Thursday, 29 January 2009

Documents, Social Networking and Helping Others

Since Tuesday I have been very busy working on the Enable Social Networking side of things, the university has been developing a new tool, elgg ( that I have been investigating for the project as the tool for communication for those involved in the project at Staffordshire University. So far my work has been very successful and I have managed to create pages to link to resources in HIVE, and have uploaded files directly into elgg where they don't need to be accessed outside of the university. All good, it is a shame that the links to HIVE still open up that extra window, and therefore there is still no easy right click/ download file option for end users, but it seems much better than using forum software. I have also created pages based on the events JISC have run with regards to supporting the project.

I have also been working on getting the Validation Support Point right for the Enable group, including changing the logo to just being the power button, so it is clearly associated with the enable project, and sending an invite from that group to the main project partner contacts. I have also started making friends with partners who have already joined the network. This has not resulted in anyone new being a member to the Enable/ Foundation degree group but hopefully it will over the next few weeks - this could be linked to colleges not being able to see the site correctly.

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Sunblock needed?

OK so I had a SURF meeting and unfortunately not one that includes sun, sea and ice-cream. The meeting went well, with talk around how colleges go about contacting the university and working on new products with the university and what would be the ideal. We were brought back to the validation process and the academic planning process being a long and difficult - often with what appears to be documentation that seems redundant once it has gone through the processes. It was also seen as an idea to train those involved in validation panels, and even review if Validation Events are necessary in all cases. Is there a better, more efficient way of handling validation?

I have also had a meeting about the Validation Support Network, this has been to see how we can make it as easy as possible for partner colleges to use. I have written a short help file on writing a blog and posted it in the Foundation degree group, however it does not look like anyone from the colleges has made themselves members of this group. I will need to think about how I handle this work and whether we can have blog templates and other documents to help colleges with their work in this site, especially as some of the colleges are having technical problems with accessing the site.

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Partner Colleges, language and terms

We had our last project partner welcome meeting on Friday afternoon, and all in all it was a very interesting meeting. We did the usual presentation (which can be seen on the main project blog - and some good points were raised:
  1. The presentation uses a number of slides from the SMWG meeting and were seen as too academic in language in comparison to the FE colleges, although the language for the presentation was pitched at the right level the slides on their own were too much. I guess this means I might have to record a "pitch" to go with the slides on line...
  2. That the language used for the partners was assumptive - use of "HE Forum" is not something at each college, some use the term lifelong learning group, although they do the same thing.

This leads to a couple of thoughts, and I hope that it will raise a discussion up either here, or in the Validation Support Network that the partner colleges are all invited to (

  • How does the join between colleges and the university work? From the University there is a Link Tutor, but what about before the award is developed? Who contacts who from the college to the university?
  • How is HE provision managed at the colleges?

Any thoughts/ comments etc welcome

Tuesday, 13 January 2009

New Year, No moss

The new year has now got rolling, and the project is still moving forward, so there is no moss sticking to the sides ;). There have been a number of project meetings including one around Distance Learning which was very interesting, and a SMWG meeting that was this morning. We had a number of the SMWG missing from today's meeting which was a shame but we still had some interesting discussions around the Spoke issues identified so far, the MIAP initiative and how it could be part of the work on Roles and Indentity Management, and the project progress. Role and Identity Managment is still the main issue that has been highlighted by the project and is something Mark is working with the IS team to create some scoping criteria. We then raised a second issue at the meeting around Course Information. Mark provided a presentation on this:

For the rest of this week I have an evaluation day to attend in Birmingham, and then I will be finishing off the first draft of the project plan for submission to JISC on Friday. We are also having a second partner meeting on Friday for those who could not attend the first one last year.