLs to a fake obituary. A scary thought on how relying on AI could result in you trying to prove to people that you’re alive, though the AI says you’re dead!

Though there is an upside to ChatGPT, Essay mills ‘under threat from rise of ChatGPT’.

The emergence of chatbots and other writing tools powered by artificial intelligence may pose a far greater threat to the future of essay mills than legislation has proved to be, experts said. There are early signs that firms which specialise in selling assignments are already having to shift their business models in the face of more students using the likes of ChatGPT to generate answers of a similar or better quality to what they may have been tempted to buy previously.

At the end of the week I was doing some logistics for future travel and events.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Fireside chat: Building the future intelligent campus

Image by Ralph from Pixabay

Just to let you know that I am presenting at Jisc’s Digifest 23 on the intelligent campus.

Fireside chat: Building the future intelligent campus

Universities and colleges spend billions on their campuses, yet they are frequently underutilised and are often a frustrating experience for students. In this session, James will describe the campus of the future. How does a traditional campus become a smart campus? What are the steps to make a smart campus, an intelligent campus?

Image by 小亭 江 from Pixabay

The intelligent campus builds on the smart campus concept and aims to find effective ways to use data gathered from the physical estate and combine it with learning and student data from student records, library systems, the virtual learning environment (VLE) and other digital systems. We’ll look at what data can be gathered, how it can be measured and explore the potential for enhancing:

  • Student experience
  • Achieving net zero
  • Improving efficiency
  • Space utilisation

James Clay and Dom Pates will also ask you to consider the ethical issues when implementing an intelligent campus as well as the legal requirements.

Image by StartupStockPhotos from Pixabay


Time for a different story

Image by 小亭 江 from Pixabay

I am presenting at Jisc’s Digifest 23 on the intelligent campus. I am having a fireside chat with City, University of London’s very own Dom Pates.

Fireside chat: Building the future intelligent campus

Universities and colleges spend billions on their campuses, yet they are frequently underutilised and are often a frustrating experience for students. In this session, James will describe the campus of the future. How does a traditional campus become a smart campus? What are the steps to make a smart campus, an intelligent campus?

The intelligent campus builds on the smart campus concept and aims to find effective ways to use data gathered from the physical estate and combine it with learning and student data from student records, library systems, the virtual learning environment (VLE) and other digital systems. We’ll look at what data can be gathered, how it can be measured and explore the potential for enhancing:

  • Student experience
  • Achieving net zero
  • Improving efficiency
  • Space utilisation

James and Dom will also ask you to consider the ethical issues when implementing an intelligent campus as well as the legal requirements.

On that note it was interesting to see Dom on the Twitter, using ChatGPT to write a story about the Intelligent Campus.

Write a short story in the style of speculative fiction about a university student who spends a day on a smart or intelligent campus some time in the future. Ensure that the campus is designed to address issues around sustainability and data privacy, yet is responsive to the student in a personalised (but not creepy) way. Ensure that the student is studying a course for a future-focused job, and that the campus is actually a desirable and ethically-designed environment. Make the short story go through different stages of the day, and comes to approximately 1,500 words in total. Include an ethical quandary that the central character faces during the course of their day.

Dom then posted the first paragraph.

Dom went on to add further narrative.

Here is the full story (in text).

Marcel was both excited and apprehensive as he stepped onto the smart campus of his university. He was studying for a future-focused job in sustainable architecture, and he had heard many rumours about this intelligent campus that was designed to address the most pressing issues of the day. Marcel looked around and was impressed by what he saw: a vast, green space surrounded by glass buildings that glinted in the sun. He could see solar panels and wind turbines, all designed to reduce the campus’s carbon footprint. He walked towards his first lecture hall, and as he did, he heard a voice speaking to him.

What’s happening

“Good morning, Marcel. I hope you slept well. Your first lecture is in the building to your right, and it starts in fifteen minutes. Would you like me to guide you there?”

Marcel looked around, but he couldn’t see anyone talking to him. He realised that the voice was coming from the earpiece he was wearing.

“Yes, please guide me there,” Marcel replied.

“Of course, Marcel. Please follow the green line on the ground, and it will lead you to the lecture hall. You will be there in ten minutes.”
Marcel followed the green line, and he couldn’t help but marvel at the smart technology that was everywhere on this campus. The line led him through gardens and courtyards, and he saw many other students walking along similar lines, all following directions from their earpieces.

As Marcel arrived at the lecture hall, he noticed that there were no doors. Instead, the entrance was an open archway, and as he stepped through, he was welcomed by a soft voice.

“Welcome, Marcel. Please take a seat wherever you like.”

Marcel looked around and saw that there were no chairs. Instead, there were soft, cushioned pods that looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. Marcel chose one and sat down, and he was surprised by how comfortable it was. As he did, a screen appeared in front of him, showing him the schedule for the day.

His lecturer walked in, and he was impressed by how engaged the class was. The screens in front of each student allowed the lecturer to show interactive diagrams and videos, and Marcel could ask questions by speaking into his earpiece. The lecture was engaging and interactive, and before he knew it, it was over.

As Marcel stepped out of the lecture hall, he heard the same voice in his earpiece.

“Marcel, it’s time for your workshop on sustainable design. It’s in the building to your left. Please follow the blue line on the ground.”
Marcel followed the blue line, and he couldn’t help but feel a little uneasy. He had read about smart campuses that used data to track the movements of their students, and he wondered if he was being watched. As he approached the building, he saw a sign that read, “Data Privacy is Our Priority.” He relaxed a little and stepped inside.
The workshop was fascinating, and Marcel was able to experiment with virtual reality tools that allowed him to design sustainable buildings in a three-dimensional space. As he worked, the system recognised his movements and preferences, and it adapted to his design choices. Marcel felt empowered and inspired by the technology, and he couldn’t wait to use it in his future career.

As the day wore on, Marcel attended a variety of classes and workshops, each designed to challenge and inspire him. The smart campus was constantly adapting to his preferences and needs, and he felt like he was learning more in a day than he had in a week at his old university.

As he left the last class of the day, he felt a sense of accomplishment and satisfaction.

However, as he walked back towards his dormitory, he noticed that the green line he had been following all day was now leading him towards a part of the campus he had never been to before. Marcel hesitated for a moment, but his curiosity got the better of him, and he followed the line.

As he walked, he noticed that the campus was quiet, and there were no other students around. He heard the soft voice in his earpiece again.

“Marcel, we have one more thing to show you. Please continue following the green line.

Marcel’s heart started to beat faster, and he wondered what the voice was leading him towards. As he rounded a corner, he saw a small group of people standing in front of a glass building. They were all wearing lab coats, and they were looking at him expectantly.
“Welcome, Marcel,” said a man with grey hair and a friendly smile. “We have been watching you all day, and we have a proposition for you. We are working on a top-secret project that we think you would be perfect for. It involves designing a sustainable city that will be built on the site of an old factory. We think your skills and experience would make you an ideal candidate to lead this project. What do you say?”

Marcel was taken aback. He had never expected anything like this to happen, and he wondered how they had been watching him all day. He felt a moment of hesitation, wondering if this was an ethical quandary he was facing.

But then he looked around him and realised that this campus was not just designed for sustainability and data privacy, but it was also designed to empower students to create a better future. He looked back at the man in the lab coat and nodded.

“I’m in,” he said, and the man smiled.

“Excellent. We’ll start tomorrow.”

The next day, Marcel woke up early, eager to start his new project. He made his way to the glass building, where he was greeted by the man from the previous day.

“Good morning, Marcel,” the man said. “I’m glad to see you’re excited. We have a few more people joining us today, including the project manager.”

Marcel followed the man inside, and was surprised to see a group of people sitting around a table. They were all different ages, genders, and ethnicities, and they all looked like they were full of ideas.

“Marcel, this is the project manager, Rachel,” the man said, gesturing towards a tall woman with dark hair and sharp eyes. “And these are the other members of the team.

We have engineers, architects, and designers from all over the world. We believe that diversity is key to creating a sustainable future.”

Marcel nodded, feeling a sense of pride at being part of such a forward-thinking team.

As they got to work, he noticed that Rachel had a way of leading the team that was both authoritative and inclusive. She listened to everyone’s ideas and made sure that everyone had a chance to speak. Marcel admired her leadership style and felt inspired to be a part of such a team.

As the day went on, Marcel found that the work was challenging but rewarding. He was able to use all of the skills he had learned in his degree, and he felt like he was making a difference. The team worked together seamlessly, bouncing ideas off each other and collaborating in a way that felt natural.

As the day drew to a close, Marcel realised that he had found his calling. He had always known that he wanted to do something that would make a difference, but he had never known how to do it. Now, he felt like he was on the right path, and he was excited to see where it would lead.

As he walked out of the building, he felt a sense of pride in himself and in the campus that had brought him there. He realised that the smart and intelligent campus was not just a place to learn, but it was also a place to grow and to find oneself.

Marcel felt like he had found a community of like-minded people who shared his values, and he felt grateful for the opportunity to be a part of it. He walked out into the sunlight, feeling inspired and excited for the future.

Dom concluded with these thoughts.

Clearly some of this story feels a little cliched and from a literary point of view, there are undoubtedly many points from which it could be criticised. However, even though the bot wouldn’t be winning a Nobel Prize for Literature, I do think that it makes an interesting stab at a ‘first draft’ of an idea. If I wanted to write a short story about an #IntelligentCampus, I have some material to work with and try to improve.

What are your thoughts on this story created by ChatGPT?

How does it compare to the human written story I wrote back in 2017.

Is this appropriate? – Weeknote #205 – 3rd February 2023

Spent a lot of time this week reading, digesting, reviewing, and reflecting. Also attended a few meetings and spent time having conversations on Teams.

On Tuesday I went to our Bristol office. The train was delayed, so I started attending a meeting on my phone, which I find weird, but it worked.

Attended an internal meeting about Microsoft – Mixed Reality (MR) and Metaverse. There is some excitement around the Metaverse. As I said last week  industry perspectives on the metaverse and immersive platforms are varied. Meta, Google are all laying off technical staff in this space, Apple have delayed their AR/VR product again. Lots of confusion between immersive games and the Metaverse. Apart from some niche areas (such as education) what is the unique selling point of the metaverse? As Paul Bailey in a recent blog post said, the “effective” metaverse is probably decades away…

Had an interesting discussion about the Office for Students and its future. There is criticism that they have been receiving from members and member organisations (such as GuildHE and the Russell Group). Labour (who are likely to win the 2024 election) have been quiet on HE and the OfS. Also found and read this  Can Labour de-Commodify Higher Education? It has a Minor Problem.

The education system in Britain is in the mud. That is scarcely news. But would Labour have the courage and values needed to revive it? The trouble they would have if they win the next General Election is due partly to their Party’s legacy and partly to a personal problem.

Attended Monthly sector strategy leads meeting and discussion. We had an interesting discussion on scenario planning. Thinking about a workshop on this. Continue reading Is this appropriate? – Weeknote #205 – 3rd February 2023

One reason why Twitter will eventually wither and die – Weeknote #194 – 18th November 2022


Back in 2009 I wrote a blog post about the relatively new micro-blogging service called Twitter. Having seen the demise of many Web 2.0 services and social media platforms, I wrote a piece called Ten reasons why Twitter will eventually wither and die…

It is a fact known to all that use Web 2.0 tools and services that one day they will no longer be flavour of the month, or will be swamped by spam, cons and hustlers. We have just seen the death of Geocities and services such as Friendster and Friends Reunited are not once what they were.

The same will, one day happen to Twitter!

Though I didn’t have mad billionaire will take over Twitter and kill it…. in that list. So eleven reasons why…

Image by David Schwarzenberg from Pixabay

I wrote a blog post on moving to Mastodon. Going (back to) Mastodon reminds me of Twitter in 2009 when there was a similar level of new users starting to use that service. Back in 2008 I wrote this blog post about how I used the Twitter. I basically said Twitter was all about the coffee. You can say pretty much the same about Mastodon.

Over the week I continued to use Mastodon to see how others were using it, who was using it and what was being posted.

I was up in Scotland for the first half of this week. I had flown up from Bristol to the Learning Places Scotland conference in Glasgow, where I was delivering a presentation: How will the growth in online learning shape the future design of learning spaces and our campuses?

 The physicality of online learning is an issue that will impact on university campuses as we move to a blended and hybrid programmes containing elements of online and digital learning and physical in-person learning.  This session will explore the challenges that growth in blended learning will bring to learning spaces and the university campus. What is required for, in terms of space for online learning, but will also consider the implications of delivering online teaching as well. Examples will be given of what universities are doing today to meet these challenges. The session will reflect on a possible future maximising the use of our space as students have the flexibility to learn online, in-person and across a spectrum of blended and hybrid possibilities.

The highlight for me at the Learning Places Scotland exhibition and conference was a workshop with Dundee and Strathclyde universities about their (estates) work on Net Zero and how they are working to the Scottish Government net zero target of 2045. Though I always find it amusing how a one hour session advertised as a workshop at a conference is just someone talking at me for 55 minutes and then five minutes for questions. That is not a workshop. Just be honest.

Impressed with the excellent talks from the young people here at Learning Places Scotland 2022. Takes something to stand up in front of such a large group of delegates.

Exhibition and other sessions were very school focussed, which wasn’t too surprising. I didn’t see or meet many people from HE. Across the exhibition I noticed a lot of stands for wood and sustainable materials.   There was some useful content for a future Intelligent Campus community event.

I had considered taking the train, but with seven to eight hour train journey each way I decided to save time and fly (it was also cheaper). However, upon reflection, though at the other end it had taken just an hour from disembarking to arriving at my hotel, having collected baggage from the carousel, a bus to the heart of Glasgow, a walk to the railway station, a train to Exhibition Centre and then a walk to the hotel. The fact that for an 11:30 one hour flight I had left home three hours earlier, meant that the overall journey time was in excess of five hours for that one hour flight. I think the next time I head to Scotland I might take the train.

Due to a range of factors I actually flew back from Edinburgh. So I had caught the train from Glasgow to Edinburgh and then took the tram to the airport. Caught the train to Haymarket. I then caught the tram to the airport. I had been told before that the bus was faster than the tram. Well as the tram arrived at the tram stop, there was a bus to the airport stopping alongside. I made a mental note of the bus number plate. There was only standing room on the tram.

Having arrived at the airport, I noted that the bus was already there, and the driver had gone off for a cup of tea. So, I think next time I will travel from the airport to Edinburgh by bus. Though to be honest as I said before, I am thinking about taking the train to Scotland the next time I have to come up here.

I had a meeting to provide advice on some internal strategy development. We had an excellent discussion and I think I supported the team in the development of their strategic operational plan, ensuring it was aligned to the Jisc corporate strategy and the sector strategies, whilst ensuring it provided a focus on the needs of universities.

I have been reviewing Digifest submissions through the lens of the HE sector strategy. Looking like there will be some interesting sessions at the conference which takes place on the 7th and 8th March 2023.

I also spent some time reviewing outputs from Sector Agency Widening Participation and Data working groups workshop I had attended

My IFTTT Instagram connection stopped working and needed to be fixed, well how else will my Instagram photographs of coffee get from there to Twitter.

I am still having issues with my MacBook doing “something” having closed the lid and placed in my bag. It seems to be still running even the lid is closed.

My top tweet this week was this one.