Wednesday, 25 February 2009

Useful Information from external sites

I have just been doing a review of the which is the JISC programme environment for Enable and related projects. As part of this I see that they have some useful resources linked through. Including the following

Initiative meeting

We have had two initiative meetings this week, the first was around APEL; what issues we had in handling APEL from potential learners, and how we generally handled learners wishing to embark on HE without formal qualifications, but with years of experience in the work place. The discussions lead to the thought that we could become much slicker in this process and use the negotiated framework from existing awards in Health and FCET to back up APEL and learners getting the right award at the right level.
The second meeting was focused on the way the university handles information, originally called the Intranet project it became clear that it was more of an information project in that it was reviewing the information held in the university. This included discussions about what the target audience was for the information, where it was stored, and whether there is a way to share that information online - or if there was a need to share it online. There were some big problems highlighted in this meeting and it comes back to earlier blog comments in previous posts, there was little clear vision from 'higher' as to what was expected from the project, what it's aims were and the direction it was expected to go. There was talk around the governance of information for the project and it is clear that this governance (including a group of faculty and service leaders) needs to be in place before the project (or any project embracing the information in the University) should start so that changes to information and how it is delivered can be managed in the right direction for the university.

Friday, 20 February 2009

Critical friend visit

We had a successful critical friend visit with Tony where I gave the first version of the new partner presentation I did, to give him an idea of how the partners fit in with the project. We also gave Tony a break down of the Hub / Spoke / Theme idea for the project and discussed some of the issues that the project is unearthing including identity/ role management, funding devolved faculties, work planning and managing the development of new product. Tony stated that some(or all) these problems exist within most institutions, and it is how we handle solving them that will be interesting. The fact that we have had initiatives that keep bringing up the same issues means that we need to sit down and think about how we solve them. As part of the visit we have given Tony viewing access to the Live Office environment, where we are holding our draft project documentation and have invited him to one of our SMWG meetings (see when the next one is yourselves with the calendar on the right).
Sam spoke about the work he was doing with the process mapping and the standards that we are going with and how they are converging. Hopefully when his thoughts are more clear there will be more about that on this site. Jenny gave Tony a quick view of what one of the initiatives was up to - DIVAS (blog links on the right) and we spoke for some time about the validation process, the perspectives of partner colleges about the experience and supporting those participating in it.
This week has also seen me writting a chapter overview on Work Based Learning and thinking about writing an abstract for ALT-C 2009 on this project and managing change. Next week I am attending a number of WBL and product design related meetings along with some more initiative interviews so a busy week. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, 18 February 2009

Catching up

The weekly catch up meeting was very interesting with Mark this week, we have a number of tasks for the next week, mostly based on the blog I wrote last week while Mark was away. We are still planning to speak to Gill Howland about the Change Groups that have been set up within the university, and as part of this we will be pointing her to my notes in Elgg around project management. For this I needed to spend some time making them a bit tidier than they were originally. We need to get this sorted fairly quickly so we don’t have a number of different groups going off in different directions.

I have also given Mark, Jenny and Sam access to the work I am doing in MS Office Live, which gives them access to all the contacts for the project, and the start of the evaluation document. I have requested a meeting on this with the whole team as it is a big job that needs to be done with the entire team rather than just me in a room on my own. At this meeting we will need to discuss our strategy around engaging employers and learners. Mark is planning to talk to the Students Union before this meeting to ensure they are on board.

I have finished the presentation to partners, including me speaking over it, and have published it in the Elgg group for now. I have also uploaded it to sliderocket but this has stripped out the sound, so I am having to spend some time getting that back in, which is a pain as I recorded it in PowerPoint directly rather than using MP3’s which means I have had to use Audacity to pull the sound out of PowerPoint (rather than re-doing it all again)

Finally we have a critical friend meeting today with Tony Toole, which should be interesting.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Life, the University, and change

As Mark has been away this week the project has yet to hear back about how the new change groups will fit within the Enable project. I have, however, updated Elgg with my notes from the training Sam and I did late last year (which I always meant to talk about but never quite got around to) which talks about managing complex projects, programmes and portfolios. As I continue to try and read the Project Management book I have it has become clear we need to manage what is going on in the University with regards to managing change around curriculum design and development. Obviously this will be discussed at my next Enable meeting with Mark next week.

I have also started thinking about writing the Evaluation plan, this is something that looks like taking up a lot of time, but as part of the work I recognised we need to find a baseline for the employer stakeholder. I have been on the email with Richard Benefer who seems to have provided me with the answer to my prayers, an Employer Engagement report for Staffordshire University in 2006. I have uploaded it to the new Live Office space I have created (yes I’m testing new communication tools for the project as GoogleDocs doesn’t quite hit the spot). Of course the next step will be to get baseline from learners too…

Last but not least, based on feedback on the partner presentation and discussions with Sam I am attempting a new approach to the presentation for the visits to Shrewsbury, Ashton, Stafford and Burton. See it here soon!

Friday, 6 February 2009

one week and one day ago

I released the Elgg network to the SMWG last week and found that only one member has managed to successfully join the network. We will have to keep an eye on this and see if the others join slowly over the next few weeks, or even just before the next working group in March.
Edit 02/2011
Since then all members have successfully accessed the Elgg (SUN) site and it has been used to disseminate the different aspects of Enable to those SMWG members unable to attend the meetings. It has also been used to store sanitised versions of the interviews for members to read, and has started some useful conversations. Using it as a consistent source of information for the SMWG has helped make it successful. As a whole using Elgg has been very successful for internal communication, much better than using outside tools that can change their charging models at a moments notice (Ning/

There have been a number of discussions this week about the role of Enable and how it should work in the university, the main idea being that this project is a "programme" that focuses on managing change around Curriculum Design and Development, to include looking at the curriculum, the student experience and learning and teaching. Rather interestingly the Executive are also looking at starting and number of change groups in these areas, as well as Research. This could end up with being a duplication of effort or confusing roles. How will Enable be fitted into these groups? This is something that has been top of our minds this week as we go on with our work.

Other thoughts have been around CETIS's phone call and supporting the change of the learning and teaching using PHOEBE, this is something that will not be addressed in Enable yet. However these thoughts raise the question do we need an initiative that will look at ways to use HIVE and learning object creators in the best way? This will be something that can be thought about more when we get the latest version of HIVE as some software that comes with it may answer some of the questions being raised at this point.