Category Archives: Strategy

#fote13 Future of Technology in Education 2013

October 11th, Senate House, University of London, for this year’s FOTE. Random commentary:

Morning

Nicola Millard/Customer Experience Futurologist, BT: Clouds, Crowds & Customers. @docnicola. Customers. Students = consumers? The ‘Why can’t everyone be as easy as Amazon?’ syndrome. Critical: reduction of effort in things that have to do but don’t really value. Can we be as easy as Amazon to do business with? What is easy – what is business. Easy: reduce cognitive effort (finding stuff); physical (going places); emotional (frustration); time (ubiquitous impatience). Easy impacts vfm. Omnichannel customers – how do we manage customers who skip around channels. Link app, website, phonecall, email, F2F? How? Crowds. Collaboration – used to be called cheating. Ref: the prosthetic mind. No longer send naughty child to their bedroom, just where they want to be – <but wasn’t that the case years ago? Need to be very clear on what is really new, & what just appears new but fundamentally isn’t…definition of new?> Clouds. F2F can’t be replaced. <but who says it can/should be?> Seeing incredible flexibility in workspaces <but are most people seeing this? Again, have been hearing this for years…>

Alicia Wise/Director of Universal Access, Elsevier: Open Access: Challenges, Possibilities, Future Outlook. Developing business model. Rapid rise in R&D leads to rise in research, need for easy way to get it all out there <paraphrase!> Research = increasingly interdisciplinary; internationally collaborative & mobile; big data intensive.

Gwen Noteborn/Researcher, Maastricht University: Webcasts in Education: Mythbusters! Head of edl@b. Using mediasite/sonic foundry. Video collaboration software…The truth about webcasting! Is knowledge lost in translation? Research found not. Appreciation of/connection to teacher may be. Afraid seems to be just churning out a bunch of research results – most of findings intuitively available anyway. Will online recording replace F2F? No – social aspect. <Well, no, not comparing eggs with eggs, chalk & cheese, apples & pairs & all that – should have learnt from myth of TV replacing cinema – they are different things!>

Q&A: I only have one so far that I really won’t ask – “So, what else is new?”

CIO Fireside Chat. Yousuf Khan/CIO, Hult International Business School (Chair); Adrian Ellison/Director of IT, UWL; Richard Maccabee/Director, ULCC; Heidi Fraser-Krauss/IT Director, York; Cathy Walsh, Principal & CEO, Barking & Dagenham College. RM: trends – tensions between IT & T&L perspectives? HFK: can do technology change, but behavioural change hasn’t happened. <Doing Digital> AE: does Cloud change behaviours? <IT Governance/Weill & Ross – ‘to encourage desirable behaviour in the use of IT’> Staff – have encouraged behavioural change in students without changing themselves. CW: modelling value-based behaviours, senior management walking the talk. HFK: deliver systems, don’t think about what the person at the other end is doing, enough. AE: be sure that you really have senior management (& other) engagement. How do we decide what technology to choose? CW: not about technology. HFK: only interested in what it can do for me, just want it to work. <Useful, usable, & used> What’s exciting? HFK: ease of use. AE: gap between choice of tools/new students & tools in use in HE. HFK: death of email? Can twitter/facebook replace? What can? CW: simplicity & openness. Open access. HFK: easy & just works = requirement. AE: technology & stress. Stress – when delivered without ease of use. RM: factors for success. Formula for change: dissatisfaction with status quo, vision of goal, tangible first step. Advice for changemakers: AD – engagement & communication. SAMO. HFK: the way we see the world isn’t necessarily how recipients of solution see the world – solve their problem, not yours. Shouldn’t assume you know. CW: communication. Don’t just engage with one set of stakeholders. RM: humble & brave; single-minded & flexible. Avoid bunker mentality. Q&A: should we be less flexible? RM: in danger of losing flexibility but need to deliver services. Tricky balance. Innovation: management & staff blame each other for lack of innovation, but technology has changed everything, how do we shift? IT role to tease it out & play it back. <probably management want efficiency & staff want effectiveness> CW: senior management humility, again walk the talk, don’t take themselves too seriously, senior management disconnected = huge blockage.

Afternoon

<insert photograph of woman in blue lycra bodysuit & wig>

Technology in Education – The Case Against/Lindsay Jordan, Senior Lecturer, University of the Arts. The Cup Song from PitchPerfect – wasn’t expecting that…demonstrates how great the internet is for short bite-sized focused bits of learning. Then piano! – not learnt on internet, impossible (?) & also parentally not self-motivated. Some loss when not in an F2F environment. So what’s the difference? With F2F:

  • Space for the purely social. Time off task. Architected social spaces.
  • Forging (forcing) relationships, very hard to hide.
  • Reduced flexibility/reduced choice. Flexibility about when & where do stuff is not always a good thing. How to focus in the age of distraction.
  • Very hard to resolve problems online.
  • Online communication can bring out the worst in people. Lack of presence makes it easy to be a bit rubbish. Alone Together – Sherry Turkle.
  • Eventedness: synchronicity, uniqueness, movement, difference, aesthetics. One night only.
  • Sacrifice/commitment

How do we bring it back? Harvard – SPOCS (Small Private Online Courses) not MOOCS. Interventions in physical world.

Interesting stuff!

Revolution – Include Me!

Martin King/Head of IT services at Ealing, Hammersmith and West London College (EHWLC). Enabling the disconnected to get online – here comes everybody. Biodiversity versus monoculture – education fosters the latter. Average is not normal. <but Steve Vai is not a great guitarist imho> Anyone can play guitar? Mmmm – yeah, but…anyone can learn how to play guitar, not the same thing. A mind is like a parachute, it doesn’t work unless it’s open – Frank Zappa. What happens with technology mediated culture? Exponential effects of network connectivity. Different, anyway!

Research data – bothersome burden or treasure chest? Kevin Ashley/Director, Digital Curation Centre.

Data deluge will oustrip the ability of technology to deal with it. Data must be recoverable to be reused.

A game of two halves – afternoon much more interesting stuff. & that’s me done & off down t’pub…

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UCISA Enterprise Architecture Community of Practice Start Up Meeting

2nd May 2013: a group convened at Liverpool John Moores University to discuss the setting up of a UCISA Enterprise Architecture Community of Practice (EACP).

Following work by Luke Taylor & the UCISA-CISG, & commissioned by the UCISA Executive, the objective of the meeting: to baseline where we were up to with EA, and work out how this Community of Practice thing was going to operate, as it’s a bit of a new departure for UCISA & those previously involved in the JISC EA Practice Group. Representatives from 8 institutions, JISC InfoNet & the Open Group, and facilitated by Richard Chapman, of Richard Chapman Consulting.

This is a picture of where we started:

EA0213

I’m not going to do a blow by blow account of the day, as that will come out in due course, but just wanted to highlight a few things that were key or of interest for me.

  • Baselining EA. Various people were not surprisingly at various stages, although there were common themes: how to keep up momentum, how to convince the business, how to get resources. Participants were asked to come up with ‘twEAts’ (140 characters about EA on a postit – thank you David Rose of the Open Group for that one, bit close to our great Prime Minister’s comments about what too many tweets make…). These got quite zen-like in parts – particularly this offering from Patrick O’Reilly/Bolton: ‘the curate has a fresh egg, but no eggcup, spoon and is waiting for a chance to eat’. I thought we might have invented Zen EA – but then discovered this: ‘Zen and The Art of Enterprise Architecture (Open Group Conference Newport Beach 2013)’ – although I may be being a little unfair, having not viewed it in detail, at 83 slides, some of dazzling complexity, I’m not sure this is in the spirit of Zen, or even EA…
  • Building a Community of Practice. Lots of interesting discussion on this, which will be rolled up in a wiki & considered further – but for me, the main issue was around leadership. The key objective of the EACP is to become self-sustaining – to not need a leader, or a Chair, or single person or even small group who keep it all going – leading to the usual leaders/followers scenario. Seems like a kind of variation on situational leadership – the idea that there is no one best leadership style, but that leadership is adaptive to the situation – which in some situations may mean following. So perhaps we have situational leadership & followership as well. For the EACP I would envisage a scenario where individuals would either lead or follow depending on the situation – which I think is what I’ve just said. Or to sum up, ‘We are all leaders now’.

Which is about all for the moment – the EACP is a work in progress & progress on this first day was excellent, we have actions, ideas for how to work, deadlines & all manner of good stuff, including the all important hash tag (#UCISA_EA) – so thanks to all the participants & also Richard Chapman for his great facilitation, kept us almost both on time & under control!

Also worth a look at Dave Berry from Edinburgh’s post on the same event.

& here’s a picture of where we finished:

EA2013b

Digital Student Data Depositories Worldwide 2013, Beijing

Wall

Bringing together sixteen countries from around the globe to discuss digital student data mobility – China; Netherlands; USA; Mexico; UK; Norway; Spain; France; Italy; Belgium; Sweden; Poland; Romania; India; Australia; South Korea.

Traditional as it happened notes, apologies for ommissions & misinterpretations, & must take this opportunity to thank the organisers & hosts, DUO & CHESICC, for great organisation, support, help – & a mention to the support staff from CHESICC in particular for their unfailing courtesy & assistance. A great event with a great objective.

CHESICC/Zhang Fengyou, Director. National qualifications database. More international students so more international/overseas emphasis. Overseas access to verification database. Groningen agreement: support, but a lot of challenges due to language, culture, systems etc.

Dik van der Wal/DUO.Groningen: agreement to digitally share student data. Sharing of diploma data = first stage. Digital diploma register. <nothing like it in UK, outside DARE>. Diplomas from all state recognised institutions – supported by government, better service. Individuals can view own data/download. Designated institutions have access to data; owned by citizens. Further development: more historical data; all education recognised by the government, private included; extend access to business world; exchange data with other EU/global diploma registers. <check position of Information Landscape> Again recognises challenges. Objective: linking of diploma registers across national boundaries.

Chinese Electronic Registration System/Xie Hanlin, Director of Administrative Office of Students Records, MOE. Electronic registration, enquiry & verification of student qualifications. Step 1: electronic registration of all HE certificates; all institutions send to MOE for registration in database, then can use for enquiries. Include photos in database, improving visualisation as well as accuracy. Step 2: 2004. Small number of institutions recruit outside state agreed numbers – fraud. 2007, new students record registration system, when students register, data sent to education dept of province to ensure legaility/validity. Dynamic information management of students from enrolment to graduation. Increased efficiency & quality. Now comprehensive system, from entry quals through enrolment to certification. 600 million records; registered 100 million HE certificates awarded in last 22 years. Supports decision making & management – enforce legality, reduce fraud, provides info after disasters. Facilitates distribution of government subsidies.

System of Information Consultation & Verification Service for China HE Students/Ning Xiaohua, Vice Director, CHESICC. 10.96 million people received HE quals in 2012, 3.6 million degrees. 3 verification organisations under MOE: CHESICC (HE study records & quals); CGDGC (degrees); & another doing international degrees. CHESICC = only HEQC verification/enquiry authority. Online enquiry/verification: free self-enquiry by students, also by other registered bodies. Online verification & Guilloche pattern. Easy, low cost, flexible, convenient. Available in English & Chinese, Pinyin translation. Barcode for validation. Demo: input code, get verification report. Can download, print, email. NCEE – National College Entrance Examination. Most important qualification for student selection. Changed to PQE. CHESICC started online enquiry in 2003 during SARS breakout. Data management & enquiries for applicants & colleges. Comprehensive info on colleges, courses, entry requirements etc – ref KIS. Gaokao platform – also covers student satisfaction rates – ref NSS, highly valuable to applicants. Also postgraduate platform. Study abroad: lack of high-quality educational resources in China + higher family income. Media reports of cheating in Chinese student applications – should consider difference in enrolment systems. College enrolment in China is government rather than market-oriented. Foreign colleges should use Chinese system = NCEE scores, online systems. CHESICC will focus on providing better services in this area. Great commitment to enhance cooperation. Informatisation remarkably improves education credit system. Use IT & databases, cheaper, easier, better. 2012: 70m reviews/enquiries, 3m verification reports. % of fake/unrecognised quals recognised in reviews dropped from 25% to 3% over 10 years.

China HE International Exchange Policy/Zong Wa, Vice Secretary General of Chinese Association for International Understanding. Student mobility; joint schools, overseas campuses. Confucius Institute – important international initiative.

The US SPEEDE server & why we expect today’s assembled central SIS to drove global student & skilled worker mobility/Shelby Stanfield, University of Texas at Austin, & Mariana Losada, Amue, France. Mariana: France: very attached to paper & bureaucracy. Studied abroad in 7 countries after starting off in Buenos Aires – so qualified to comment on internationalisation & student mobility! Cosmopolitan ‘bildung’ – self-cultivation. British Council – admin procedures/difficulties are second after cost as reason putting students off studying abroad. Interoperating digital depositories critical to international mobility. Shelby: Standardisation of Postsecondary Education Electronic Data Exchange. Rationale & needs:

  • Efficiency. Digital transfer clearly more efficient than manual. 1996: 729 transcript transfers; now 4m.
  • Standards. Lego illustrates the problem & solution.
  • Accuracy. Greatly reduced margin of error, greater consistency.
  • Reliability. Yes…
  • Authenticity. Yes…
  • Scalability. Technology & standards can meet the demand. Needs open systems architecture.

A big idea who’s time has come?

Taking up the challenge: showcasing the first phase(s) of the current ongoing global pilot of DUO & NSC/Jan Otten/DUO, Rick Torres, President, NSC. NSC: 255m records processed annually, 2.5bn enrolment records, 750m annual verification requests for enrolments & qualifications. NGO, 95% of all enrolled students. How? – services. Compliance (reporting); verification (enrolment, degree, certifocate); electronic data exchange; research (student tracker). Save HE £350m pa. 58% of income from verification services – providers, free, requesters, pay – income from business. DUO: part of Dutch Ministry of Education. Some verifications; StudentLink, national enrolment service. Piloting DUO/NSC verification service for Dutch/US students studying in the other country. Requestor verifies that they have the student’s permission to view the information – student may have blocked access (FERPA). Any student can have access to info on who has requested their information. No data held in other countries system. Jan: connecting diploma registers in Europe. DUO: supporting process of digital enrolment in HE. DigiD to Studielink to DUO, all processed into institutional SIS. Why can’t this process work across Europe? Need data, network & partners. Looked at 5 big scale network projects across EU: all have same building blocks, standards, architecture, semantics. New umbrella project: e-SENS. Looking for partners: must have central register/depository.

The Asia-Pacific Academic Credit & Qualifications Bank. Delivering on digital student data portability/Guillermo Pablo Lopez Andrade, Director-General, Secretaria de Educacio Publica, Mexico.

Non-financial definition of bank: a place where something is stored ready for use. ‘Flying money’ – first bank notes in China; now need ‘flying diplomas’: security, authenticity, stability, exchange, conflict resolution. Exchange: like exchanging money, need transfer equivalence. Place to save Academic credits. Facilitate the safe deposit, secure transfer, & international recognition of Academic credits. Banking analogy is great! Obstacles: in Mexico ‘apostille’ or legalisation process to recognise certificates etc; fraud: trust affected by false credentials; diploma ‘mills’ & accreditation ‘mills’; diversity; quality; lifelong learning. Status: so far only a proposal. Mexican Academic Credit & *RPL Bank – to reintroduce people who are not in education, employment or training (NEETs). http://www.rodac.sep.gob.mx. RODAC operational model = triangle – compare with Digitary? ‘The creation of national student data depositories…is not only about efficiency, technology & security; it is also about changing educational concepts & innovating for a better future…’

Video Message: Straddling academic & professional mobility. A case for bringing in central SIS/Pedro Chaves, Principal Adminstrator, Europass, & EQF NCP Manager, European Commission. Free mobility of people, still basic principle. Key obstacle to student mobility: recognition of qualifications from other countries. <How does the HEAR fit in with all this stuff?> Countries outside the EU are considering Europass. European Area for Student Qualifications by 2015, allowing students to register qualifications, comparability of qualifications & skills, easy to use = success. Transparency, comparability & quality of qualifications.

Verification of student records & relevant policies for Chinese students studying abroad/Ming Tingxi, Director of Overseas Academic Credential Evaluation Office from Chinese Service Centre for Scholarly Exchange. Supports study abroad, promotes study in China, serves returning scholars & students, facilitates international cooperation & exchange. Verification for international students. Overseas academic credential evaluation.

AACRAO (American Association of Collegiate Registrars & Admissions Officers) Position Statement on Digital Student Data Portability (DSDP)/Mike Reilly. Benefits: trusted source; elimination of fraudulent records; student mobility; business efficiency; environmentally friendly.

EAIE (European Association for International Education) Position Statement/Hans-Georg van Liempd. The European centre for expertise, networking & resources in the internationalisation of HE. Benefits: smoother, faster, more cost effective operations for members. Committed to move from paper to digital; disseminate info electronically; support organisations that can takethe lead in DSDP; to inform members on its importance.

“In theory, practice is like theory; in practice, it is not”

Exchange of Experience. Peter Parmentier/Student Data in Flanders. All data centralised in real time by Flemisch MoE. Bologna process – significant impact; new structure, more flexible etc. Started SOA 2008-2009. Central database has to support new legislation, integration with 3rd parties, support enrolment. Student enrols at institution, HEI uses web service to send info to central systems, 2 way, links to other services: student portal (central), diplomas database = LED, centralises info from diverse parties, supports the labour market, information for citizens. So student accesses info centrally, not via institution. Rosemary Woodger/VETASSESS Australia. Government business enterprise, Assessment-only Registered Training Organisation. Verifies qualifications for immigrants. Approved Chinese organisations can upload documents, get verifications etc all online. VET e- Learning strategy: 2012-2015, to strengthen use of new learning technologies. One initiative = ePortfolios to improve quality & portability of learning information. Includes consideration of data privacy issues. Supports access through APL/APEL, credit transfer etc. http://www.vetassess.com.au. Anna-Lise Lande & Geir Magne Vangen/University of Oslo. The Student Management System FS. Covers all of HE in Norway. New strategy: more digital; national recognition registry; diploma bank. Result owner logs into Diploma Bank via national ID-portal. Mobility: can make a lot of improvements locally, but needs international cooperation. Standards are key. Gabriela Jitaru/Ministry of Education, Research, Youth & Sport, Romania. National student enrolment registry (RMU). Needed: a real image of HE participation; more centralised info to support development; increased visibility of info; consistent data; reliable data; synthesis of national indicators. So needed: integrated system at national level; data transfer/reporting between/from Universities; accurate consistent statistics & reports; interoperability with other systems. The enrolment registries of Universities become part of the central system. Institutions have local RMU component to manage interface. Data published in RMU portal. Prateek Mohan/CDSL, India. Central Depository Services Ltd. NAD – National Academic Depository. Diploma bank. Very similar to Digitary/DARE. http://www.nad.co.in.

Discussion Panel. What have panellists got from the day? Very relevant, good time to work together. Informative. A lot of work to be done. Common goal: digital student data portability. Learned a lot. Can make it very difficult for students to be mobile; need to make it easy. DSDP can help. Centralised systems may not be possible (eg Europe) – in which case need excellent interoperability. Governance: how do we set & communicate the rules. Comment on Groningen Declaration: should be as open as possible to start with, to encourage participation. Go back to your country & tell your government how important DSDP is, & get them to engage! Committee – thinking of 4 task forces. 1. Communication – everyone. 2. Find helpers – everyone. 3. Preparing business cases. 4. Data exchange/standards. Flagships in sync – let’s sync our flagships (not sink them…) 3 pilots: DUO & NSC; USA & Mexico; Netherlands & Belgium. Next meeting, this time next year, USA.

Last day/Note – visit to CHESICC offices. Liked the look of the colour coded nationwide map display of student registrations, updated in real-time.

UCISA 2013 – Liverpool 13th-15th March Day One #ucisa13

Usual rambling commentary, impressions, interventions…

VC's Question Time. Chair: Peter Gallimore, former producer of BBC Today programme, with Nigel Weatherill, Liverpool John Moores, Howard Newby, Liverpool, & John Coyne, Derby.

  1. 24/7 support? John Coyne: critical platform for core mission. Hard to resolve: don't want shift systems. Need colleagues to appreciate the service delivery. Nigel Weatherill: need to ensure that we have resilient, quality systems to minimise downtime. Howard Newby: not what we want, but what students want. Have to operate in different timezones. Question from floor: how do you go about ensuring 24/7, instead of just hoping for it? Weatherill: comparison with 24/7 health support – need to look at new methods of service delivery, interacting with professionals from other sectors. Q from floor: outsourcing? Google/Microsoft. What wouldn't you outsource? Newby: commodity support vs. personalised service. Weatherill: educationally led institution but have to run on business principles. IT can be a differentiator – might outsource the basics, retain that which is specific to values and vision of LJMU for students. Coyne: need to put together set of best-in-class components that meet individual needs (EA perhaps?) – then make decisions about what you contract for & what you keep inside.
  2. Q from Tim Marshall (different subject): need to preserve but also open up information resources – open access. Newby: wholly in favour. Why should work which is publicly funded not be publicly accessible? Weatherill: also in favour; what would keep him awake at night? FOI & research data. When do the outcomes go into the public domain? Research needs opportunity to mature before enters open access. Coyne: direction is open access. Also concerned about FOI industry.
  3. Should IT Director be at the top table? Weatherill: at LJMU that person does sit at top table, but has wider brief – important thing is that they understand the business. Newby: senior team meetings always very large; how to configure academic & service structures. Basically, no. Coyne: should Director have early & influential strategic voice? Yes. Not necessarily helpful to talk about top table; can get Derby senior team round a stool. Consensus: need influence/access, not necessarily seat. Coyne: someone who can understand the purpose of the institution, map it to the capabilities of IT, and articulate it. Transparency of senior team activities? Weatherill: about communication. LJMU cascade approach – senior team to leadership team to staff. Needs middle-up-down management – recognition of key role of middle manager – Japanese approach. Newby: growth of less collegial, more business/competitive approach. All engaging in activities we wouldn't want competitors to have early sight of.
  4. Is HE a business? Coyne: stakeholders (students) are far more important than shareholders would be. Need to be business-like in efficient & effective delivery. Weatherill: educational institution that needs to be run on business principles. Driven by strategic framework. Newby: have to be business-like in terms of being efficient & effective – but also values-driven, belief in greater knowledge contributing to social progress. Need to be increasingly attentive to stakeholders – Ivory Tower is over.
  5. Q from Twitter: how do you get input from student body? & how important is NSS. Newby: embed NSS in more broad ranging/sensitive assessment. Days are gone when we knew what students ought to want. Weatherill: QAA Conference, Edinburgh – a lot about student engagement. Suggestion that student feedback needs to be systematised – but so much formal/informal that just happens. Coyne: unique programme representative system, annual Q&A, University held to account. Ignore the student voice at your peril – students good at holding up honesty mirror.
  6. Q from floor: an avalanche is coming? Newby: MOOCs – threat or opportunity? What is unique to University? Ability to award a degree – apart from that almost everything can be done by somebody else. Also – personalised service difficult to deliver in online experience. Also: what are students buying? Some, information & knowledge; some, a brand – are MOOCs strong enough. Can they address the social objectives of HE as opposed to just the economic ones. Future = blended learning, but be careful how you blend. Weatherill: what is the currency of a MOOC? HE currency: standards & accreditation. Coyne: a destructive technology or just the latest fashion that invites us to question ourselves? Newby: IT does mass bits, Socratic dialogue for rest (at least I think that's what he meant!)

 

UCISA Cloud Computing Review – 31/10/12 Nottingham #uccr

Usual random notes that may be of interest…see Programme for access to presentations.

Simon Marsden/Edinburgh: Introduction

What’s in/what is a cloud? Standard definition. Gartner view: high security, privacy or competitive advantage – otherwise outsourced or offsite. But myths abound:

  • Costs will be predictable – not to start with!
  • Costs will be lower – no!
  • More resilient – if you make it so
  • Disaster recovery – as above
  • Assured performance – or noisy neighbours?
  • Don’t know where data is? – probably do

User perspective: I get what I want; it just works.

CIO challenges: not too many – scale, exit strategy, data loss, how to charge, integration. & need to be seen as part of the solution, not an obstruction to be bypassed.

Things to look at: Coursera, learning platform for MOOCS; Office 365; Unidesk shared helpdesk; elastic cloud; trust; app store; reliability; green.

Agility: key issue. Running MOOCS with Coursera for over 100k students, quick deployment. Important to be there at the start, couldn’t have done it themselves.

Technology Enhanced Learning cloud – hybrid of supported through to non-supported, but provided within app store – flexible way of choosing tools.

Resilience – Site24x7, full scale monitoring.

So Cloud enables: swift innovation, reduced costs, greater choice for users. Not an option: can be difficult to understand, needs leadership.

Great start!

Richard Maccabee/ULCC: Delivering cloud services to the sector: ULCC’s experience of the range of options

Is it good use of public money for every HEI to have its own data centre? (or two…) – probably not, but is it public money anymore? All about services to paying customers, perhaps, perhaps sadly.

Approach: OS; shared services; vendor partnerships; evolutionary; hybrid: supplier, based in the community.

Service portfolio includes middleware & applications: ESB; Digitary (DARE!); Agresso Finance System, for about 10 institutions.

About 300 customers, across the sector & significant number of FE.

Issue: single data centre, in London – not good choice. So second site commissioned for 12/13, & looking at partner for Cloud IaaS. ULCC data centre will become point of presence for the Cloud. First bid submitted for provision of full IaaS for FE college.

MMU: very good student-focused VLE built around Moodle but including distributed services.

Drivers: mobile; BYOD/DIY; increased customer expectations; SOA ref Nexus ESB/DARE/Digitary, important for SaaS. Looking into Student Systems. <oh right, hosted then?>

Good that SOA – & to my mind hence EA – still seen as key component.

Ed Carter/Leeds: YHMAN – A Data Centre Without Walls!

Not Ed’s fault, but have a feeling I may have heard this before!

8 Universities collaborating in shared virtual data centres: enable economies of scale, balance asset utilisation, meet carbon reduction commitments, enable growth, enhance service standards, adhere to stringent security arrangements. Built on JANET/YHMAN network. Not that far away! & JANET6 increases potential reach/scalability. Storage for research, big data; HPC capability.

So essentially, promise of Cloud = ‘EaaS’: Everything as a Service. The Virtual University – the ‘University In A Box’?

Pleasantly surprised, if I’ve understood this right, by transition of technical/network staff into service support. Backed up by supplier support – HP.

It works!

Shan Rahulan/janet: Janet Brokerage

Set up to: promote cloud; reduce hurdles to adoption; create efficiencies. Like YHMAN, applying network approaches to data centres/services.

Usual drivers as previously referenced; also noted that adoption/governance is formative, & integrating clouds not straightforward. Customers are in the Cloud space, institutions/IT depts aren’t (entirely, yet).

Cost savings: not proven; current costs not understood, so savings hard to define. Hard to compare like with like.

Working with BUFDG, UCISA, JISC & UUK on modelling costs – which should be helpful!

Also looking at Amazon & Dropbox to establish a sector offer.

Olly Butters/Leicester: Building BRISSkit on the Eduserv Cloud

BRISSkit – Biomedical Research Infrastructure Software Service kit. Funded by UMF Cloud initiative to deliver in the Eduserv Cloud.

Good practical example of delivery of a service in the Cloud.

Cloud challenges – like ‘Hard to give up hardware – I can’t go and kick it’. Interesting thought – can you kick a cloud?

Working through governance issues/toolkits.

Mini Panel Session: Shan Rahulan; Ed Carter; Olly Butters: Matt Johnson/Eduserv

What are the barriers? People still want their servers on their site (‘Can you kick it?’ ref A Tribe Called Quest, perhaps). Again, internal services not fully costed/full costs not understood.

Simon Marsden: you need a burning platform – agree entirely. For Edinburgh, this is agility. Must be a real business/service driver because otherwise won’t want to meet the costs of change – cost saving not enough.


Stephen Booth/Coventry: A Managed Storage Service on a Hybrid Cloud

Can no longer do ‘just an IT project’ – I thought it was quite a while since you ever could? Business not IT initiative. Business drivers: cost reduction; flexibility; enhanced support; DR. Importance of supplier/partner relationship – joint customer/partner management of project & service delivery – partner will not let it fail: so have to make sure they have some skin in the game.

John Waters/University of West London: The North Face of Office 365

The University formerly known as TVU. 12 years on the HEFCE at-risk register. Rebranded as UWL April 2011. Bit of a mess of overlapping/inconsistent systems for student services.

Wanted to move to functional Cloud-based Student Portal & facilities, rich use, back end integration, SSO, IDM etc.

Approach: generated SMT buy-in through Microsoft-led activities at TVP. Project team. Focus groups. Piloting & proofs of concept. Got some help! (Fulcrum). 3 parallel work streams: infrastructure; IDM & data migration; portal design & back-end integration, Agile/Scrum, .net into O365 Sharepoint.

How does it work? Create accounts in Cloud (SIS = Capita Unit-e) along with authentication. FIM & ADFS. Systems Integration – .net to Sharepoint. Some use of Lync.

What’s in it? See presentation.

Content & administration issues ref content from Schools. Feedback from students – overlap with groups in Facebook. Systems integration: interestingly, no harder than doing on-site.

We did it (within 5 weeks) & students like it. Say no more. & next Phase 2 – mobile, Lync, staff email, SSO for VLE & SIS, distance learning, etc. Phase 3 – August 2013 – further data integration, social features, business portals.

Fulcrum Worldwide for site customisations & systems integration.

Useful day – & now, publish & be damned, & out of here to catch that slow train to Southport…

#SCONUL12 Summer Conference 14th June 2012

Made a brief appearance on behalf of UCISA at the Society of College, National and University Libraries (SCONUL) Summer Conference, held at the Hilton Hotel in Liverpool, for a panel session on sharing best practice in evaluation strategies – along with Kitty Inglis, University Librarian at Sussex, and Karel Thomas, Executive Director of the British Universities Finance Director’s Group (BUFDG). Plus a surprisingly large – standing room only – and vocal audience, and great chairing from Sara Marsh, SCONUL Vice Chair and Director of Learner Support Services at the University of Bradford.

I expected a rather dry session on what looked like a rather dry subject, but far from it! Each panel member gave their 5 minute view of the area, followed by a surprisingly lively discussion. Following bullet points are the usual vague, inaccurate and repositioned recollection of some of what was said:

  • Kicked off talking about ITIL for Service Management/Evaluation & Programme Management/Benefits Realisation for evaluation of development
  • Projects deliver the capability to do things differently; benefits management tries to make sure that we do do things differently
  • Particular challenge when the benefits have to be realised in changes in ways of working in areas outside of the management control of the project/programme – even more of a problem for JISC programmes where the benefits have to be realised in a different organisation
  • Information services need to be useful, usable and used (thank you JISC) – benefits are in the used part, needs more focus
  • UCISA/SCONUL collect a lot of statistics, but are they the right ones/much use?
  • When we evaluate, are we hard enough on ourselves?
  • Need to look at LEAN – being looked at more in the sector
  • Benchmarking – not enough effort goes into establishing where we’re starting from, which makes it hard to evaluate how far we’ve travelled
  • Strategy maps – important to make sure we retain the connection between institutional level objectives and project/programme outputs (benefits mapping could also be applicable here)
  • Need to get closer to our Finance colleagues – our Finance colleagues need to get out more – investment appraisal, cost benefit analysis and all that stuff needs to be shared venture between Finance, supplier departments and stakeholders
  • Do we make enough use of our suppliers, for their strategic input rather than just the functionality of their products?
  • & finally, pointer to what looks like a very useful report from the US Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) – Value of Academic Libraries Summit White Paper – which I shall read when I get the chance.

So – great session, poor summary from me, looked like a really good conference, and wish I could have stayed…

#AUA12 AUA Conference Day 3 Manchester

Ewart Wooldridge/Leadership Foundation: The Psychological Contract

Should read ‘What Matters Now’ – Gary Hamel.

Aggregate of reciprocal expectations between University & all stakeholders.

New psychological contract – a paradigm shift? Yes, first paradigm shift of the day. Ref Matthew Taylor/RSA & citizenship. Student as customer? Co-creator? Citizen? Comprehensive to differentiated; collaborative to competitive; sector to system; trusted to challenged; certainty to uncertainty.

So what are key leadership issues?

  • Top: handling uncertainty & ambiguity. Yes – building the capacity for change!
  • Challenging inefficiency & reluctance to innovate
  • Being entrepreneurial
  • Making change happen
  • Collaborate AND compete
  • Engagement, creatively
  • Citizenship

Disruptive innovation; unbundling/disaggregation of the value chain = shared services, outsourcing; OER. So, DARE is an example of unbundling, break up of vertical integration. Example: BBC/ITV – have mostly outsourced their core product = making programmes.

10 key things.

  1. Leading the whole student experience. LFHE website: Developing the Whole Student/Dr Kathleen Quinlan. Creating organisational conditions; modelling a meaningful life; leadership of learning
  2. Public & societal engagement. Placing universities at the heart of social & economic advancement (UUK: Futures for HE/Analysing Trends)
  3. Distinctiveness. Components: Narrative Place Values Community Clusters. NPVCC. Dropped vision & mission – 50% of someone or other couldn’t identify their own. Mnemonic – Needs Positive Vice Chancellor Commitment – Oxford Brookes.
  4. Learning from Academic Leadership. Academics don’t see academic leaders as leaders. Academic leadership = oxymoron. I repeat, after all it was leadership that got us into this mess. Must be careful not to fall into traditional approaches to leadership. Listen; nurture; create; stimulate; engage. Quote from academic: ‘I really dislike this concept of leadership’.
  5. Professional vs Academic Leadership. Needs breaking down. No such thing as non-academic – no one should be referred to as what they’re not.
  6. Alignment. ‘For me, it’s more about a job well done & less about the cheese’. Cheese = strategy at end of the maze.
  7. Learning from other sectors. John Lewis; professional services; third sector. Not just private sector; note 58% of FDs now from private sector.
  8. Entrepreneurial leadership. Kanter: Measure themselves not by the standards of the past but by the vision of the future.
  9. New leadership qualities of challenge & support. Meaning, business focused, confidence, balancing support with strong challenge, clear narrative at ‘point of sail’, collaboration, energy.
  10. Discovering the magic in leadership. ‘We are such stuff as dreams are made on…’ Yeah, but depends on interpretation – the next bit goes ‘& our little life is rounded with a sleep’.

See new connections; transform the obvious; cross boundaries; use humour; trust & respect.

University answer to man from mars: ‘But we don’t have a leader to take you to’. Might be a good thing…my closing quote: ‘Don’t follow leaders, watch the parking meters’.