ENTSIG now 5 days a week and very busy!

I haven’t written in my workblog much lately as I’ve just been so busy! It was always much the same when I kept diaries, when life was quiet there were endless long diary entries as I lay around drinking tea and talking to the cat, but when life was a whirl of parties and pirates, nothing got written down.

The main news is that I am now working 5 days a week, for the first time since doing the Enterprise SIG, which started all of 4 years ago back in Jan 2003. When I started the SIG, I was also teaching English GCSE 5 hours a week, so I took the SIG on at 4 days a week. When the year of GCSE teaching finished, I began a part time Heritage MA, so stayed at 4 days a week. When I finished the taught part of the MA, I was so tired from all the working and learning I stayed at 4 days! However, my workload has been getting bigger and bigger, and I’ve just taken on a day a week as part of the XCRI Support Project, so I’m now on a 5 day working week.

XCRI is the eXchanging Course Information project that emerged out of the Enterprise SIG members collectively noticing a lack of a standardised approach to formatting and exchanging course information. The project has been gathering momentum like a small but persistent wave as various institutions implement the XCRI schema, and the JISC has just funded 6 mini projects to implement the XCRI Course Advertising Profile, which will be supported by the XCRI Team of Mark Stubbs, Ben Ryan, Scott Wilson and myself. I just looked online for a cool team of 4 consisting of 3 men and a woman and found these:  http://www.internationalhero.co.uk/f/fabfour.htm. I’m obviously Polly, so I have a human mind inhabiting an android body, can fly and also generate a superstrong polyfilament fibre to bind opponents, which should be very useful whilst running the support project. XCRI website: http://www.elframework.org/projects/xcri.

The Fab Four met for the first XCRI Support Team meeting in Manchester on 23rd Feb, and laid out our strategy for world domination, I mean, supporting the XCRI mini projects. We also met with some nice people from GMSA (Greater Manchester Strategic Alliance: http://www.gmsa.ac.uk/) who are interested in XCRI, and Richard Hartley, Head of Information and Communications at MMU, who is from an excellent library background (Librarians Rule, see:  http://librarianavengers.org/?page_id=3).

On Thursday 1st March, I went up to Bolton to meet Scott, Mark Power and Sam Easterby-Smith to discuss the new XCRI website, and plan user scenarios for people using the website. This was a great task for a would-be novelist like myself, sadly Scott only let me name two of the hypothetical users (mind you, Mark did invent a great name), and I had to stop short at planning their entire back stories, and focus on brainstorming their likely requirements from the new XCRI site.

We are planning an XCRI mini projects start up meeting on March 30th (which will probably be in Oxford) and an XCRI showcase in September, when the 6 month mini projects finish. We also intend to present and demo XCRI at a couple of conferences.

And Enterprise SIG? I’m currently planning the next meeting, which Sandra Kingston has kindly offered to host in Nottingham, in either April or May. As usual, contact me at V.R.Zarach@bolton.ac.uk if you want to present, or request any particular topics to focus on. I’ve also been involved in the beginning stages of hunting for a location for the next JISC CETIS Conference (sadly they won’t do Disneyland Paris).

 So, enough blogging, and back to the grindstone!

JISC Toolkits & Demonstrators 2007 Start Up Meeting

Last week I went to a meeting in London, for 9 new toolkit and demonstrator projects.

I hate going on the underground, but I found a great London travel website, and printed out maps and journey times for London buses, and managed to find my way to the meeting.

The meeting was interesting, and the new toolkits and demonstrators sound great, but as Enterprise SIG coordinator, I’m particularly interested in Selwyn Lloyd’s Group Calendaring Web Service, and Carol Shergold and Paolo Oprandi’s XMarks Project, looking at moving assessment and marks data between SRS and VLE (a issue crossing the remits of Enterprise and Assessment SIGs). I was also interested in EFSCE, a project to enable learners to fill course evaluation forms online, something I would have found handy when I was a student.

 Sheila and I gave a presentation about the JISC-CETIS Special Interest Groups, and encouraged projects to come along to meetings.

 The projects finish in 6 months time!