Wednesday, 11 February 2015


Next up at RUGIT was Andy Youell talking to us about HEDIIP, redesigning the information landscape. We all submit data to various bodies, including HESA. There's been a massive lack of coordination amongst data collectors with duplication and no standardisation. This has therefore driven uncoordinated responses from HEIs.

There's also data capability issues with data management and governance issues starting to come up. Of course, there's a desire to drive value from data, and therefore you need good data which requires data governance.

HEDIIP is a programme to drive change across the UK. The intention is to redesign the information landscape, not tweak it.
So far they have done an inventory of data collections from us. They found 523 separate HE data collections and 93 organisations collect student data every year. Many have them use different data definitions. Lots of scope for standardisation and rationalisation.

Lots of good work done so far on things like the adoption of the Unique Learner Number, Subject Coding, and data management. Lots of examples of Universities with hundreds of pockets of student data, often in spreadsheets (fun fact, you can get 1.7bn pieces of data in an excel spreadsheet). Also, different parts of the university will be sending data off to different bodies. Often with no-one else knowing about it.

If we are to redesign the landscape, there needs to be a standard data set with a standard set of definitions. For example, what is a course, what is a student? There will need to be a governance body to implement this. Will probably be built on current HESA return.

Really interesting topic, and I was seriously surprised how many bodies are collecting student data, and how many pockets of student data there are in an institution. One of the discussion topics was, how much is this costing us as a sector. The answer isn't really known, but a rough estimate is many millions of ponds.

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