Thursday, 30 September 2010

Ploughing on...

Well, since my last post, I've been working hard on getting the revised and updated version of the University's Technology Supported Learning Strategic Plan ready to go to Committee. Whilst the overall focus of the plan hasn't changed, the emphasis and priorities have. Many of the things we have found from the work of ENABLE (the original plan was written before ENABLE started) have become much more pressing and have become vital parts of the revised plan. In particular, the need for a hollistic view of Information and the wider availability of, and access to, readily shared data are paramount.

I had a useful update meeting with a colleague from Information Services who updated me and one of of team on progress on implementing the Snapshot integration facility for Blackboard. Progress on this had been slow, but at last implementation is drawing close.

Our TransAPEL project has established a link with Plymouth's Pineapple project. The Pineapple team will be creating a version of their software (which manages the business processes surrounding APEL) based on Staffordshire's APEL business processes - and this can then be "wrapped around" TRansAPEL (treating TransAPEL as a "black box" - important as we are keeping the detail of TransAPEL "under wraps"). In terms of TransAPEL itself, work proceeds apace...

I've been in contact with our College Partners on the ENABLE project and they have been very quick at providing me with updates on curriculum developments they are involved in with the University - thanks!

We had a great visit from Mark Stubbs from MMU, who talked to myself and our
Director of Academic Development about their institutional EQAL initiative to transform their curriculum and associated information handling. The parallels between their situation and ours was very marked.

Sam and I attended a Curriculum Design & Development Programme Cluster meeting at MMU this week and heard more about EQAL and also heard about progress made at Leeds Met and Bolton with their CDD projects. A very useful day...

Various things of late have strongly reinforced the need for an "Enterprise" approach to information and the need for a institutional programme office - no doubt Sam will say more about this...

Thursday, 9 September 2010

Well - it's down to me then

First congratulations to Fleur and her brand new baby boy Ewan!

With Fleur off on maternity leave for while, Sam and I are moving on as best we can. Sam is working hard on the External Examiner mini-project (and the ENABLE spoke TRANSAPEL) and of course carrying on with the Enterprise mapping work. Sadly, as well losing Fleur for a bit, Jenny Yorke, Learning Development Coordination Manager, and a Strategic Manager for ENABLE, has been off with ill-health for some months now - she is sorely missed and I wish her a successful recovery.

Since Fleur had her happy event (somewhat unexpectedly) a couple of weeks back, I've had some meetings with our senior management about the whole area of EA and particularly Course Related Information, and we are lucky to have Prof Mark Stubbs coming next week to talk to us about what he is doing at MMU. Hopefully this will help emphasise the importance of the work and findings of ENABLE at Staffordshire.

In late July I attend the JISC Innovations Forum at Royal Holloway. This was an excellent event. I attended a really interesting session (honest!) on the pros and cons of Prince 2 and Agile approaches to project management and another on organisational change. I also met up with Prof Peter Hartley from Bradford - as well as it being nice to see him again, he was very intersted in our EA work at Staffs and offered to discuss his own institutions work on mobile technologies as a "knowledge exchange" - I hope to progress this soon.

The TRANSAPEL work has being going really well - seeing a group of academics agree a definition of something as contentious as "a competence" in a very short time during a meeting highlighted how much everyone is "up for" the projects goals...

I've had a good meeting with Sheila Dexter who updated me on progress in the area of Academic Planning and another with colleagues from Information Services about on-going work on Study Skills - an important area at the moment. (They commented on the interesting perception issues between some teaching staff and professional staff based in services....)

Work on rolling out the OER work and getting our Hive repository on a "service footing" still proceeds, and I had an excellent meeting with Information Services which made real progress on the issues around process ownership and roles as we move the repository into wider use...

I'm now wrestling with the list of jobs Fleur left me - along with very precise instructions ;)