Saturday, 4 February 2012

Upgrades, liaison and gin.

This week we had the first meeting of our new liaison group between the Executive teams of CiCS and Estates. There's many areas where we work together and overlap, and although we have operational meetings and work jointly on projects, we've not had these high level strategic meetings before. It went very well, and we identified a number of areas of joint interest including Business Continuity, ensuring that the IT needs of customers are built into capital projects at an early stage, various infrastructure issues, and planning for our data centres. Very positive and constructive meeting.

Also this week we've been involved in another major software upgrade - our VLE (MOLE2 to people in the University). In order to take advantage of key new features in Blackboard Learn 9 we had to do this large upgrade during the academic year.  It's not ideal because the system has to be taken down for several days, and academic colleagues from our project board and from the faculties have identified the 'least worst' date which has meant taking the service down for the last couple of days of exams.  Academics and departmental support staff have been incredibly supportive and worked with our central learning technologists to identify solutions to minimise any impact on students.  The upgrade has gone without a hitch and the service is up and running now - slightly earlier than expected which gives us a great opportunity for it to be thoroughly tried and tested before it's really put through its paces on Monday morning when teaching begins again.  I'd like to thank everyone who worked on it, and got the upgrade done faster than we thought possible. It was a great example of team work - well done everyone.

Finally, last night I went to another event organised by our Science Brainwaves team. An innovative group who's aim is to engage everyone with science. I've posted before how much I support them, especially when they run such great events as The Science of Cocktails, and last night - The Botany of Gin.  Unfortunately as part of the event we had to taste the various different kinds of gin. Tough I know, but someone has to do it. I've written about it here.

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