Tag Archives: strategy

Disengagement – Weeknote #171 – 10th June 2022

Spent the best part of the week in London and actually had in-person meetings. Also gave me a chance to try out the new Elizabeth Line which was fast and smooth.

On Monday we had some teach coaching which was, well let’s just say it was interesting.

Tuesday we had the first of our new PVC Education and Student Experience Group meetings. This is an evolution of the Senior TEL Group I use to run, but now with a more strategic focus. I am hoping that we grow and evolve the group over time, but the participants did provide us with useful and valuable insights into the challenges and issues that universities face. There was also an implicit validation of the Jisc HE sector strategy.

The next day I had a meeting with the University of Leeds about their plans for some future collaboration.

Wednesday also saw me running a drop in session on our sector strategy. These sessions are about supporting staff at Jisc to see how their work supports the delivery of the strategy.

Thursday I focused on planning for next year. Looking at various parts of the HE sector strategy that may need further support and development.

Michelle Donelan announced that the government was appointing a student mental health support champion (or wellbeing tsar) in response to findings that mental health is the main reason given by students who are considering leaving university. Universities would be expected to use supermarket customer-tracking software to identify struggling students.

From Wonkhe

Universities are to be told to electronically track students to get early warning on mental health and reduce drop-out, as the government appoints a new student mental health leadership role. The Times this morning reports that a speech from Further and Higher Education minister Michelle Donelan is expected to respond to findings that mental health is the main reason given by students who are considering leaving university by appointing Nottingham Trent vice chancellor Edward Peck as a student new mental health support champion, who will provide leadership on ensuring students remain supported and engaged with their course.

 Donelan is expected to say that a student becoming disengaged with their course is not just a problem in its own right, “student disengagement is a critical warning sign for mental health issues which, as we know, when left unchecked can have devastating consequences. These critical warning signs present an opportunity for prevention, hitting the problem at the source and helping to defend students from mental health issues before they strike. Ensuring that we are focused on combating student disengagement will result in better attainment and better outcomes, too.”

Friday was about preparing papers for a meeting coming up, so that the participants can have the papers in advance.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Why don’t you – Weeknote #169 – 27th May 2022

I was in Manchester this week, running various meetings and sessions relating to the Jisc HE sector strategy.

Had an excellent planning meeting with our Student Services team.

sweets
Image by El Sun from Pixabay

I published a blog post reminiscing about the short and sweet sessions I had developed and delivered at Gloucestershire College when I worked there.

The use of digital technologies for learning and teaching, doesn’t just happen. Staff don’t always instinctively pick up the skills and capabilities to utilise the range of digital tools and services available to them. In a similar manner the application of pedagogy to mobile, remote and online delivery is not as simple as translating in-person pedagogical practices.

Do we have a shared understanding of what we mean by digital transformation? It was on this point that I wrote a reflective piece on the digital transformation of music.

When it comes to digital transformation in education, I wonder if we can look at what happened to the music retail industry and the impact of digital over the last few decades.

cassette tape
Image by snd63 from Pixabay

I looked at how the retail music industry had moved from vinyl to CD, to mp3 and onto streaming services. So, what does this mean for education? Well don’t make the mistake of equating music tracks with something like a lecture. Digital transformation of education is not about the Napsterfication of lectures or creating an education version of Spotify. What we can learn from digital music is reflecting on the differences between the digitisation of education, the digitalisation of education and then the digital transformation of education.

I participated in the LTHEChat and Advance HE tweetchat about wellbeing in higher education.

The next day I wrote a very similar piece to my music post (I think a better one though) on the digital transformation of the television watching experience.

So to remind us, when we look at digital transformation, it becomes obvious that focusing on the hardware or technology is actually quite limiting. So when looking at the digital transformation of education, we really want to focus on the transformation of education and how digital can enable and enhance that transformation.

television
Image by Panyapat Rattanaprom from Pixabay

On Friday I attended Wonkhe and Adobe’s Education Espresso event on Pedagogy and playfulness.

My top tweet this week was this one.

The VLE is not dead – Weeknote #167 – 13th May 2022

Image by drippycat from Pixabay

Monday morning, I was off to Queen Mary University of London for their VLE Expo. This was very much a QMUL focussed event, though they had invited a range of VLE vendors. I liked how the focus of the event was about, what do we want to do to achieve our strategic aspirations, how will the VLE help us to do that, and which platform (or platforms) will enable us to do that.

There were some excellent presentations from the academic staff on the different ways in which they were using technology including virtual reality, mixed reality and H5P. I sat on the final panel session answering questions from the floor on a range of issues. A lot of the questions were more about the use of technology for learning and teaching, than VLE specific topics. However, I did get into a few discussions about the VLE on the Twitter as a result of attending the event.

I posted another blog post in my Lost in Translation series this time with a focus on the technical aspects of recording videos or audio files.

Most institutions will (probably) have equipment which staff can use, but if there is a strategic approach to building a sustainable approach to the use of video and audio, then universities will need to reflect if they have sufficient resources to support the increased demand for cameras and microphones.

video recording
Image by StockSnap from Pixabay

Tuesday I was still in London for a briefing session, well as it happened it got cancelled, so I worked in the office.

Apple have announced that they are going to stop selling the iPod once the current stocks of iPod touch run out. So did you have an iPod and if so which one?

iPod
Photo by Cartoons Plural on Unsplash

Wednesday, I did two all-staff briefings for two directorates on the Jisc HE sector strategy. From the feedback I got they seemed to be well received.

I was reminded on the Twitter about when I took my bike to work. I made a video back then.

Mike Sharples posted an excellent Twitter thread on how AI can be used to write essays. I agree with Mike, if we are setting students assignments that can be answered by AI, are we really helping students learn?

I enjoyed the #LTHEchat on images in presentations in the evening.

These two blog posts from 2005 (and 2007) were very influential on my presentation style: Gates, Jobs, & the Zen aesthetic and Learning from Bill Gates & Steve Jobs. I also posted  a link to a presentation from an internal TEDx event about delivering presentations – A duck goes quack.

Thursday, I made my way to Harwell for a drop in session I was running at the Jisc offices there, alas an accident the closure of the M4 meant I spent nearly four hours sitting the car rather than sitting in a room talking to Jisc staff. In the end I had to abandon my visit to the office.

Friday, I had a scoping call about learning spaces in higher education. Interested in the kinds of learning spaces higher education is using, flexibility, technology and the kinds of activities spaces are being used for.

I found this WonkHE article interesting – Learning design is the key to assuring the quality of modular provision in which Nick Mount talks about building quality assurance into the design of modular programmes and micro-credentials.

Traditional providers can expect to find themselves facing the difficult job of rethinking existing assurance processes that are designed for coherent, longitudinal programmes of study, so that they can accommodate a new pick-and-mix landscape of highly portable and stackable micro-credential learning.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Shorter – Weeknote #164 – 22nd April 2022

A shorter week as there was a bank holiday and I took a day’s leave.

Came back to 70 emails in my inbox, which I cleared quite quickly.

Had a meeting with ALT about plans and collaboration going forward. Next week is the OER 22 Conference and there is a call for papers for the ALT Conference 2022. The ALT Conference 2022 will take place in-person in Manchester.

I attended the HEAnet & EduCampus Group Advisory Forum online. We are planning a strategic meeting that will take place in-person in September.

I spoke to our innovation team about the HE Sector Strategy.

I went to the office in Bristol on Friday, realised it had been sometime since I went to the Bristol office having been on leave, in Manchester and in London quite a bit over the last few weeks.

My top tweet this week was this one.

Scary – UCISA 22 Day #3

I have never attended the UCISA Leadership conference before, but after the 2020 conference was cancelled, I was given the chance to attend the 2022 event. This was the third in-person conference I have attended since March 2020.

This year’s much-anticipated UCISA22 Leadership Conference will look ahead at the future challenges and opportunities for digital leaders in education. The theme of conference is Digital Leadership in a Post-Pandemic World.

I wrote about day one of the conference in this blog post and day two in this post.

This was the last day of the UCISA Leadership Conference, ending at lunchtime. We were in a different space, which though more impressive, was not as comfortable as the space used on the first couple of days.

Great opening session from Heidi Fraser-Krauss on her role of CEO at Jisc, where Jisc has been, where Jisc is, and her vision for Jisc going forward.

I did like this quote from her presentation.

There is something written by “John” in every university which was created twenty years ago and is crucial to the running of the institution.

There were lots of questions for Heidi at the end of the session, which for me shows that people found her presentation interesting and useful. There were some really positive comments on the Twitter as well.

I did think that the next session, What can your organisation learn from Formula 1? with 

Adrian Stalham, Chief Change Officer, Sullivan and Stanley wasn’t going to be my cup of tea, but it was in the end one of the highlights of the conference.

Business models break, new ones develop, technology evolves, regulations are revised and customers alter buying habits. Every industry is witnessing change, and Formula 1 is no different; as a multi-billion dollar sport it has seen unprecedented change in the last 20 years. Above all, Formula One’s leadership teams have had to communicate, manage and implement transformation strategies, bringing their teams with them, ensuring that they make the most from embracing change.

I did a sketch note of his presentation.

Adrian presented some of the key principles from Formula 1 that can be implemented into teams to drive high performance. He opened his talk with a 67 second pitstop from the past and how today the Formula 1 pitstop can be less than two seconds.

Image by Pexels from Pixabay

Continue reading Scary – UCISA 22 Day #3

I see you BoatyMcBoatFace – Weeknote #161 – 1st April 2022

Spent most of the week in Manchester where I was attending the UCISA Leadership Conference. I am posting my (more in-depth) reflections and thoughts on the conference in separate blog posts.

Though the conference kicked off on the Tuesday, I had quite few lengthy meetings in my diary on Monday so I went up earlier to Manchester.

I went to the Jisc office in Manchester which was the first time in nearly three years. Since I was last there in September 2019 for a fleeting visit it has been refurbished.

I have never attended the UCISA Leadership conference before, but after the 2020 conference was cancelled, I was given the chance to attend the 2022 event. This was the third in-person conference I have attended since March 2020.

This year’s much-anticipated UCISA22 Leadership Conference will look ahead at the future challenges and opportunities for digital leaders in education. The theme of conference is Digital Leadership in a Post-Pandemic World. Recognising our sector continues to operate in an unprecedented period of sustained change, the programme seeks to empower our leaders to not only navigate current turbulence, but overcome the challenges you face, such as cybersecurity, sustainability, and recruitment.

I wasn’t sure what to expect, but I kind of expected that this would be a highly technical conference, about how technology can deliver transformation and I can say that what I experienced was not what I was expecting.

There was a great range of sessions, I did like the one What can your organisation learn from Formula 1?

Business models break, new ones develop, technology evolves, regulations are revised and customers alter buying habits. Every industry is witnessing change, and Formula 1 is no different; as a multi-billion dollar sport it has seen unprecedented change in the last 20 years. Above all, Formula One’s leadership teams have had to communicate, manage and implement transformation strategies, bringing their teams with them, ensuring that they make the most from embracing change.

Some great reflections on leadership and strategy.

Another highlight was the session by Mark Simpson, Pro Vice-Chancellor, Learning & Teaching, Teesside University entitled What’s your narrative? Building a compelling vision and dancing in the field.

As with previous conferences I got the Apple Pencil out and did some sketch notes on my iPad.

With three days at the conference, I didn’t have much time for other things. I missed the Wonkhe session on assessment, but have now got the slides and the recording.

Also I did see BoatyMcBoatFace making the news again.

On its first outing to the Antarctic, the £200m polar vessel – popularly known as Boaty McBoatface – has been smashing through thick frozen floes.

It reminded me of the fun we had with that back in the day when I was leading the digital capabilities project and how you should never ask the internet for anything.

My top tweet this week was this one as noticed by Adam Shoemaker.

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.

OfS launches new strategy targeting quality and standards

The Office for Students (OfS) is today launching its strategy for 2022 to 2025.

The strategy confirms two main areas of focus for the OfS’s work: quality and standards, and equality of opportunity.

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.

Speaking ahead of the launch of the strategy at a Parliamentary event later today [Wednesday], Lord Wharton, Chair of the OfS, said:

‘Our new strategy sets out a clear plan of action to achieve our goal of ensuring all students, regardless of their background, have a quality education and achieve successful outcomes.

‘Over the next three years we will take action to challenge universities and colleges offering students poor academic experiences. Courses that fall below our minimum requirements damage the quality of English higher education and harm the prospects of students from all backgrounds.

‘This new strategy will guide how the OfS will regulate in students’ interests over the next three years. Our focus on quality and equality of opportunity reflects the issues that are important to students, and which have the greatest impact on their experience. The strategy also sets out how we will support providers in their actions to address student mental health and prevent harassment and sexual misconduct.

‘We are committed to engaging with students as we deliver the strategy and will shortly be publishing refreshed student engagement priorities.’

Office for Students Strategy 2022 to 2025

Transforming – Weeknote #159 – 18th March 2022

According to a study museum visits do not improve GCSE results.

A family trip to the theatre or an afternoon at a museum may be a fun day out, but new research suggests that such cultural outings will not actually help children secure higher grades.

I love the implication that the only reason to do some cultural stuff is to secure higher grades at GCSE. Sometimes we as a family do stuff because it is fun, enjoyable or makes you think. A couple of weeks back we went to London for a day out, my daughter and I headed to the British Museum to see the Greek galleries. She had been reading the Percy Jackson series and now has a serious interest in Greek mythology. We both really enjoyed viewing the exhibits and reading the background and history of the different things we saw. Will this help her secure higher grades? To be honest we weren’t thinking or worrying about that. It was a great day out.

So how was your week? Mine, well I upset Spain with a photograph of the dish I cooked on Saturday night.

After a busy week travelling I was working from home on Monday. I finished my blog post on transformation, this is an area where I have been presenting and discussing and I wanted in this post to finalise some of my thinking on (digital) transformation.

Well, I have been thinking about what we understand mean by digital transformation and in some discussions, I have been using different kinds of explanations to explore what I see and understand digital transformation is.

In the post I went through the possible digital transformation of requesting and approving leave.

Tuesday though I was back to our Bristol office, for various things. Bristol Temple Meads that morning was full of Peaky Blinders types, suits and flat caps, all on their way (probably) to the Cheltenham Races. If Digifest (which was last week) was the same week as the Cheltenham Races, I would avoid the trains and drive to Birmingham. When I worked at Gloucestershire College, I would avoid our Cheltenham campus those weeks as well. Mainly as the trains were usually full and crowded of very drunk people out to have a good day, and it usually wasn’t even 9am!

I did some work on presentation formats for some ideas we are working on for online events and thought leadership content. Too often when it comes to online presentations, we see talking slides or talking heads. I have been reflecting and thinking about how we can be more creative, more innovative in the ways in which we deliver content during events or on the website. A lot of my thinking is based on the translation posts I did during the pandemic.

Thursday, I ventured back to the Bristol office again. It was much busier today with a couple of teams doing a co-location day. We also had a coffee and cake morning for charity.

The OfS are to launch a review of blended learning.

The Office for Students (OfS) has today launched a review of blended learning, amidst 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.

It will be interesting to see the outcomes of the review in the summer.

Having defined the success criteria of our HE sector strategy I started detailing what this meant for one of our ambition statements and what Jisc could potentially do in this space to achieve the strategic aspiration.

I also started working on a second communication plan for the strategy. We did one last summer, but listening and talking to staff across the organisation, we have felt that we need to do more work to explore, explain and reflect on the HE sector strategy to the rest of the organisation. One challenge I am facing is what do we even mean by strategy?

butterfly
Photo by Krzysztof Niewolny on Unsplash

I did another blog post on transformation, this one was on the nature of transformation.

In the world around us the transformation of caterpillars into butterflies is a marvel of nature. Though technically referred to as metamorphosis rather than transformation, the process for butterflies (and all insects) involves a conspicuous and relatively abrupt change. This got me thinking about digital transformation in organisations.

HEPI and QAA published a new report that unpacks the meaning of quality in a complex and rapidly changing higher education sector.

Quality is a slippery term, not least because it is in part practical, in part philosophical and (almost) always relative. Yet it underpins higher education provision and is central to policy debate and regulatory approaches across the UK. So how do we define quality? An understanding of the different mechanisms at play can provide context to the debate.

My top tweet this week was this one.

I am not apologising – Weeknote #156 – 25th February 2022

Well, this is three years of weeknotes. I wasn’t sure if I could keep it up, but have found it useful to reflect on the week, but also to review back about what I was doing and reading.

This week Russia invaded the Ukraine. Lots of talk, but very little action from the Western nations.

The week started off for the higher education sector with the Universities Minister saying universities ‘must scrap online lectures’ after Covid curbs are lifted.

‘Online teaching should only be used to supplement face-to-face teaching, not replace it,’ she told the Daily Mail. She went on to add there is ‘no excuse’ for institutions to continue hosting lessons online once measures are lifted,

So though she is saying universities should no longer replace in-person teaching with remote teaching, the press rhetoric and the headlines gives the message that universities should scrap all online teaching. That isn’t what she said, but that is pretty much what people are reading she said.

newspaper
Image by Andrys Stienstra from Pixabay

The week started off for me with a HE leadership team meeting, which was looking at various discussions about what we need to do next.

I spent some of the week working on success criteria for the HE strategy. Part of this is expanding on the strategic objectives. These state what we are going to do, and I expanded them to include the why and the how. I then added what success looked like from an university perspective and what it looked like from a Jisc perspective.

Generally, as with many organisations, in the past we have mapped activity to the strategy. Strategy should really drive activity.

I published a blog post on eventedness.

I was recently reminded of the importance of eventedness when it comes to events and has similar implications in the delivery of teaching both in-person and online.

I published a blog post on my tech and productivity blog about collaboration.

I don’t think anyone thinks they consciously and actively block collaboration, but we often hear cries for more collaboration, so much so that we wonder why we don’t collaborate more than we do. In this post I will explore the reasons for collaboration and some of the blockers that stifle collaboration.

I posted this tweet to the Twitter about an undocumented feature on Jiscmail.

What most people don’t know is that Jiscmail has an undocumented feature which means if you post the same message with multiple lists in the To: field, recipients will only receive one, despite how many of the lists they are subscribed to. No need to apologise then.

I’ve used this feature quite often to send the same message to multiple lists.

It was a response to Simon Thomson who said

‘Apologies for cross-posting’ is the most hollow apology ever.

I agree with Simon that most people aren’t sorry when they apologise for cross-posting, but I also think a lot of people actually ignore messaged which start with an apology for cross-posting as they (rightly) assume it probably is some kind of spam message.

Wednesday I did think about going to the office. I had planned to go to Bristol, but missed the train from Weston Milton with seconds to go, I was literally on the platform. Went back home and decided to work from home.

On Thursday I headed off to our Bristol office on the train. I didn’t check the trains, the one I was going to get was cancelled, however that was because the earlier train was running 24 minutes late. So managed to get that one to Bristol.

It was nice to be back in the office again, something nice about the social aspects of office working. Not sure I could do it everyday, but nice having the option.

I did an online presentation for the Public Policy Exchange on using digital to overcome the funding challenges facing universities.

There was a problem with the meeting room I was using as I couldn’t turn the noisy fan off. So I had to present with the fan on.

My presentation was in the main about recognising that what we’ve been doing over the last two years isn’t the basis for moving forward. I also talked about transformation as opposed to just digitalisation.

At the event there was a lot of talk about the announcements from the Government about access to higher education. Would it surprise you that no one thought this would improve access to higher education.

I took leave on Friday and had a day in London.

My top tweet this week was this one.