Monday, 29 June 2009

RUGIT at King's

Spent the day in London today at a RUGIT meeting - boy was it hot! We were meeting at Kings College - one the few Russell Group Universities I've never been to. didn't get chance to see much of it, but it's in a very good location - on The Strand, overlooking the Thames. There's a lovely chapel which I managed to peak into.

Main items of business today included Budgets, Benchmarking and Business Continuity. Everyone is planning for the effects of the economic downturn to be felt, and we discussed a number of ways in which we could cut costs whilst maintaining services. Reviewing all of our contracts with suppliers, including maintenance agreements and software licence arrangements was discussed, as well as streamlining business processes across different schools and faculties and using IT to help the Unviersity become more efficient. Also outsourcing - where there is minimum risk, low levels of complexity and high volumes, such as email and storage.

I've lost count of the number of times we've discussed benchmarking - it's a topic that won't go away, especially as our own institutions want to know if we're being cost effective and provding value for money. The problme we always come up against is our widely different portfolios services and structures - it's very difficult not to compare apples and pears. But, we're going to have another go!

Business continuity remains high on everyone's agenda with a number of HEIs reporting cases of swine flu. Pleased to note that all IT Directors getting the same reaction as me - people will work from home using our email/web/corporate systems, use our VLEs to teach, our research computing facilities and electronic resources. Because our systems will keep running won't they? Because we're not going to get ill! It was pointed out that systems often break when changes are applied and not often when they're running in steady state. So. don't make changes. Or, implement ITIL and make them in a carefully controlled way....

Twittering away

I’m sitting on an early morning train to London for a RUGIT meeting, and I’m thinking about Twitter. Sad you might think (but it is early!). But no, I don’t think it’s sad – it’s the social networking/web2.0/whateveryouwanttocallit tool that I use the most at the moment. I was trying to think why. Well, it’s easy to use; I can use it wherever I am as it works just as well from a mobile phone using a client or just plain old SMS; I can use if for all sorts of useful things including:
  • finding out about world events – coming home in the car the other night wondering why Michael Jackson was a trending topic and then following the is he?/ isn’t he? debate was fascinating
  • getting updates from the met office about local weather
  • discussing TV programmes (especially the Apprentice!) while it’s on with colleagues
  • taking part in the back channel discussion during a conference I couldn’t attend whilst watching the streaming video of the proceedings
  • following events during the Iranian protest when Twitter seemed to be the only way the protesters could get information out
  • looking at Stephen Fry’s exquisite photographs of endangered species
  • hearing about technology launches (that’s how I first heard of Google wave)
  • keeping in touch with friends and colleagues
  • generally just being nosey
There's lots more but they're the first ones that came into my head. I find Twitter very difficult to explain to people who just don’t get it. My advice is to use it, then decide whether or not it’s for you (and it isn’t for everyone). But if you are going to use it, then I suggest you use it properly. Of course, properly means the way I use it and according to my rules, which are:
  • Use your real name - not necessarily as your user name but it should be there
  • Don’t block your updates – if you do, I won’t follow you (there’s a couple of exceptions – that’s what rules are for!)
  • Don’t lurk. If you want to know what I’m doing, have the decency to register and follow me.
  • Post updates yourself – it’s all about sharing information. If I look at your profile and find you’re following me but don’t actually post anything yourself, then I’ll block you.
  • Mix business with pleasure – you can tweet about work, your social life, send interesting links, tell jokes – anything.
  • Use hashtags – especially if you’re at a conference or an event.
I’ve heard it described as an internet fad, the latest bandwagon, something ephemeral. It might be, but does it matter? If something better comes along – great. Does that mean we shouldn’t be using technologies that are around now but might not be in the future? Of course not. One of the most exciting things about being involved with technology is experimenting with stuff, seeing how it works, seeing what uses there might be for it. Well, that's what I think. Course, I could be wrong....

Friday, 26 June 2009

Learning Hub

Today, as a change from Business Continuity Planning, I went to the Project Executive Group of the Learning Hub. This is an exciting development and will see the remaining part of the Jessop Hospital, the Edwardian Wing, completely renovated and refurbished with a an extention to replace the most dilapidated part of the building. It will provide teaching space as well as some specialist facilities for students inclduing digital language labs and the MASH (Maths and Statistics help) service. A planning application has been submitted, and the contracting process has begun, with start on site expected to be December 2009 and completion sometime during the first half of 2011.

As in all new buildings we have to provide some form of public art, and in this case it could be quite exciting. There will be a sunken lawn with seating around it which can be used as a small performance space by the Department of Music. Built into the seating it's proposed to have a neon strip displaying the names of people who have been born in the Jessop Hospital.

We'll have to make sure we get some external wireless base stations out there as well!

I'm pleased to say that the building is being designed by the same excellent architects who did the Information Commons - RMJM, and we look forward to being heavily involved in the design and operation of it.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009


I'm spending a lot of time planning at the moment. Planning for a possible pandemic flu outbreak, either now or later in the year. Hopefully won't happen, but we need to be prepared if it does. How would we manage if 20% of our staff were off? What services would we prioritise, and would our systems cope with the increased load of more people remote working? I chair the University Business Continuity Operations group, so I'm looking not just at the IT side of things, but all operational areas of the University. Fortunately we're about to appoint a Business Continuity Manager, so I'll soon have someone to delegate to!

Also planning for financial uncertainty. Not that I think there's anything uncertain about Higher Education funding - we're going to get less. So, planning for what our priorities are, what are the core things we should concentrate on, what could we outsource or stop doing. And just as important - how can we keep doing exciting and innovative things, not just running existing core services. Also looking at how we can help the rest of the University do more with less and work more efficiently. So, some interesting decisions to take over the summer.

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

The Edgeless University

Following hot on the heels of the Web 2.0 and Higher Education report comes another study supported by JISC - The Edgeless University: why higher education must embrace technology.
It's a comprehensive report - over 80 pages, and I've only skimmed it so far and will read in more detail later - and explores the impact of technological and social change on universities. The research was carried out by DEMOS, a London based think tank, and argues that technology in higher education is not just about virtual learning environments, but is increasingly central to the way higher education institutions provide learning and facilitate research.

There's also a podcast to go with the launch from David Lammy, Minister for Higher Education and IPR in which he announces a new £20m innovation fund for open learning.

There's a number of themes running through the report - the need for Universities to embrace new technologies and methods of teaching, to be responsive to student expectations and the changing learner environment, and the need for openness. The report is not advocating a move to totally on line learning and recognises the need for quality face to face contact with academic staff.

There's a lovely quote from someone who attended one of the roundtable discussions held to inform the report:

"This seminar feels a bit like sitting with a group of record industry executives in 1999."

I know how they felt - I've felt the same in some discussions I've been in! Our heads must be pulled firmly out of the sands and we need to learn lessons from what happened to that sector when the threat was not to the music industry itself, but to the business models that sustained it.

I'm going to finish with a quote stolen shamelessly from Brian Kelly on the UK Web Focus blog:

"A few weeks ago the “Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World” report was published. And today we see another report which provides a similar top-down view on the importance of Web 2.0 in higher education. If you encounter resistance to change from senior managers in your institution I’d suggest you beat them over the head with these two reports until they realise that Web 2.0 is changing the higher educational environment."

The only change I'd make is to add "and other IT Professionals" after senior managers......

Friday, 19 June 2009

Laughology and Learning Spaces

Laughology - there's a term I hadn't heard until yesterday. It was the final session at INULS, and Stephanie Davies exercised our humour muscles to show us how being in a good humour and laughing can make us see things in a different light and be more positive. An excellent way to finish the day - she had everyone laughing, and made even a room full of librarians go wild and crazy ;-) With a toolset of techniques which can be used in many different situations, Laughology aims to reduce stress and improve performance. As someone who uses laughter a lot, (some might say too much...), I fully subscribed to what she was saying. Laughter can diffuse many situations and help people get over setbacks faster.

This morning began with another excellent speaker (well, I would say that wouldn't I....), as I gave a presentation on the Information Commons. Seemed to go well, and as usual everyone was very impressed with the building. As it's been open for 2 years now, we're able to give a feel for how it's operating, what we would have done differently and whether some of the design decisions we took at the time were right. Following my talk, a couple of designers who've worked on projects including the Saltaire Centre at Glasgow Caledonian University gave a design perspective on new learning spaces. Many of their ideas - the need for flexible spaces, solo spaces, silent spaces, collaborative spaces, curl up in a corner spaces - were incorporated into the design of the IC.

The conference is about to come to a close and it's been very enjoyable and informative. I'm also impressed with the University of Limerick which is on a lovely campus with green spaces, lakes, fountains, a wobbly bridge, and lots of public art - I even bumped into an Anthony Gormley in the grounds.

Thursday, 18 June 2009

23 things

How do you get people understanding, using, and engaging with Web 2.0 technologies? Well you could adopt the 23 Things on-line awareness and learning system, originally developed in 2006 by the Public Library of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County. It's since been used by many libraies round the world, and I've just listened to an account of its implementation at the University of Limerick. Basically staff have to follow a series of short sessions encouraging them to do 23 things - set up a blog, learn about RSS feeds, set up a Flickr account, learn about tagging, podcasts and wikis - any many more. Staff who'd been through the programme had developed a good understanding of the technologies - which to use and those not to use. Also where they could be used in improving services with library environments.

It's an interesting idea - we've been wondering about how to help staff become familiar with these technologies, and this could easily be adapted to be used for different groups of staff, not just those in libraries.

Library 2.0 at McMaster

I'm in Limerick at the moment for the INULS conference - Connecting People to Information. Tomorrow morning I'm giving a talk on our Information Commons. I was rather rather surprised a few minutes ago to read in the programme that PCs are available for delegate use in the Information Commons area of the University of Limerick Library. Must go and have a look.

The first session was given by Jeff Trzeciak, University Librarian, McMaster University, Ontario, Canada on Tough Times, Tough Decisions, Managing change during economic crises. Very topical! McMaster has been through significant administrative changes over the last 3 years, and also and faced a significant deficit. Jeff knew that in times like this services such as libraries tend to get lost, so he decided to set a bold vision for the University Library and institute a major change programme.

It was a fascinating talk, and although about how a Library reinvented itself, the principles could be applied to any professional support service, and particularly IT.

First principle - marketing is crucial. In times of crisis, if people don't know what you're doing you won't get support or resources.

The mission, vision and reasons for change need to be clarified at the outset.

Roles and responsibilities to drive the change need to be established. They set up a transformation team to get to where they wanted to be - Library 2.0. These were mainly staff from "the ranks", not senior managers. They were tasked with identifying what functions could be stopped, and then staff postions lost(voluntarily), and new positions created - all for new functions. They created for example a digital technologies librarian, a digital strategies librarian, and my favourite, an immersive learning/gaming librarian.

An innovative approach to retaining staff was adopted - a 12 week programme was developed and delivered mainly online about Learning 2.0. - how to use blogs, wikis etc. It wasn't compulsory, but all staff were encouraged to take it, and everyone who did complete it was given an MP3 player, and at the end of the 12 weeks there was a draw for a laptop. It seemed to work as 95 completed it and many staff are now blogging, wikis are used for project management, blogs are used to communicate with the academic community, and Facebook groups are in use.

As part of the transformation to Library2.0 Jeff started a programme to make them more visible to the campus community. Major capital renovations and investments created a number of Learning Commons around the campus. Laptops are provided at the circulation desk and are now the biggest circulation item. Of course they then faced the problem we all have which is the provision of power sockets to plug them in. They solved that by putting in drop down cables from the ceilings which provided a cheap and easy solution. Interestingly they have taken out their PCs and put dual boot macs everywhere, with students mainly using MacOS rather than Windows.

There were lessons in the talk I think we can all learn, especially the importance of PR, both internal and external. They focused a lot on "being first" and getting local and national coverage.

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

uSpace arrives

Our new collaboration environment, uSpace has gone live this week. You can use it to blog, to create wikis, discussion groups, collaborate on documents and join groups and spaces for discussion and social networking. Research groups with members from outside of the University can also use if for collaboration as we can allow external users access. We're quite excited about it and the pilots we've been running have identified a number of uses, in teaching and learning (it is being linked to our VLE), for research and for general collaboration and communication. Obviously this could be seen as just another service to overload our users with information and another place to search for information as it's another repository. We now need to produce guidance on what system to use for what - portal groups, shared areas on fileservers, document management system. Hopefully we will be moving to reducing the number of systems or at least integrating them so they are seamless to the user. My big concern is how many pleaces I now have to update my status. Wonder if we can integrate uSpace and Twitter.....

Monday, 15 June 2009

UCISA discuss CLEX09 and wireless

Friday was the UCISA Executive meeting - an early start to get the 0620 train. There were a couple of main agenda items. The first was the Web 2.0 and Higher Education Report which I've talked about before. It was interesting to get other IT professionals' views, we didn't always agree but it was a good discussion. We touched on the need to remember that there is still a digital divide - some students will not be familiar with new technologies, and some staff are even less familiar. One of our roles will be to guide users to the most appropriate technologies and facilitate their use. There was an agreed view that one of the biggest problems we are facing is that our big software vendors just don't get it. Interfaces are clumsy and awkward. Students come to us being totally familiar and at home with all things web, they read their email on google, buy stuff from amazon, download music from all over the place, chat and share media on social networking sites - and they get to University and we give them a VLE and a clunky interface into webmail.

One option is to change our attitude to risk, to loosen up a bit as IT Directors and stop trying to restrict what people can do, Put it to the University that they can have slow deployment of proprietary systems which are extremely secure, or fast deployment of user friendly, more open systems which which are less secure.

A number of agreed actions, including a discussion with the JISC on how they intend taking the recommendations forward, and some advice and guidance for our members on the pros and cons of using Web2.0/Social web technologies including the legal and security aspects and some case studies.

Another discussion was around the use of Eduroam, the international roaming wireless network for the HE community. In the UK, Eduroam is run as the JANET Roaming service. The reason for our discussion is that we have concerns that it is not being deployed across the UK to allow all of the benefits from it to be realised. Some institutions don't use it at all, some have it set up in non standard ways, some broadcast it but don't call it Eduroam. I travel all over the UK and without changing my settings I can walk into some Universities and connect straight away, and there are others where I've never managed to connect despite help from a local network specialist. If this is going to be successful it needs setting up in a standard way and broadcast by all HEIs. Here is Sheffield it's our main wireless network, used by all staff and students, and we don't seem to have any problems with people from other institutions connecting to it (well done network guys). I thought it was very telling that we had our meeting in the JISC Offices in London - and they weren't using it!

Thursday, 11 June 2009

Exec cause floods in Sheffield again!

Well, what an interesting day yesterday was. Interesting in the Chinese sense of the word of course.

It began well - the exec finished our strategic break where we'd discussed many things. We'd looked at different personality types and spent some time analysing ourselves to see how we best interact and communicate. We'd looked at team dynamics and communications within teams, both our own and others in the department and spent some time coming up with some actions to improve how some teams work. The current financial climate had taken up a lot of time, and we looked at a number of scenarios as to how we could reduce our costs but continue not just to maintain core services but also maintain innovation. This will require some very different ways of working and we will need to keep an open mind as we explore different ways of doing things. Outsourcing our student email to Google for example could be the first of a number of such moves as "software as a service" becomes more accessible to us. Reviewing some of our very expensive software deals and replacing with cheaper open source products might also be an option, but this is unlikely to reduce staffing costs. Any serious financial reductions will certainly lead a reduction in the quality of our service in some areas - or much more likely, a removal of services completely - but this needs to be managed carefully in discussion with our main customers.

So after this quite intensive round of discussions we set off home. I'm the only twitter user in the Exec, and as we came down the A1 in fairly bad rain I began to notice tweets from colleagues and friends in Sheffield about torrential rain (or rain of biblical proportions as someone described it!), thunder, more rain,and then that terrible word - floods. Details began to be posted of road closures and heavy traffic - gridlocked in some areas. We stopped at a service station just outside Sheffield to stock up on the essentials - chocolate and water - and were able to plan our route into Sheffield accordingly, someone having kindly tweeted me the link to the council web sited with the road closures on. Still took an hour to get across Sheffield, but at least we were prepared, so thank you Twitter friends. It didn't escape anyone's notice that the last time Sheffield flooded, the exec were away!

Then, later at night I noticed our web pages had stopped loading and our portal seemed to be unavailable - a work colleague had just posted in twitter so I knew he was around, so I asked him to look. Other work colleagues (and some who used to work with us) picked up my tweet and began looking. In about 5 minutes I had gathered lots of information about various systems which were unavailable and was able to make a detailed report to the technical team. Turned out to be a faulty load balancer which was soon fixed.

Our out of hours incident procedure is being reviewed at the moment - perhaps we should include Twitter in it!

Monday, 8 June 2009

Thinking time

One of the hardest things to do in any job is to find space and time to think - it's a luxury we can very rarely afford. I'm a great believer in trying to make the time if possible and for the next two days myself and the rest of the Executive Team are on a short strategic break. some of it will be looking at how we work together as a team and some setting our strategic priorities for the next year.

Today we looked at those areas where we have a departmental wide responsibility - outlined here - and looked at what progress we had made, and what there was still to do. I was surprised by the amount of progress we'd made in a number of them - almost 6 flip charts worth! However, we identified a lot of areas where there was still a lot of work to do. The whole area of resource management and allocation (in terms of people's time) was one - how we do we measure what people are doing so that we can make informed decisions about how much resource we can allocate to new projects and how much is spent keeping stuff running. We also need to know how we can reallocate resource between projects and what ares we might want to decrease the resource in. This was linked to a discussion on monitoring and evaluating new technologies and whether we might change our support and development model, and how we're going to implement our technology strategy.

Finance was of course another hot topic - how we can get better management information (identifying what we want is the biggest challenge) and how we can reduce costs, especially important in the current financial climate. We also need to know how much our services cost - so that we can make better informed decisions. Planning for financial uncertainty will be the subject of many future discussions I fear.

Connectivity and keeping in touch is interesting - the hotel is charging £15 a day for wireless access so I'm using a new modem, which I've just discovered has content control switched on which is blocking access to all sorts of sites - non of them dodgy at all your honour!

Still - I'm maanging to keep up to date with the Apple WWDC via Twitter - hoping for news of the new iPhone soon!

Friday, 5 June 2009

Science Liaison

We've had our second strategic liaison meeting with our new Faculties - this time it was the Faculty of Science. Went through the usual topics - teaching and learning support, research support and communication and collaboration. Lots of very interesting discussion. Teaching and learning centred on our current review of our VLE and looking at what is needed now in the new web 2.0 environment rather than what we actually deliver now. We also talked about our managed desktop and how we deliver applications to students and changing the model to make more available applications available to student laptops. Very interesting dicussion about the use of technology in learning and teaching and lots of offers of help in determining what is needed. One thing that did come out as a requirement was the need for larger IT equipped classrooms than we currently provide - most of our rooms have about 30-50 seats in, but we will need rooms of over 75.

The research discussion was mainly about research computing, how it is funded and how much support we can give. We are looking to appoint a Research Support Co-ordinator to get out into departments more an establish exactly what their needs are. Research support is a lot harder than that for teaching - there are many hundreds of research groups, all with different needs and a lot of support can only be provided at a local level. What did seem to be news to some of the group was that research funding can be used to buy additional kit or dedicated time on our central facility rather than departments buying their own kit and having to support it.

In terms of collaboration and communication we mainly talked about uSpace and how it might be used by departments and our move to Google for student mail and calendaring. There was a fair amount of discontent about the interfaces into some of our corporate systems and a desire for more user friendly web based access. Our technology strategy of moving towards gadgets in our portal allowing users to perform simple tasks without accessing the underlying system was welcomed.

Thursday, 4 June 2009

Diversity Board

Our Equality and Diversity Board met yesterday - I've been a member of it since it was an Equality Steering Group formed in 2004, and have seen it change and evolve through being a Scrutiny Board, to one which still scrutinises but also offers help and support to departments to embed the diversity agenda. It's a good group and I enjoy it (unless you're the department being scrutinised....). We talk about a wide range of topics and at this one we looked at policies around declaring disabilities and health issues, particularly mental health ones, in job applications. This is obviously a sensitive subject and requires careful handling. We also looked at the diversity agenda in relation to big construction contracts, another interesting area - you don't see many women on building sites! Issues here relate mainly to the supply chain - our contract is usually with the main contractor who may actually employ very few people, but then subcontracts the work out to many other firms. Finally we looked at procurement and how we can use our purchasing power to change behaviour in large companies and how we can increase the diversity of firms we purchase from by helping local businesses win contracts.

Why I started writing a blog...

....just in case you're interested!

(with thanks to ace cameraman and sound recordist Mark Morley)

Tuesday, 2 June 2009

IT Service 2.0

We had a meeting this morning in the department to discuss the CLEX report - Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World. It was an open invite to everyone to come along - about 30 people turned up with a good spread across the department - people from technical areas, business areas and customer services, and people who used Web 2.0 technologies and people who didn't. It was a lively discussion, and we still had a lot to say after and hour and a half when we had to stop. So, the discussion is continuing on our own Web 2.0 environment, uSpace - where else?

I will be writing up some conclusions, but here are some first thoughts of comments made.

There was a general acceptance of the conclusions of the report which was that Universities need to change, and that change will be driven by students and what they will demand. However, there was some opinion expressed that the report was an exaggeration of the change that web 2.0/social web will make in students. There was also a concern that we could be in the situation of using technology to cut costs - to deliver more with less - to the detriment of what a University education means.

Face to face and personal contact with staff was seen to be extremely important and that Web 2.0 technologies mustn't be used to replace this, but should be complementary to it.

Although the report concentrated on learning, there were many other areas where Web 2.0 will have an impact - in research, in administration and in student support.

In terms of the role of an IT Department in a Web 2.0 world there was general agreement that we need to become facilitators - of people using services which we might not be providing, on a multitude of devices. We also need to be educators - trusted to give advice on technologies and accepting that we will have to listen much more to our users.

We need to make sure our infrastructure is robust, resilient and scalable for these technologies to become usable and ubiquitous. For example our wireless network is already struggling to cope with current load.

We need to engage and use the technology if we are going to support and help students - but even if we use it, are we going to use it the way that the current generaton of teenagers will? And if not, what do we do - employ students?

What do we do about academic staff and their skills - we must not forget that they will need to be comfortable and confident with the technology. I found an interesting quote this afternoon (unfortunately after the meeting) :

“If a teacher today is not technologically literate ­and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more ­it's equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn't know how to read and write.”

We talked about the importance of "New Media Literacy" and who will take on the role of promoting it in the academic community. "Information Literacy" is very clearly being handled by the Library community. Is New Media Literacy part of an IT Department's role? The answer from this morning was a very clear yes.

In terms of how we go forward, we asked whether we want to lead or follow. Our vision says we will be leaders in the sector, so that answers that one!

We also talked about avoiding being saddled with white elephants. Things we might continue to run because we've invested so much time and money in them, but they are not fit for purpose because they've already been overtaken by new technologies. This really struck a chord with me - if we decide we need a system for something we set a project group up, write a specification, go out to tender, evaluate the tenders, go on site visits, deliberate, and come up with a preferred solution (or decide to develop something ourselves). We them move into implementation phase, and by the time a system is live it could be 2 years later (or more in some cases). By then the market has changed dramatically, as have the user requirements. In contrast, we will implement a new mail service for students in about 10 weeks by outsourcing to a innovative company.

So lots of stuff to think about and a number actions. One immediate one is to set up a small group of those of us who are already using these technologies to report back to the rest of the department on their benefits and uses - for example to try and answer questions like "What is Twitter all about, I just don't get it?". This group will also be expected to explore new Web 2.0 technologies - to register as developers and become alpha and beta testers of products such as Google Wave.

We're also going to start finding out more about the current generation of 11 to 15 year olds as well as talking to existing students.

Monday, 1 June 2009

Trip to Oxford in the sun

Went to the UCISA offices in Oxford today - a couple of hours on a train is a good way to get a lot of work done, the only problem is there's practically no network signal between Birmingham and Oxford. Neither my iPhone (O2) nor my USB modem (Vodaphone) would work. So, lots of writing and reading reports. We met representatives from Gartner to discuss how we could work together to get maximum benefits for both of our organisations. It was a very productive and positive meeting and I hope some good reciprocal agreements will come out of it.

It was an incredibly hot day, and Oxford was very beautiful in the sunshine, but the air conditioning on the train was turned up so high I was freezing on the way back. It was a relief to get off and back into the sunshine.

Spent the return train jurney re-reading the CLEX report (which I've written about before) in preparation for a meeting tomorrow morning of interested folks from the department where I'll be asking the question - What is the role of an IT/IS department in a Web 2.0 world and what should we be doing differently? Hopefully will be a lively and interesting discussion.