Category Archives: weeknotes

The Intelligent Science Park – Weeknote #05 – 5th April 2019

I was in the Bristol office on Monday morning, firstly I was discussing the panel session I had agreed to attend at Jisc’s Networkshop event in Nottingham next week. The end result was I found myself seeking out some panellists for the session and to find myself chairing the whole thing.

The session is entitled, What will the university look like in 2030? What we hope to discuss and share our views on is about what the student experience will look like in 2030? What are the challenges students and staff will face in the future. Our panel of experts will discuss which  emerging technologies offer the most promise in helping with the challenges universities and colleges face. The session will highlight the horizon report and Jisc’s view of education 4.0.  This  session is aimed at helping managers understand the future student experience, and what it potentially could look like and the challenges that may arise. What emerging technologies will help to meet these challenges, and how do they integrate these into the current and future institutional strategies. As you might expect with a somewhat technical audience some of the panellists will focus and discuss the technical aspects. How do we ensure we have the infrastructure and bandwidth to meet these challenges? How do we ensure security of the growing network, which takes advantage of the cloud and the internet of things?

Following that I was in a meeting with my fellow sector strategy leads updating our progress and what challenges we were facing. This was the first of these meetings I had attended in my new role, so was both challenging and informative.

The afternoon saw myself and colleagues from my new directorate attend a tone of voice workshop. This was an interesting diversion and though there was a lot to take in, the key message for me was to collaborate more in my writing. I often pass draft blog posts to people for comment, but sometimes I am impatient and publish straight away. I know the value of a good proof reader and copy editor as well as collaborators.

On Tuesday I was off to the University of Birmingham for the UKSPA conference.

The mission of The United Kingdom Science Park Association (UKSPA) is to be the authoritative body on the planning, development and the creation of Science Parks and other innovation locations that are facilitating the development and management of innovative, high growth, knowledge-based organisations.

I had been invited, before I took on my new role,  to talk about the Intelligent Campus. I took my usual presentation on this and gave it a Science Park wrapper, so it was called The Intelligent Science Park.

The presentation as you can see is mainly, okay all, photographs. I use Pixabay and Unsplash a lot now to find images for presentations.

Lego Unicorn
Lego Unicorn – Image by Joakim Roubert from Pixabay

To a packed room I talked about the difference between the smart campus and the intelligent campus. I discussed the potential of an intelligent science park and the benefits this could provide organisations on those parks and for the people working there. I adapted our Intelligent Campus slide to convey what a hypothetical intelligent science park data infrastructure could look like.

I also went through the challenges that arise, the ethical considerations, the legal aspects (including GDPR), the importance of security, as well as the key challenges of technical and validity. There were lots of questions and interest in the topic.

Wednesday was an opportunity to catch up on missed e-mails and other communications.  I also finalised the plans and details for the panel session at Networkshop. I had a meeting to catch-up on the discovery work being undertaken in the area of curriculum analytics. Initially this had been tied up into the intelligent campus work, before been separated and worked on independently. It was good to see where it had got to and the potential for the future. This work was then presented later in the week to the Jisc Student Experience Experts Group.

The afternoon was catching up on the work being done by Jisc in the area of wellbeing and mental health. I think it’s important that when we say something like…

Working on how data and analytics and other technology related approaches can support mental health and well-being for staff, students and researchers.

That what we’re actually saying is something more like…

Working on how data and analytics and other technology related approaches can provide insight, intelligence and inform those staff and services that work in this space and support the mental health and well-being of staff, students and researchers.

This isn’t about just using data and analytics in the field of wellbeing, but using data to provide insights for people that work in this space, that may otherwise be missed, allow for earlier interventions, but also understand the impact of those interventions.

Thursday saw another meeting with a member of the Jisc ELT discussing the HE and student experience strategy. I am having a series of meetings with key members of the Executive to discuss the strategy.

On Thursday and Friday I had some administration to do, both for the new role, but also some legacy Intelligent Campus admin to sort and send out. Despite trying to maintain detailed notes on the Intelligent Campus Confluence site, you realise as you leave a project how much is buried inside the odd e-mail, in your head or was passed to other people in the team. We are recruiting a replacement for me to lead on the Intelligent Campus project, and I am sure that there will a lot of handover discussion as they bed into their new role.

My top tweet this week was this one.

What is required of us as educators for the future? – Weeknote #04 – 29th March 2019

After a busy week last week with three days in London, this week is nearly as busy with another three days in the big smoke. On monday I attended an ideas workshop in London. There were two identical sessions looking at two grand challenges. I enjoyed both sessions and felt that I both learnt stuff and contributed stuff.

The following day I was preparing for my presentation on Thursday and the slidedeck I prepared was just images. I like to do that now and again. Back in 2006, which for me feels like last week, but was some time ago, I remember a senior manager commenting on the amount of text I had on my slides I gave for a presentation. I realised that despite having initially a minimalist approach, I had started to have “text creep”and my slides were filling with text.  I usually try and keep the number of words on my slide to a minimum, but now and again I miss words out completely and go just for images. So from then on I tried to do as little text as possible.

This blog post from 2005 (and the follow up post from 2007) were very influential in my presentation style and slidedeck design.

One meeting I was in was about Jisc’s student partners. I have always thought that the student voice is important and should inform your planning and development. Having students participate is really informative and useful, but as we do, consider what the student gets out of the experience as well.

Another meeting was discussing a development session we are running for staff towards the end of April on implementing agile. This was originally something I said I would do in my previous role, but am happy to do

Wednesday I was back in London for a workshop on looking at how Jisc can influence the influencers. This was an interesting day and again it reminded me how much I enjoy working in the London office. This was followed by a management meeting. A later finish and an earlier start the next day meant I was staying over in London. Gave me a chance to walk around the area near the hotel (close to BBC Broadcasting House) and have a nice meal at Wahaca.

Chargrilled Crown Prince squash grown for us by Riverford Organic, served with kale & cashew nut mole

On Thursday Waking up earlier than planned gave me a chance to have an early morning walk around Regent’s Park, there are some lovely green spaces in London and if I have the chance (and the time) I do like to explore some of them now and then.

Regent's Park

I was presenting on Thursday the keynote I prepared earlier in the week for the Association of Colleges and The Education and Training Foundation Data Science Conference. My session entitled What is required of us as educators for the future was an insight into fourth industrial revolution, Education 4.0 and what FE Colleges might need to consider to meet these exciting challenges and opportunities.

I also showed the Jisc Education 4.0 video.

The rest of the day was stimulating and informative. The hands on workshop run by my Jisc colleagues sparked a lot of interest from delegates.

Friday was a chance to update my colleagues on Jisc the state of play of the sector strategies that we have in place and are developing. I lead on the HE and student experience sector strategy and this was an chance to discuss progress on the existing strategy and where we may be heading in the future. You won’t be surprised to hear that Education 4.0 is on that horizon. I spent part of the day clearing out my inbox of e-mails, making sure I was up to date and planning for the next couple of weeks as well.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Brave New World – Weeknote #03 – 22nd March 2019

In my previous role I spent a fair amount of time working from home, this week I was out every day, three days in London and two days in Bristol. This was unusual, but was mainly as I am stlll transitioning from one role to another. Two days were focused on the Intelligent Campus, three in my new role.

The week started in London. I was leading a Senior TEL working group that advises and informs the work of Jisc. I see talking and importantly listening to the sector an important aspect of my role. This meeting was a great opportunity to introduce myself to some key stakeholders, but also find out the challenges they currently face and what their priorities are.

On Tuesday I had an initial meeting about a future Education 4.0 and student experience internal workshop. I also did some planning for a keynote presentation I am doing next week.

Wednesday was another visit to London, the main reason for my visit was to be available for an overview meeting of the Intelligent Campus, which in the end I did not need to participate in. I find our new London office a really nice place to work, with a variety of spaces for different kinds of working. Though some of the chairs in some of the spaces are not conducive for long term working, which I guess is a good thing.

I made my way to the Bristol office on Thursday to have a meeting with Axians to discuss Jisc’s work in the Intelligent Campus space. A key part of the project is to work with vendors and others who work in this space, to see how we can collaborate.

Despite having a new role, there is still a phased transition from my previous role, in regard to my work on the intelligent campus. I published some new use cases in the intelligent campus space. 

Intelligent equipment sharing 

Is it lunchtime? 

As I said in a previous weeknote, these use cases which have been written in collaboration with Hapsis provide universities and colleges with an insight into the potential of the possibilities of the intelligent campus. In the same way you should reflect on the pedagogy before hitting the edtech, with the intelligent campus it’s useful to know what you want to do, before thinking about the technical possibilities.   

Here is East

The week ended in London, where I was participating in an Advance HE event, Brave New World: Is the HE Sector ready for the Fourth Industrial Revolution?

AdvanceHE Brave New World event

With my colleagues Martin Hamilton were part of the world café session of the event which allowed participants engage in debate around 4IR and understand some of the current good practice and thinking in this area. We were talking about Education 4.0 in the context of the fourth industrial revolution. Made me think about how we take this discussion further in the future.

So there’s me thinking hopefully next week will be less busy, no it isn’t.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Intelligent Talking – Weeknote #02 – 15th March

Monday I was working at home and spent some time preparing for my talk on the Intelligent Campus which I am delivering at Digifest.

I spent two days in Birmingham at the annual Jisc Digital Festival, Digifest. On the first day I delivered a one hour thought leadership session on the intelligent campus.

There were over a hundred people in the room and I enjoyed talking about the intelligent campus, defining what it means, how it could work, the potential for universities and colleges.

The second day of Digifest gave me a chance to participate in a range of sessions, though I really did enjoy the panel session on the listening to teachers report run by Lawrie Phipps and Donna Lanclos.

I had a fair few calls about future events and my role within those events.

Towards the end of the week I was ensuring that all the logistical details of the Senior TEL working group meeting were completed. In a new directorate meant that not everything was done in the same way as was done in my previous role. Some of the processes though were the same. I also took the time to doing some background reading for the meeting.

My top tweet this week was this one.

First week – Weeknote #01 – 8th March 

University of Hertfordshire

The week started first thing on Monday morning with a meeting at the Hatfield campus of the University of Hertfordshire.  This was the initiation meeting for a project that is looking at how universities use services provided by Jisc. I had gone up the night before as it was a 9am meeting and to be honest to get over to the other side of the country first thing Monday morning isn’t that practical.

Understanding the relationship between Jisc and its funders was the subject of various meetings I attended this week, meeting key people in Jisc who I will be working with in the new role. Despite having a new role, there is still a phased transition from my previous role, in regard to my work on the intelligent campus.

I published three new use cases in the intelligent campus space.

It’s too noisy! 

Congestion ahead 

Intelligent energy 

These use cases which have been written in collaboration with Hapsis provide universities and colleges with an insight into the potential of the possibilities of the intelligent campus. In the same way you should reflect on the pedagogy before hitting the edtech, with the intelligent campus it’s useful to know what you want to do, before thinking about the technical possibilities.

Spent some time discussing a World Café session myself and Martin Hamilton would run at an AdvanceHE event in a couple of weeks time about the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We decided our focus would be on Education 4.0, the Jisc response to the challenges of the  Fourth Industrial Revolution.

I also found myself being invited to keynote at the forthcoming AoC/ETF Data Sciences Conference at the end of the month.

My top tweet this week was this one.

…and so it begins – Weeknote #00 – 1st March

My new role started on a Friday, though the previous few days there had been quite a bit of handover, so on my first day I spent more time disengaging from my previous role than on the new role. It was both therapeutic to remove myself from various channels on Slack, but then slightly disappointing to find that there were only two left I was members of. I have found Slack to be an ideal communication tool, replacing much of the annoyances I find with e-mail. At the same time I was leaving Slack I found myself being added to various teams in Teams. Given a choice I much prefer the user experience of Slack over Teams and I still find Teams somewhat confusing. So one day into the new role and I hope to use weeknotes to reflect on my new role and the work I will doing in this space.

I will also be posting my top tweet over the last seven days….

This week it was this one.