Yesterday I was at a JISC workshop looking at prioritising strands for one of the co-design projects, From Prospect to Alumnus, or From Cradle to Grave as it quickly became renamed.
Basically this project is looking at how we might provide a more joined up experience for students in their interactions with different bits of the university. Currently this tends to be disjointed, not coordinated and must be confusing for students. One of the things we looked at was the different "touch points" a student has with different parts of the University. These are many and varied, from initial enquires about open days and application, through registration, their academic department, tutors, the IT Helpdesk, libraries, accommodation helpdesks, to graduation, careers and alumni. Data is collected at many of these touch points, but it isn't collected in similar ways, and is often not shared across different agencies. We compared this with some good examples in the private sector.
We also looked at sharing of information across institutions, which will become more important as mobility between institutions increases. At the moment, most of us focus on retention.
We discussed the many cultural and process barriers to sharing information, which are often more important then the technical.
We agreed that the learner needed to be put at the heart of this journey, not the institution and not the systems.
We ended with a list of priorities for further development, including customer relationship management, vendor management, data structures and integration and employability. All of these will have action plans put against them which I'll share as soon as they are published. All very timely for our own student system review.
Today I've been meeting with senior executives from Computing magazine, discussing with them our current issues and what we would like to see them cover in future publications and events. A very mixed set of attendees from commercial private and not for profit sectors so a variety of views expressed!
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