Back from Barcelona, and straight off to to more exotic places - Manchester and London! Manchester was another site visit for the UCISA conference to be held there next March. This time we were looking at how we might use some of the technology we have available, including disply screens for our posters, which aren't going to be posters at all but videos, and a rather exciting exhibit looking at wht theuniveriyty of the future moght look like.
London was a RUGIT (Russell Group IT Directors) meeting. We were very fortunate to have members of JISC with us including the new Chief Executive. We had a very good discussion of what JISC is about, and how we benefit from it. JISC has three main functions - to provide a digital infrastructure, primarily through JANET, our network; to broker sector wide deals, mainly for electronic journals; and to provide expert advice and practical assistance. They're funded mainly from the funding councils and Universities, and provide a great deal of value to the sector - they calculate about £140m per annum. That's a lot of money! This mainly comes from the provision of the network, the work they do on cybersecurity and protecting us from attacks, and the deals they are able to do for us. We had a very interesting and frank discussion with them about what the furure holds, especially as their funding decrease and our current subscription ceases to become mandatory and we can choose whether we pay it or not. Personally I think it is worth it for the provision of JANET alone, despite the problems we've had over the last year. It is still the best network around!
Other things discussed at RUGIT included our response to the PREVENT guidelines, how and why, we're going about Student Attendance monitoring, and Information Security training.