Monday, 31 January 2011

We make it so hard

Thank you Mark for the welcome back!

As Mark said in the last Enable Blog, the Enable methodologies are being successfully embedded into relevant plans and strategies, and more importantly the message that we need to think about our information as a whole and separate to our systems is becoming widely accepted within the university and we are hearing it repeated at different committees, and was widely accepted at our SMWG meeting.

The SWMG meeting on Friday, left us feeling very positive about what we have already done and the way we can move forward. We spoke about the recognised opportunities that adopting Enterprise Architecture & Programme Management would give the university, and that the lead for this needed to come from Executive. More importantly Executive recognised the need for them to be able to lead it and have gone away with a number of papers, with actions, to consider. We look forward to what takes place over the next few months.

Rather interesting it was clear that discussions around how the university needs to have a corporate view of university systems/ information/ processes, and how we manage them had taken place in other meeting where it had been deemed "to hard", and that it was easier to focus on changing small issues without recognising the projects longer term impact. We discussed that we make things hard for ourselves - by repeating the same mistakes the job becomes harder. We need to understand is using EA / TOGAF too hard? Or is it simply a matter of understanding that it's a job that needs doing, requires time and (the right) staff to enable it to happen (with the right governance)? Once this understanding has taken place and actions taken surely it is simply a matter of time and effort rather than any sort of brain surgery/rocket science? We shall see!

Another useful message we managed to communicate during the SMWG meeting was that stakeholder engagement was vital to successful engagement in managing change and the curriculum development - and this doesn't simply mean engaging in committees. It means talking to people and, importantly listening with out judging/ justifying.

Lastly we were able to successfully demonstrate the two mini projects External Examiners and TransAPEL - but we were very clear that Enable used these two mini projects as proof of concept and was not something the Enable team should be doing day to day. We need to focus on the wider aspects of Curriculum Design and Development, and help the university make good choices in the future about project work and developing its business processes etc. We need to be able to advise the Executive but not be those who implement it. It will be interesting to see how our developments are (if successfully piloted) will be embedded into the university processes. Watch here over the next few months as both systems enter a piloting phase.

Edit (07/02/2011)
Our Presentation (with sound) to the SMWG

Friday, 21 January 2011


Firstly, let me say how good it is to have Fleur back in action!

Since my last blog entry a number of things worth commenting on have happened:

Firstly our Technology Supported Learning Strategic Plan 2010-2014 has been approved by committee and is now in place. The work and goals of ENABLE are embedded in this and this will allow these to be sustained beyond the end of the funded period of ENABLE. The TSL Plan has informed the University's Teaching Learning and Assessment Strategy (nearing publication) and will also guide current work on the emerging Information Strategy.

Work on our external examiner mini-project, the TransAPEL project and the "Change Heap" are all progressing well, and the first two will demonstrated to the ENABLE Senior Management Working Group next week. Neil Witt visited us in November to progress the Pineapple benefits realisation work that links to TransAPEL and had a series of good meetings with staff engaged in our current APEL processes. Ultimately, the work on APEL will link to the University's CRM initiative as well.

Michael Gunn, our new VC, is now in place, and I have meeting with him in early February which I am looking forward to.

I had a useful meeting with our Partnerships Team in November and went through the feed back from the ENABLE partner colleges with them. The team has reorganised and each partner college now has their own designated Partnership Manager. This will go a long way towards addressing some of the concerns expressed by college partners earlier in ENABLE's work.

Sam's work on Enterprise Architecture has resulted in him being engaged to provide consultancy to the Bracken project in Wales (led by Professor Tony Toole, ENABLE's Critical Friend).

Helen Walmsley is working with our Quality Team to embed her work on eLearning Models in the curriculum development/validation process. We plan to link this to Ben Scoble's work on Role/Competence based approaches to staff development to enable courses to identify their requirements in delivering chosen approaches and aid capacity planning.

Our interim report to JISC has been well received and looks like it will result in a range of valuable dissemination opportunities and further engagement with other projects.

As I noted in previous blogs, I have been chairing a group looking at the need for document management in the University (an issue ENABLE picked up on early in our EA work). The position paper produced by the group was accepted by our Information Strategy Group and our Information Services are now charged with carrying out a full feasibility study and producing a business case for consideration by Business Development Group.

Lastly, it is becoming increasingly clear that the ENABLE message that we need to take an organisational view of our information and move towards ensuring that information can be used and shared flexibly and easily has not fallen on deaf ears and senior colleagues have begun to express similar views in committees...