After over a decade of supporting Jisc innovation and projects a new future beckons for CETIS. Following the Wilson review of Jisc, the organisation has confirmed that it will continue to provide “core” funding to CETIS until July 2013. Since 1998 CETIS has established a global reputation in the fields of educational technology and interoperability, from July 2013 we will build on that reputation and work with other partners to ensure that interoperability is a key consideration for Universities and Colleges.
In response to the announcement close colleague and former chair of our Board, Professor Mark Stiles said:
“CETIS is recognised internationally as an invaluable centre of expertise. As universities struggle to address the very real challenges confronting them, CETIS will be an essential source of guidance and support. The need for universities to take an enterprise view of their information, not just for learning and teaching but also organisationally, will place standards and interoperability high on the national agenda, and I am confident that CETIS will be more than able to respond to this and become ever more successful. Whilst the Board has been wound up, its members, including myself, are committed to continuing to work with, and support, CETIS in its reborn form.”
We will continue to work with Jisc, and other agencies and organisations in the sector. Many of our partners see us as a “trusted” broker for information and future developments of educational technology and standards in education, and we aim to maintain that role. We are currently working with a number of our partners with a view to funding future activities.
Over the next seven months CETIS and Jisc will work together to develop a new relationship. We are also actively seeking out new collaboration opportunities with a range of stakeholders in the education sector and looking forward to maintaining and extending our valued position in national and international developments around the use of educational technology, interoperability and standards.
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Jisc for supporting our work in the sector over the last decade and look forward to continuing to working together in key areas in future years.
I was pleased to attend with JISC colleagues the recent
UCISA Business Intelligence event in Bristol In the context of current CETIS work in the support and synthesis project for Customer Relationship Management (CRM) Student Life-cycle support project.
There were a variety of speakers at the event and a great deal consistency of issues raised, issues relevant to our work in CRM/SLRM. There were however also some quite notable inconsistencies.
One of the speakers described business intelligence in Higher Education (HE) as being a “mature “ area whilst another revealed when conducting an ad hoc straw poll of those attending the event (largely UCISA members ,Management and Information Systems Managers/Directors in HE) asking the audience to categorise where they believed their institutions were with Business Intelligence as Crawlers (Very much at the early scoping stage) Walkers (Scoping and pre-planning stage) and Runners (Planning and implementation stage) Out of an audience there were no runners about six or seven confessed walkers with the rest of us admitting to being crawlers, which I think is probably a more accurate reflection as to where institutions are just now.
William Liew and Martine Carter talked about Business intelligence activities at the University of Bristol which were driven from a financial measurement perspective and their attempts to integrate systems across research, procurement and student data and in their words “eliminate” local systems in order striving for the very bold ambition of“true” data for financial purposes. In their work they recognised multi stakeholder perspectives and quite honestly detailed the barriers they encountered. I must confess to having a little difficulty when one approach or one model is presented as THE model. Models from my perspective are a useful tool “A way of presenting a particular view of the world or representation from a particular perspective “too often they presented as THE view of THE organisations, it is one of the inherent deficiencies of modelling of any persuasion.
I was also very interested in David Sowerby’s presentation regarding the University of Bedfordshire’s student retention system and recognised the potential significance of this approach, in particular given the current Border Agency requirements of institutions to monitor foreign student attendance. Metrics relating to student “engagement” were presented, metrics based on consistent parameters being applied across the institution and values set against these parameters to define levels of student “Engagement” in order to flag up potential retention issues… all interesting stuff.
Some of the key points in BI implementation highlighted were:
1. Stakeholder Engagement buy-in ownership was essential.
2. The need for (process) modelling.
3. Data Quality – Bad data in Bad data out.
4. The need for meaningful Key Performance Indicators (KPI)
I am mindful that I will be attending the IMS GLC Learning Impact conference in the US in May 2010 and contributing to the Analytics discussions at this event.
I suspect our US colleagues are, using the earlier analogy, runners and they will indeed be running with Business Intelligence, although whether this is in the right direction will be the big question.
I have just been digesting the content of “Higher Ambitions” the governments recently published ‘framework” for the future of Universities here in the UK.
The impact of this report will be significant in shaping future priorities and investment in the sector and as such will frame much of the activity that JISC and JISC CETIS will undertake over the coming years. If not framing future activity it will certainly frame the environment in which we operate. The document does outline useful observations, in particular, relating to work-based learning , business and community engagement and in anticipation of the changing student demographic. These are themes that have been explored by the JISC through it’s funding and development activities over the last few years and as such is a strong endorsement of the current JISC strategy.
Technology is highlighted as a key element of the sectors global competitiveness although those of us who remember the e-university project will proceed with some caution in pursuing these ambitious objectives. More concerning is, what I consider, an over emphasis on the STEM subjects seen as,to the detriment of arts and the humanities, the key to future economic growth and the implicit suggestion that the key metrics applied to determine the “quality” of education are employability or a “good” job (whatever that may be). The report fails to recognize the massive contribution the arts and humanities make to society, even using the preferred metrics of government , financial, the arts and humanities generate around 30% of research income for UK universities.
Somewhere the “joy” of learning as reward in itself is lost and there seems little recognition of the benefits, economic or otherwise, of subjects such as the classics. I’m mindful that many of our current crop of politicians ,received their political grounding in the classics and other theoretical subjects. Many of our celebrated entrepreneurs also received a “classical” education. The government recently appointed Martha Lane-Fox as head of digital inclusion, Martha is highly regarded as a vanguard for women in technology and her entrepreneurial skills and yes Martha studied “classical” History at Oxford; I’m sure that she would contest the value of her studies in helping shape her successful business career.
One hopes that we don’t loose sight of the bigger picture in education by sacrificing the arts, humanities and the classics in striving for the perceived and dubious short term economic benefits of business/employment related courses, do we even run the risk of “training” our students for jobs that may not exist?