Changing Values

As an institution we have a new project running called the OER project (Open Educational Resources) and this has started some interesting conversations and thoughts over the university. As part of this a senior lecturer started talking to me about it on the train. They had a recent experience where learners had rebelled against the new forms of teaching in their award and requested a move back to the traditional lecture approach. As part of this the tutor has created an online paper, rather than getting them to research content to discuss.

They were interested in the value it would bring to the university and how we look at charging learners for their university experience, rather than just content. This has a clear link to the post, http://www.paulgraham.com/publishing.html which talks about how society willingly pays for media but not the content of the media (such as a set cost for a paperback regardless as to the content of the paperback, are all authors considered equal?). We talked about how the value was in the contact with the tutors, that it was going to become a personal experience, and the assessment to achieve an award, so it appears to be all the wrappers around the content (like the CD and its packaging).

I just wanted to get this thought down to see where it took me, and at the moment the project has a lot of questions to ask at Staffordshire University and externally to its value and cost. 

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Programme office

This is a big question for me, and the project, at the moment as its part of the next stage of the project. We have helped with the development of a strategy for the university around Curriculum Design and Development but how is that managed? How do we keep it up to date and what is the cost benefits to making all the recommended changes?

We have spoken to over 15 different initiatives in the university, plus senior management, discovered over 9 general CDD issues that overlap the initiatives and have suggested that they get addressed, but other than acknowleging that they are issues what depth of analysis do we need to do as a project to understand their impact to the University? Should this be done now or once agreed by Executive / Senior management that they are issues we need to investigate. How much time would need to be invested in this? Lots of questions on this going through my head and on top of that is how we engage in the piloting of project outputs and getting the rather informal initiatives to provide final reports that can then be used to build future recommendations? I will be covering this thought more in the main blog soon. I am also wondering if we are doing enough on expectations.

On the plus side we have a day with the cluster coming up next week so that we can discuss things like the base line report and using modeling, after that we have a SMWG meeting and in a few weeks time it will be the programme meeting so a lot of getting together and chatting about thoughts on the project.

Thoughts Please

I am testing polls out here, I am interested in those of you out there involved in the Award development process. Please take a moment to answer my quiz!

Paperwork a go go

I have a telephone conversation with Tony (our critical friend) today about the level of input that appears to be going into the official documentation for JISC. This has become a bit of a bug bear for us as each submission seems to be leading to more suggestions, and guidelines on some documentation is somewhat limited before submission – so expecting further work on existing documentation in the future. It does seem that the level of advice is the same for those with project management experience and those without, and everything needs to be explicitely stated more than at any point in the past.

Project Plan

Work has been busy recently and I have finally managed the JISC final Project Plan, although this is not the final one for the project as it will continue to be refined based on the work taking place within the project. I have had a number of different things appear on my to do list and also as things to be noted, I am trying to get them all down and done but no doubt I will lose something.

The main thing two things I need to deal with are:

  1. I need to sit down and organise an end of phase day with the project team so that we can see what is happening for the next phase and to make sure everyone is happy with where we are at the moment.
  2. Deal with capturing what constitutes a better student experience with the help of the student union.

From my own learner perspective here at the university I was surprised that I have a general student number and a different student username to login to the computer systems. This means my last two assignments have gone in with the incorrect data on it. This assumption has come from me working in FE where they were one in the same,  did I miss something during induction (as I was away that day)? Is there something hidden in the depths of my award handbook that explains the difference? Something to consider Рif I miss it how many others do and what impact does it really have?

I have  been reading a draft from Shrewsbury on their tutors perspectives to HE in FE, this was very interesting and related to the information from the HELP CETL http://www.help-cetl.ac.uk/?p=4_3 where issues around resources and timetabling was seen across the board with colleges delivering HE in FE Рbut little to help with understanding how we can deal with these issues, if indeed it is possible at all. Fingers crossed on that.

Business Rules and Processes

After a week of meetings an interesting thought has developed about how we manage a change to business rules. Do we have processes for this or is it, as I feel, more reactive than we would like as an organisation? It has become clear with discussions that historically both processes and rules are put in place with little consultation with on the ground staff. As the University is moving forward more focus groups are being used to discuss aspects of the business, this seems to be linked more to processes. I would have to assume, which can be dangerous, that rules are still only being reviewed at committee level. Is this really the case? It might be time to find out.

Supporting Processes

A number of things are happening with the project at the moment which involves a fair bit of thinking. The main thing really is how we link iniatives to different themes, and what those themes should be. Should they be the same as in the project bid, or be reviewed? My feeling is that they need to be reviewed based on the work done so far and on the presentation from Monday at the SMWG meeting (the presentations for this are available from the main project blog). We have a meeting next week to discuss this but I have a feeling this will take some work. Along with this we need to think about how these theme are bought together, as Enable is being retrofitted to these iniatives this will also be an interesting challenge.