Tag Archives: intelligent campus

Record temperatures – Weeknote #177 – 22nd July 2022

This week saw record temperatures as a red warning heatwave hit the UK. I spent the week working from home, as trains were cancelled or delayed and there were problems on the roads.

I wrote a blog post on how I can teach anywhere

I use to say things like “I can teach anywhere”. What I meant by this, wasn’t that the environment or space I was using wasn’t important, but I could overcome the disadvantages of the different spaces I had to play with, and still deliver an effective session.

So though I might be able to teach anywhere the reality is that all those challenges and issues I face in an inappropriate space, may well result in poor quality learning, despite the quality of my teaching.

Big news this week was that the QAA was to step away from designated role in England. Over on Wonkhe, David Kernohan  tries to make sense of it all.

The Quality Assurance Agency (QAA) will no longer consent to be the Designated Quality Body (DQB) in England, as of the end of the current year in office (March 2023). The reasoning is straightforward – the work that QAA does in England, on behalf of the OfS, is no longer compliant with recognised quality standards – namely the European Standards and Guidelines (ESG) as monitored by the European Quality Assurance Register for Higher Education (EQAR). For this reason, the QAA registration with EQAR was recently suspended – a decision that highlights international concerns about procedures in England but has an impact in the many other nations (including Scotland and Wales) where QAA needs that EQAR registration in order to fulfil a statutory quality assurance role.

Once more we are seeing more divergence across the UK for higher education.

Alexa
Image by finnhart from Pixabay

I revisited and revised a blog post on voice assistants I had written back in 2018.

Hey Siri, what’s my day like today? Alexa when’s my next lesson? Okay Google, where are my library books?

Voice assistants have become widespread and are proving useful for a range of uses. The cost has fallen over the years and the services have expanded.

The use of voice assistants and smart hubs has certainly continued, and they have become embedded into many digital ecosystems. Their use in education though is still limited and I will be looking at that in a later blog post.

Attended a session on impact this week, which was interesting, but not necessarily that useful. How do you evidence impact of what you do? I wonder for example of the 1,828 blog posts published on this blog have had any impact on the way in which people work, support others or plan their work. For example one of the most popular blog posts on the blog, which though written in 2011, is still regularly viewed, is this one 100 ways to use a VLE – #89 Embedding a Comic Strip, which was one of a series of blog posts on improving or enhancing the use of the VLE.

One use of graphic that can enhance the look of a VLE course or as a mechanism to engage learners is to embed a comic strip into the VLE course.

What has been the impact of this? Has is changed practice? Has it improved the student experience? Has it improved student outcomes? How would I know?

I don’t think I can evidence the impact of this, but other work I have done I can sometimes see the evidence, however I don’t know if their has been actual impact.

I quite liked these tweets from August 2021 from people who had attended the digital leadership consultancy I had delivered for Leeds.

I had as part of the programme delivered a session on e-mail. It incorporates much of what is in this blog post on Inbox Zero and this follow up post. Always nice to see the impact that your training has had on the way that people work, they didn’t just attend the training, engage with the training, but are now acting on what they saw and learnt.

However what I don’t know is, has the change had a positive impact? And what was that impact?

I spent some of the week reviewing our new guide to the Intelligent Campus, and the revamped guide to the Intelligent Library. The library guide was never published but has been updated for 2022. I also reviewed our updated use cases, as well as drafting plans for some additional use cases. I am aiming for publication of these in the autumn.

letters
Image by Gerhard G. from Pixabay

If you are going on leave over the summer, you may want to look at this blog post on managing your summer e-mail.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Return to the Moodle – Weeknote #176 – 15th July 2022

I started off the week with a cross-sector agency meeting on widening participation.

I spent most of the week travelling. I was visiting various places and universities as part of a scoping piece of work I am doing in the Intelligent Campus space. It was also an opportunity to look at the physical campuses of various universities following two years of conversations over Zoom.

Dave Foord on a mailing list posted a link to a blog post he had written last month on three organisations he was supporting to return to Moodle having switched to a different VLE and then finding that  the “problems” that the new VLE was supposed to solve, hadn’t actually been solved. It reminded me of many similar conversations I have had in the past about changing VLEs. Often lack of engagement with a VLE is placed at the door of the VLE, so the conclusion is that switching the VLE is the answer. It usually isn’t.

Jim Dickinson (of WonkHE) created and crowdsourced a really interested and useful Twitter thread.

My contribution was about students being able to use their “local” campus rather than their “actual” campus.

I spent some of the week reviewing our new guide to the Intelligent Campus, and the revamped guide to the Intelligent Library. The library guide was never published but has been updated for 2022. I am aiming for publication of these in the autumn.

My top tweet this week was this one.

I am not going to resign – Weeknote #175 – 8th July 2022

This week I was working from home. Politically it was a chaotic week, as from Tuesday evening, there were multiple resignations across the government, which culminated with Boris Johnson standing down as leader on Thursday morning. We had three Education Secretaries of State in three days, and at one point there were no ministers in the Department for Education.

I took some leave this week, and spent much of the rest of the week planning for next week, next month and the next year.

I published a more detailed blog post about the Learning at City conference I attended last week.

Overall I had a really good day and enjoyed all the sessions I attended.

I have been reviewing the drafts of the revised Intelligent Campus guide, which was originally published in 2017. This revised version is updated and sets the scene, potentially, for future guides and reports in this space. The first of these will be likely a guide to the Intelligent Library. We have also been revising the many use cases we published for the Intelligent Campus.

Going forward there are lots of opportunities, and this will be led by sector need after scoping and researching the space. I am planning a series of community events and workshops across this space for next year.

One area I think has potential is the intelligent learning space. I did write about this two years ago, in a blog post.

An intelligent learning space could take data from a range of sources, not just the physical aspects of the space and how it is being used, but also the data from digital systems such as attendance records, the virtual learning environment, the library, student records, electronic point-of-sale and online services. This joined-up approach can provide insights into the student experience that we would otherwise miss. These insights can inform and support decision-making by individuals across the campus, including students, academic and professional service staff. By using live and dynamic data, decisions can be made that are based on the current state of the different learning spaces across the campus.

Is this something we need? Would it be useful, or would it only result in marginal benefits to the overall student experience?

Had a scoping call about a possible presentation to HEAnet in Dublin in September, which will be good.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Blast from the past – Weeknote #174 – 1st July 2022

This week I attended the Learning at City Conference, an in-person event in London. It was like a blast from the past, as I travelled up on the day on the train and went across London. Easier though than on previous visits to City, as the Elizabeth Line is much smoother and faster than the Tube trains I would usually take. One of my reasons for attending was to find out more about their approach to hybrid teaching, which I had read about online.

It was a good conference and I enjoyed it, I am writing a more detailed blog post about the day. I did managed though to do one sketchnote on the opening keynote on assessment.

I am currently working on reviewing, revising and developing a range of reports related to the intelligent campus. This includes an updated version of the Intelligent Campus Guide, which we originally published back in 2017. A lot has happened in this space since then. We also took the opportunity to update the many use cases which were on the blog. Still thinking about the best format for these going forward. One thing we did draft back in 2017 was an Intelligent Library Guide. In the end it didn’t get published, but this time we have updated and revised the guide ready for publication later in the year.

I am also working on an Intelligent Campus Learning Spaces Scoping Study. Looking at how learning spaces are being used, and what are the issues are in the context of the intelligent campus.

I attended an HE & Research Leadership Team Coaching session. We looked at our internal processes, systems and structures, and reflected on how we would work going forward.

I published a blog post, Predicting an uncertain future about thinking about the future. Predicting is hard, and we can get it wrong. Actually, most of the time we do get it wrong.

Today we can also talk about possibilities and what it could mean for the student experience in the future. The purpose of this is not to predict what the university of the future will be but provide an envelope of possibilities that would allow us to plan for that potential future and build in appropriate resilience and responsiveness.

I attended Wonkhe’s Education Espresso – Telling the story of changing pedagogy event online. It was a stark contrast, from an experiential perspective to the in-person City event I had attended earlier in the week.

My top tweet this week was this one.

You can only have your files if you buy a coke! – Weeknote #170 – 3rd June 2022

A short week this week due to the bank holidays. Most people were on leave this week, so it was quiet as well.

At the weekend we went to see the Emergency Services Day that was taking place on the Beach Lawns in Weston-super-Mare. I did confirm with one of the crew there, that the Weston Fire & Rescue Service are the only service in the country with a hovercraft. Merseyside use to have one, but no longer. I often use this story when introducing myself in presentations and mentioning that Weston-super-Mare has the second longest tidal range in the world, as a result there is a lot of mud at low tide and people get stuck. They have to be rescued by hovercraft. The Weston hovercraft is 14 years old and is due to be replaced.

I did have a meeting about the security challenges of the intelligent campus. I was reminded of a story I wrote about in 2017, Hijacked vending machines cause chaos.

A university had been receiving an increasing number of complaints from students across campus about slow or inaccessible network connectivity. It turned out that hijacked vending machines (and 5,000) other Internet of Things (IoT) devices attacked the university network and slowed it right down.

I still have this image of a member of staff trying to access their files and finding a hijacked vending machine responding, you can only have your files if you buy a coke!

vending machine
Image by jplenio from Pixabay

I did some planning for meetings happening next week.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Everyone loves group work – Weeknote #162 – 8th April 2022

After a week in Manchester I spent this week working from home. I took the time to work on the implementation of our HE Sector Strategy and more on our internal communication plan to continue to raise awareness of the strategy.

I wrote up my reflections on the UCISA Conference.

Overall, I enjoyed the conference and found that it exceeded by expectations. Despite being labelled a leadership conference, I was expecting to see and hear much more about the operational side of higher education IT but was pleasantly surprised by how many sessions were on leadership and transformation. I will be planning to attend the UCISA Leadership Conference next year.

I also wrote up about sketching at UCISA 22 with some thoughts about sketches from earlier conferences. My sketch notes are really for me, rather than other people. The process of sketching allows me to digest for myself what is been talked about and demonstrated. The sketch note provides me with a mechanism that provides a process for my interpretation of what is being said and what I understand from the talk.

The process of sketching engages me in the talk in ways in which note taking does for others or conversing on the Twitter. They are not done for other people, if other people find them useful then that’s just a bonus. So if you want some sketch notes for your conference, why not get in touch.

Group working
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

I enjoyed Martin Weller’s blog post on group work.

First up, every student’s favourite way of working – group work!

He is working on a series of blog posts about online learning.

Like many of you I’ve been getting rather exasperated by the “online = bad, face to face = good” narrative that seems to have arisen post-pandemic. So I thought I’d try a series on some of the ways in which online learning can be done effectively. I mean, I know it won’t make any difference, but shouting into the void can be therapeutic. They’ll be a mix of research and my own experience.

I worked on some reports and guides we will be publishing later in the year on the Intelligent Campus and the Intelligent Library. We originally published the guide in 2017. This was at the time well received by the sector and continues to be the core guidance in this space. Since then, universities across the UK have been exploring how they can make their campuses smarter and intelligent. Since the guide was published, there have been many changes to the landscape, as well as the covid-19 pandemic, there have been advances in smart campus technologies, and a new range of use cases.  We know from sector intelligence, member voice and Learning and Teaching Reimagined that the future of the campus is an important component when it comes to digital transformation. This has shown the need for Jisc to update their advice and guidance in this area.

Continuing our research into the Intelligent Campus is outlined in Jisc’s HE strategy.

We will continue our research into the intelligent campus, learning spaces and digital platforms, and how these improve a seamless student experience. This includes how digital and physical estates work together so that they are responsive to student journeys and interactions as well as to help universities achieve their net zero targets.

I was interested though (from an FE perspective) to read about Gloucestershire College’s move to ensure that their campuses function on fully renewable energy. They are digging bore holes for a heat exchanger. For a site that is in the heart of the city centre I did think that this was an intriguing solution to moving to net zero.

I wrote a blog post on the duality of digital teaching.

When we talk about online and in-person many of us think of this as a dichotomy, either we are online, or we are in-person. The reality is though as we know, that this can be more of a spectrum, a range of possibilities, with varying depths to which online or digital can be embedded into an in-person experience.

I did think that this Twitter thread on academic presentations was interesting and useful to read on six useful things.

  1. Practice speaking in your natural voice
  2. Break up your talk
  3. Don’t cram in material
  4. Research the setting
  5. End early
  6. Prepare two conclusion statements.

I did like the sixth thing was interesting and useful.

Academic talks often end with a Q&A. But this can mean that the last thing you audience hears is a subpar question or an awkward “No more questions?” You can ensure that things end on a high note if you prep a post-Q&A conclusion.

This is something I am going to start doing in my talks and presentations.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Getting it wrong – Weeknote #160 – 25th March 2022

I spent the week working from home, there was a combination of factors which influenced this decision, from home-schooling, builders, and plumbers. Next week I am in Manchester for the UCISA Leadership conference.

I spent some of the week working on a new sector group that can provide feedback to Jisc. This group will advise on Jisc’s strategic direction in the support of learning, teaching and assessment, and the student experience in higher education, and help to inform and shape the implementation of the HE sector strategy:

  • Advising on the current state of play and future direction of learning, teaching and assessment in the HE sector
  • Reflecting the views and user needs of senior managers in learning, teaching and student experience, as Jisc members and stakeholders
  • Helping to define the kinds of (digital) products, services, support, and sector engagement/advocacy which will be most beneficial to universities.

The Office for Students (OfS) launched their new strategy targeting quality and standards.

The OfS’s work on quality and standards aims to ensure that students receive a high quality academic experience which improves their knowledge and skills. Much provision in the English higher education sector is excellent – the focus of the OfS will be on challenging provision that falls short, and taking action as needed. On access and participation work, the OfS will encourage higher education providers to work in partnership with schools to raise attainment. These two areas of focus are mutually reinforcing, with effective regulation of quality helping to ensure that students from all backgrounds have the support they need to succeed in and beyond higher education.

From my perspective in supporting the OfS strategy is how digital and technology can support improving the quality of the student experience and widen participation in higher education.

OfS has also commissioned a report on the quality and impact of blended learning. I found this Wonkhe articleinteresting on how David Kernohan still hasn’t got over the last one

A notably independent review chair has been asked to produce a report drawing on evidence from the sector and from the wider literature. Because we need to know what “good” looks like in this mode of provision, so the regulator can ensure students are getting value for their fees.

David reminds us that a year ago the OfS published Gravity Assist.

Gravity Assist

Michael Barber could cite literature suggesting that blended learning may lead to better learning outcomes than in person alone, but as far as the national conversation is concerned this is now a deliberate ploy by universities to educate students on the cheap.

David continues…

Enter Susan Orr. Shortly to take up a Pro Vice Chancellor role at De Montfort University, and a creative arts educator and researcher of some repute, she – alongside an expert panel with membership yet to be determined – will report in the summer on: concerns that the poor quality of the online experience for some students during the pandemic has undermined the positive potential of mixing in-person and online course delivery

David’s conclusion is that Michael Barber must have got it wrong.

Campus
Image by Edgar Winkler from Pixabay

I had a meeting about updating the Jisc guide to the intelligent campus. We originally published the guide in 2017. This was at the time well received by the sector and continues to be the core guidance in this space. Since then, universities across the UK have been exploring how they can make their campuses smarter and intelligent.

Dr Kris Bloomfield (at the time CIO Durham) said of the guide This is an outstanding piece of work and massive kudos is due to those that contributed to the development and publication of this document.

As well as the guide there were numerous use cases that showed how the higher education sector could benefit from the intelligent campus concept.

Though I changed roles in March 2019, I have been talking about the intelligent campus space at various events. In July 2021 I spoke at the QAA conference with a presentation entitled: How will the growth in online learning shape the future design of learning spaces and our campuses? Last month I spoke at The Future of the Higher Education Estateonline event.

Obviously the covid pandemic had a huge impact on the university campus and how it was and will be used in the future. In last few years I have written some more posts about that aspect.

Intelligent Campus and coronavirus planning was a blog post on how the concept of the Intelligent Campus could help universities in their planning. I was reflecting how if the concept of the intelligent campus was further advanced than it is, how potentially more helpful it could be to support universities planning for a socially distanced campus.

The Intelligent Learning Space was a post based on my experiences on the Intelligent Campus project. As we design learning spaces, we can add sensors and mechanisms to collect data on the use of those learning spaces. It then how we analyse and use that data that allows those spaces to be initially smart and then intelligent.

campus
Image by 小亭 江 from Pixabay

Since the guide was published, there have been many changes to the landscape, as well as the covid-19 pandemic, there have been advances in smart campus technologies, and a new range of use cases.  We know from sector intelligence, member voice and Learning and Teaching Reimagined that the future of the campus is an important component when it comes to digital transformation. This has shown the need for Jisc to update their advice and guidance in this area.

This work would:

  • update the guide to reflect current thinking
  • add additional case studies from current practice
group
Photo by Annie Spratt on Unsplash

I expanded on my previous post on personalisation by looking at Jisc’s sector strategy perspective of personalisationand what Jisc may do in this space. So why is this space important to the sector? When we developed the HE strategy, we listened to what the sector was saying, what it was telling us, what we saw, and we also looked at the wider sector context, the regulatory space, the political space and importantly the student voice in all this.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Video of shaping our future campuses

Back in May I was presenting at the QAA Conference, my presentation was entitled: 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 more institutions move to a blended programmes containing elements of online and digital learning and physical in-person learning. In this session James Clay from Jisc will explore the challenges that growth in online learning will bring to learning spaces and the university campus. He will explore what is required for, in terms of space for online learning, but will also consider the space and design implications of delivering online teaching as well. He will discuss what some universities are doing today to meet these challenges and requirements. He will reflect on a possible future where we are able to maximise the use of our space as students have the flexibility to learn online, in-person and across a spectrum of blended possibilities.

The video of my presentation is now available.

Back at Portwall Lane – Weeknote #116 – 21st May 2021

Monday was a mix of meetings, some about our current consultancy work, some about future consultancy work and one was a formal presentation for one of our current projects. Had to keep my head straight so I could ensure that I was talking about the right stuff in the right meeting.

Cardiff University have confirmed online lectures will continue in September 2021.

Cardiff University has announced that online learning will continue in September. Despite government rules relaxing, the university has said it will be prioritising the safety of staff and students. However, in-person seminars, workshops, tutorials, and lab work are expected to go ahead.

This is a similar model to what many other universities are going to do for September 2021.

At the end of Monday I was in a meeting with the Office for Students in preparation for a meeting later in the week.

Bristol by James Clay

On Tuesday I went to the office. This was the first time I had been to the office since October. I had been a few times during August last year, but following the second lockdown in November our offices have been closed and only reopened on the 17th May.

As might be expected it was somewhat quiet, I think there were only ten staff in all together. It was nice to see people (for real). The main problem I had was the desk I booked meant I had a window behind me, so on my calls I was a dark shadow. Which was confusing for people who usually find me sitting at my desk with a virtual background.

I did enjoy going into the office and also enjoyed my walk at lunchtime, it was interesting though to see how much had changed.  Even though I have been to Bristol a few times, I generally was going shopping, my lunchtime walk took in the parts of Bristol that I wouldn’t normally visit during a general shopping trip.

The view from Castle Bridge by James Clay

What I hadn’t missed was the commute. Combined with the rain as well, it was a hassle and annoying to drive to and from work.

Enjoyed watch Lawrie move through 21 locks on his boat as he had a well deserved holiday.

Had a scoping call about the Intelligent Campus and potential consultancy we could do in this space. We have been thinking about how we could work with universities on vision pieces and use cases.

I also had a useful discussion with another university later on Tuesday about blended and digital learning.

rusty car
Image by Taken from Pixabay

Wednesday I didn’t go to the office, as my car had its MOT (which it passed). Hardly using my car compared to pre-covid times, mainly as I am not travelling to events, universities or other Jisc offices.

In an interesting move, University of Cambridge has expanded into online learning and begins to launch its portfolio of short online courses, with 50 to come priced at around £2000 each.

The University of Cambridge has launched a series of online short courses for professionals in a major expansion of its distance learning activities.

Thursday I had to wait in for a collection, so no trip to Bristol either.

I had a meeting to plan a shareshop I am helping to run next week called Supporting Students to Transition to HE in September.

Over the last twelve months universities across the country have switched to emergency remote delivery as lockdowns caused students to stay at home (or in halls). Though we know university staff have made huge efforts to provide high quality remote teaching and learning, when we talk to students we have found that many feel isolated, separated from their cohort, missing the in-person social interaction which is so important to the student experience and for peer support and learning.

I did consider going to the office on Friday, but with all the wind and rain decided not to.

I finished my presentation for EUNIS 21 where I am giving a short presentation on learning and teaching reimagined.Registration is free and open to all.

Though I am not really one for being a slave to statistics, likes, etc…. I am wondering what I have said and done to lose so many Twitter followers over the last few weeks.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Shaping our future campuses

I was presenting at the QAA Conference, my presentation was entitled: 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 more institutions move to a blended programmes containing elements of online and digital learning and physical in-person learning. In this session James Clay from Jisc will explore the challenges that growth in online learning will bring to learning spaces and the university campus. He will explore what is required for, in terms of space for online learning, but will also consider the space and design implications of delivering online teaching as well. He will discuss what some universities are doing today to meet these challenges and requirements. He will reflect on a possible future where we are able to maximise the use of our space as students have the flexibility to learn online, in-person and across a spectrum of blended possibilities.

Update 2nd July 2021

The video of my presentation is now available.