Tag Archives: wonkhe

Quality and AI

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

There was part of one session which focussed on quality and included insights into AI and plagiarism.

It wasn’t a lengthy presentation, so it’s quite a minimalistic sketchnote as a result. I do like the fact that the Matrix inspired background worked well for a sketchnote; over the plain background I usually use.

Sometimes it doesn’t quite work…

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

I did attempt to do a sketchnote on one of the sessions, but it didn’t come together.

Looking over the programme I am not even sure which session this was for!

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 social media.

Now in this session, I really couldn’t bring together what was being said in a sketch. There were odd words and phrases, which I noted in my sketch.

Does this mean it was a poor presentation? Well of course not, presentations at conferences are not delivered so I could draw a fancy sketchnote! However the talk didn’t work for me.

How do students use their time?

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

I attended the session What do we know about what’s shaping how students spend their time?

The latest and most powerful insights on the student condition from Wonkhe and Cibyl’s Belong student survey platform and from across the HE sector.

There was a lot of things in there, about sleep, travel time, working, and time travelling to work.

Of course time isn’t everything, space is important too. Time and space go together. Some interesting commentary about students (who don’t live on campus) needing space on campus to rest or even sleep.

What do we know about the conditions that help students thrive?

Back in March 2024 I attended Wonkhe’s Secret Life of Students at the Shaw Theatre in London. There was a range of interesting sessions, and for some I made some sketch notes.

The session which kicked off the conference was What do we know about the conditions that help students thrive? 

The latest and most powerful insights on the student condition from Wonkhe and Cibyl’s Belong student survey platform and from across the HE sector.

For many students, university can be a stressful experience, as they worry about money, the cost of living, working, as well as studying and assessment.

It’s a secret – Weeknote #263 – 15th March 2024

I was away for the whole week, travelling to London and Edinburgh. On Monday I headed up to London and went to the Fetter Lane office for some meetings.

Tuesday I was off to WONKHE’s Secret Life of the Student Event. This is the third time I have attended the event. This is very much an event, more so a conference, and WONKHE certainly know how to create an engaging show. There was lots of interesting presentations, one feature of the event I liked was how they added a student voice for five minutes in between sessions.

This isn’t the most interactive conference I’ve attended, no workshop sessions, and usually very limited time for questions. However, I still thought it was an excellent conference. Others do as well, as even by the final session, most people are still there. It’s very popular as well, as they were packed out.

After the end of this conference, it was a walk over to Kings Cross (walking next to St Pancras) for a train to Edinburgh. I was quite impressed with the speed of the train, taking just four hours and twenty minutes from platform to platform.

I was up in Edinburgh for the UCISA Leadership Conference. Like the Secret Life this is my third time I have attended. The first conference was in Manchester. I said back then.

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.

Last year in Liverpool, I thought it was a good conference, I wrote back then.

I did enjoy the conference, not sure if I enjoyed it as much as the previous year, but it was still an excellent conference.

This year, I did enjoy the conference, however I didn’t feel it was as good and as useful as the conferences in Manchester and Liverpool. At the previous conferences I felt there was a good focus on leadership and strategy. This year in Edinburgh, I felt the focus had moved to the technology, notably AI.

Now I realise that I am not the target market for this conference, and they may have been responding to feedback from their core market. I may attend next year, but then again, I might not.

I flew home from Edinburgh.

This week I also had a preliminary planning meeting for Smart Campus workshop I am running in the next month or so.

Visionary – Weeknote #260 – 23rd February 2024

I have been working on a series of visions about how universities could be working differently in the future. The aim of the visions is not to predict a future, but to provide an insight into a possible view of what that future could look like and think about how these impact on your current position and thinking. We did something similar for Learning and Teaching Reimagined, and though I wasn’t personally credited with the authorship of some of the visions, I did create and write the visions. I tested them out with a few people and got the reaction I wanted as well as stimulating an interesting discussion.

One of those visions was about organisations merging. Coincidently in the news this week was the news that City, University of London and St George’s, University of London have agreed a merger – the new institution will be called City St George’s, University of London and commence operations from 1 August, “though full integration will take longer.” Current City president Anthony Finkelstein will lead the combined institution.

There has been much talk about the four day week, in the Guardian this week was an article on how some firms have made their four day week trials permanent.

Most of the UK companies that took part in the world’s biggest ever four-day working week trial have made the policy permanent, research shows.

Reports from more than half the pilot organisations said that the trial, in which staff worked 100% of their output in 80% of their time, had a positive impact.

For 82% this included positive effects on staff wellbeing, 50% found it reduced staff turnover, while 32% said it improved job recruitment. Nearly half (46%) said working and productivity improved.

TASO published a new report: Using learning analytics to prompt student support interventions.

How can learning analytics – data systems that help understand student engagement and learning – be used to identify students who may be at risk of withdrawing from their studies, or failing their courses, and what interventions work to re-engage students in their studies?

The key findings from the report were:

  • Neither HEP found a measurable difference in post-intervention engagement rating between at-risk students who received an email followed by a support phone call and at-risk students who received only the email.
  • Neither HEP found any significant impact of the additional support call on the likelihood of a student generating additional at-risk alerts.
  • Qualitative feedback indicated that students welcomed the intervention. For some, the phone call was appreciated as a means of breaking down barriers between themselves and the institution and stimulating their re-engagement with learning. For others, the email alone was cited as a sufficient motivator to re-engage with learning.

There was an article on Wonkhe on the report.

A new study from TASO seeks to judge “what works” in the use of learning analytics for student support, exploring whether students identified by engagement data as being “at risk” were better supported by email and phone contact or email alone. Large cohorts of students at two providers, Sheffield Hallam University and Nottingham Trent University, were divided into two random groups. In both cases, it was found that an additional support call created no measurable difference in at-risk students’ subsequent engagement and no appreciable change in the likelihood of the student generating subsequent alerts.

It will be crucial to robustly test the impact of any wellbeing interventions that analytics systems may trigger.

As many people already well known, the environmental costs of generative AI is soaring, and that also being kept mostly secret. In Nature is an article about the impact AI will have on energy systems.

Last month, OpenAI chief executive Sam Altman finally admitted what researchers have been saying for years — that the artificial intelligence (AI) industry is heading for an energy crisis. It’s an unusual admission. At the World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland, Altman warned that the next wave of generative AI systems will consume vastly more power than expected, and that energy systems will struggle to cope.

Spent some time planning out Senior Education and Student Experience Group meeting for March.

Wrote a briefing update on the work I have been doing on the optimisation of operations and data work.

Had an interesting and informative conversation with a college about their smart campus aspirations.

Spent time planning next steps of my Intelligent Campus work.

Planning a meeting with an university for a follow up workshop on their smart campus planning, after successful workshop in January and their request for a 1-2 day cross university workshop.

Worked on creating and planning blog ideas in the personalisation space. Also worked on creating and planning senior management primer ideas in the personalisation space, and some use case ideas.

Spent time planning out ideas for Spaces events over the next 12 months.

Noted that this worknote represents five years of undertaking worknotes for the blog.

Cylinders of excellence – Weeknote #250 – 15th December 2023

I had various meetings this week and spent time in our Bristol office, as well as working from home.

I wondered if silo working is another word for non-strategic working? People often complain about silo working and the resulting challenges that can arise. I think part of the reason why there are problems with duplication, conflict, and lack of communication, across silo working, is teams are working to their own objectives and aren’t necessarily working towards common objectives.

Silos
Image by marcson from Pixabay

The NSA in the US talks of silo working as cylinders of excellence. You can have outstanding or excellent teams, but not necessarily have an excellent organisation. See this blog post I wrote about that. I think I might expand on this on a future blog post.

stove espresso maker
Image by Karolina Grabowska from Pixabay

I attended the Adobe and Wonkhe Education Espresso event on supporting pedagogical development and innovation.

I had a meeting on licensing development and links to intelligent campus and student experience.

I had a meeting with organisers of on possible speaking opportunity and possible session ideas for EDUtech Europe 2024.

I had an Intelligent Campus meeting with the Honeywell PoC team at Jisc.

I also  had a meeting for planning a workshop on building a smart or an intelligent campus.

Had an informal discussion with colleagues in Jisc on learning spaces. I have been looking at how Jisc can support universities in the learning spaces space. What help and support do universities need, and what help and support do we want from Jisc. We also discussed the compromise that is a flexible learning space. Often, we see universities building flexibility into their learning spaces, as that is often seen as easier than building flexibility into curriculum design and timetabling.

Continued my work on a concept for supporting institutions in the smart campus space. This included reviewing the Higher Education Reference Model with an intelligent campus lens.

I recorded some content for an internal podcast. I used my Snowball microphone using Quicktime. I did a test recording, which sounded fine, and then did the actual recording. After sending it off I got some feedback that the audio recording was noisy. I checked my recording and there was a lot of interference. I had written a script for the recording, so it was quite easy to re-record the piece. This time though I used Garageband to record the podcast clip, and then checked that it sounded okay before sending it off.

Microphone
Image by rafabendo from Pixabay

I attended the UCISA Event – Digital poverty and digital capability – a vicious cycle?

What Was Wonkfest – Weeknote #245 – 10th November 2023

I was mainly in London this week trying to avoid the rain.

I was attending the WonkHE Festival of Higher Education, this is the conference previously known as WonkFest. The name change was more about the challenge in delegates getting funding to come to the event… so you want to go to a conference, that should be fine, what’s it called. Seriously?

It was a rather good conference, some really good sessions, too much choice sometimes. Only downside was, one of the rooms for the parallel sessions, was too small, so as a result lots of people who wanted to attend the session were turned away (including me).

I enjoyed the session, “in conversation with David Aaronovitch“ I did have a question about the Remembrance of the Daleks… but a quick check of Wikipedia and I realise that Ben Aaronovitch wrote the Daleks and is David’s brother… So won’t be asking that question then!

I did a few sketch notes.

What do the UK’s places want from their universities?

How do you solve a problem like HE regulation?

What might the future of education technology hold?

Not as many as I might do at other conferences, as the format of some of the sessions, didn’t lend themselves to sketching.

There was a couple of good blog posts on the WonkHE website about the event.

I had to spend some time reviewing and collating materials, and writing briefing note and bullet points for a panel session at HEAnet on Navigating the Challenges and Opportunities of the Modern Campus. As the considered expert on the intelligent campus, I often get asked to provide a perspective on the future of the university campus.

It is the intelligent campus that I will be speaking about, next week at Learning Places Scotland 2023 in Glasgow. I am doing a presentation on building the intelligent campus.

Universities and colleges spend billions on their campuses, yet they are frequently underutilised and are often a frustrating experience for students. In this session, James Clay will describe the campus of the future. How does a traditional campus become a smart campus? What are the steps to make a smart campus, an intelligent campus? The intelligent campus builds on the smart campus concept and aims to find effective ways to use data gathered from the physical estate and combine it with learning and student data from student records, library systems, the virtual learning environment (VLE) and other digital systems. This session will describe what data can be gathered, how it can be measured and explore the potential for enhancing the student experience, achieving net zero, improve efficiency, and space utilisation. It will demonstrate and explain to the delegates what the exciting future of the intelligent campus. James will also ask delegates to consider the ethical issues when implementing an intelligent campus as well as the legal requirements.

I had to plan in a call to discuss the presentation.

video recording
Image by Pexels from Pixabay

On Monday before heading off to London, I had a great discussion with colleagues in the office about broadcast and recording capabilities within our Bristol office. The reality is that though I would love to have a proper TV studio in the office I really need to plan and deliver some initial content first, to provide some foundations to a proof of concept.

There was a discussion on the possible future of the office, as in redesigning the space to reflect the current (hybrid) working practices. So more collaborative spaces, more occasional spaces, more spaces for online conversations and meetings, and so on…

Continued doing more work on the planning, reflection, and researching concept of optimisation of operations and data.

I had a great meeting with Josie Fraser discussing digital skills and digitisation.

We had some great old person digital transformation reminiscing.

Had a pre-meeting for Jisc OfS meeting next week. As a result I have some preparation to do.

I did miss using the Twitter at the conference this week, though I did post to Bluesky and Threads, it wasn’t quite the same, and very little engagement. I did look at the Twitter and there were some posts, so I do think even if I had engaged, there wouldn’t have been a serious amount of traction and discussion.

What might the future of education technology hold?

Senate House

I am attending the WonkHE Festival of Higher Education 2023 at Senate House in London.

Originally called WonkFest I have attended the conference before, and it’s a great event to learn about higher education policy and the impact on the university sector.

I attended the session titled: What might the future of education technology hold?

a view of the stage

Beyond the hype, and the sales pitch, beyond digital transformation and digital natives – this session will explore how technology is likely to shape higher education provison in the years ahead, what changes universities can realistically expect to learning and teaching, and how they might work with technology providers to get ahead of the curve.

Despite the abstract this was alas something of a sales pitch. As well as the advertised PVC, Claire Pike, Mark Simpson, the PVC from Teesside was also on the stage. However in a thirty minute session, over twenty minutes was devoted to telling us how “wonderful” one specific product was. I think this was a missed opportunity. Yes, I know you sponsored the conference, do provide an insight into the product, but that would have been much more authentic and valuable if it had come one of the PVCs.

I also felt thirty minutes was quite short for the session, so there wasn’t time for question or further discussion.

Jisc did get a mention for their report on student perceptions of generative AI.

This report looks at how students are currently using generative AI and explores its potential impact on their learning experience.

Even so I did do a sketchnote.

How do you solve a problem like HE regulation?

I am attending the WonkHE Festival of Higher Education 2023 at Senate House in London.

Originally called WonkFest I have attended the conference before, and it’s a great event to learn about higher education policy and the impact on the university sector.

I attended the session titled: How do you solve a problem like HE regulation?

Can any higher education regulator realistically be expected to balance the interests of students, providers, government, and the nation – and not get itself into hot water? With regulatory divergence and reform across the UK and criticisms from a House of Lords committee over the efficacy of English regulator the Office for Students, our panel will assess the options for HE regulation and think through what might be done to make it work.

I did a sketchnote which shows the breadth and depth that was covered in the session.