Tuesday, 11 October 2011

Straight back to meetings..

Back from hols, and the usual trawl through several hundred emails, then straight into meetings. 

Service Strategy Board yesterday, and as well as updates on all of our projects, some interesting discussions. Many centred around our move to Google Apps, and how we can make better use of the app suite, and how it integrates with our other services. For example, we currently run a collaboration suite (uSpace) based on Jive, and given than a lot of the functionality this offers for learning and teaching is now provided in Blackboard 9, and we have Google apps, and our licence runs out next year, it's definitely time to review it. We also talked about the need for a "dropbox" type of service. Many of our staff use dropbox or something similar to store files and synchronise then between different devices, and we need to decide whether to provide something similar, standardise on Dropbox and offer guidance on security issues, or use Google apps. One area where we have already decided what to do involves instant messaging, where we will be turning our current service off soon and moving to Google chat.

We also looked at the relative priorities of improving our reporting mechanisms, Service Orientated Architecture, and a new identity management system. Some concensus that identity managment has the highest priority, but that it's not just a technical issue and will involve a much better understanding within the university of the different roles individuals have and the impact of this on services they can access. SOA also important of course, and we'll be continuing to embed it.

We also looked at how to better manage the transition from a project to an operational service, and there was some differing views about the value of a transtition group - options paper to be discussed at next meeting.

Today I had a really interesting meeting with the Education Officer of the Student Union, about the use of technology in learning and teaching. We looked at how feedback to students could be improved, issues around printing, what new technologies were available especially in teaching areas, lecture capture and podcasting, and how we encourage and help teaching staff to be more comfortable with using technology. very positive meeting, and lots to think about.

This morning we had a CiCS User Group, about 40 of our customers from all areas of the University. Normally we give some presentations of new developments, but this time changed the format and four of our service managers gave an overview of what was going on in their areas. We covered teaching and learning, research and innovation, communication and collaboration and corporate information.

Finally we had a short presentation on our Managed Staff Printing project. We have a target of reducing printers across the University by 65%, and a move of a number of Professional Service departments into newly refurbished accommodation in the Arts Tower which is happening in the next couple of months will achieve a reduction of 80% - not bad!

No comments: