Tag Archives: #nws47

Are you a unicorn? – Weeknote #06 – 11th April 2019

Bristol

Monday I was back in the office, I do like going to the office. You can interact with people online quite easily these days, and I have been doing that for years. However there is a different kind of interaction you get in the physical office environment. Our Bristol office was shrunk due to an impending merger and move, so it can get crowded and noisy, even so I do like being there. I also like the fact that as it is in the heart of Bristol, I can go for a walk at lunchtime around the city centre.

I published a new Intelligent Campus use case on the Intelligent Campus blog.

Use Case: Onboarding – Improving the new employee experience

I also reviewed the other use cases, however these needed more work on them before they go on the blog.

I had to prepare some slides for a colleague who is attending a funders meeting next week on progress we had made on our HE and student experience strategy.

As part of the research for the slides I took the time to re-read the Digital experience insights survey 2018: Findings from students in UK further and higher education report.

In it are some interesting findings, though of course, it’s not a representative survey of HE students, as students chose to fill in the survey.

74% of HE students rated the quality of digital teaching and learning on their course as above average (choosing to rate it as either good, excellent or best imaginable). This doesn’t mean that the digital teaching and learning was of a high quality, as the responses are very personal and subjective. My high quality experience, may not be the same as your high quality experience. Having said that, three quarter of HE students who filled in the survey felt the experience they were having was good or better.

Seven in ten HE students used digital tools on a weekly basis to look for additional resources not recommended by their lecturer.

The survey also found that HE learner use lots of personal devices for learning, for example 94% of HE students own a laptop. Over 80% use a smartphone to support their learning.
Universities may want to think about ensuring that they are providing reliable wi-fi not just across their campuses and buildings, but in all those places that students use for learning and research. In a similar vein, are your online services are mobile-friendly and work effectively on mobile platforms.

I spent Tuesday working from home, mainly as the weather was predicted to be wet and cold. As well as finishing the slides I was working on, on Tuesday, I spent some time preparing for the panel session I was doing in Nottingham on Wednesday.

I had a few technical issues with Outlook not sending e-mails in a timely manner. I can never work out why that Outlook will send some e-mails, but with others leaves them in the Outbox waiting for something. In the end I had one e-mail stuck in there for four hours before it was sent.

I wrote a blog post on the discussion on the ALT mailing list about what we call learning technologists. As you might expect the predominate response from a list of members of Association for Learning Technology who in the main are learning technologists was that these “learning technologists” should be called learning technologists.

Wednesday I travelled to Nottingham for Networkshop, where I chaired a panel session. The session was entitled, What will the university look like in 2030?

Networkshop Panel Discussion

The background to the session described what we wanted to discuss.

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?

I really quite enjoyed chairing the panel session, we had a great diverse panel with different backgrounds and experiences. We even had a student (which shouldn’t really be a big issue, but sometimes is at these conferences). We had a wide ranging discussion covering not just the student experience, but also opinions about the infrastructure needed to enable this. We had a good range of questions from the audience.

As it was scheduled the end of the day, it was a late finish. Nottingham isn’t in the middle of nowhere, but is a bit of a hike from Weston-super-Mare and back in a day.

Thursday was the final day of the week, a shorter week this week for me, as I am on leave on Friday. I was interviewed by Sophie Bailey and recorded for The EdTech Podcast in which I discussed my role, but also some of my thoughts on Education 4.0 and how we get there. I enjoyed the interview and reminded me of how much I enjoyed recording the elearning stuff podcast.

In between calls I looked at openetc which Lawrie had forwarded me the link, having attended a presentation about it at the OER conference which is taking place in Galway this week.

What Is OpenETC

I did consider going to OER19, but in the end decided not to. Not because it wasn’t going to be interesting and informative, but I am still relatively new in the role and the timeframe was quite short. Also it clashed with some home stuff.

Reading and reflecting on openetc, it reminds me of the PLE/VLE discussions we had ten years ago, when there would be these tools that students would use to create their own learning environment. My view back then was that the VLE would be at the hub of a learner’s online envruonment, and then they would plug in other tools. The use of LTI (Learning Tools Interoperability) which was initially developed back in 2008 with the final specification launched in 2010 made this much easier for people using tools such as Moodle, to then plug in other tools such as WordPress or Mahara.

The incarnation of openetc as a community also reminds me of the “offer” from ULCC of managed services that integrated Moodle and Mahara, the real advantage for FE was that it was a) managed so they didn’t need the skills and knowledge to maintain the service b) secure – they managed the security and patching. It is something that people may want to look at.

I had another meeting later about the future strategy, which was interesting and informative. One key thing we discussed was the importance of a robust data estate to fully exploit the advantages of analytics, across all aspects of the university.

Slightly annoyed that the meeting following that got cancelled at relative short notice. Something I need to reflect on, as it appears to be happening a lot with my diary.

I spent the rest of the day clearing through my inbox, nothing like Inbox Zero to end the week on. I also spent time planning for next week.

My top tweet this week was this one.

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.