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After much deliberation, Sarah Porter head of innovation has chosen to leave Jisc in order to pursue her research innovation interests in higher education and work with higher education institutions on developing their digital strategies.
Sarah has brought tremendous commitment and passion to Jisc over the last twelve years. She initially joined from the University of Oxford where she led a team of e-learning developers and directed Jiscâs work on managed learning environments.
It was 2004 when Sarah was appointed to lead the Jisc innovation group. The groupâs agenda focused upon identifying opportunities for the UK to maximise the potential of technology to support better learning, teaching and research. Sarah has encouraged experimentation and new and innovative approaches to technological development, including most recently the Summer of Innovation project, which is inviting students to submit innovative ideas on how the student experience can be improved through technology.
Under Sarahâs leadership, and with support from Jiscâs funders, the UK and countries from overseas have benefited from programmes in:
â¢Â E-learningâ¢Â Leading work in digital librariesâ¢Â The creation of many millions of digital content assetsâ¢Â The creation of new virtual research environmentsâ¢Â National services to support research management.
Some of her key successes have been the Sustaining Digital Resources series carried out jointly with Ithaka; work on supporting technical standards with CETIS and UKOLN; taking forward the UKâs engagement with open educations resources (OERs); promotion of the service oriented architecture and the e-framework with Australia, New Zealand, the Netherlands and Canada.
Professor Martyn Harrow, chief executive of Jisc said: âWe will all greatly miss Sarahâs leadership and vision. Jisc has made tremendous progress through its innovation programmes that has put the UK in a leading position with its use of technology in education and research. We will build on this precious legacy as we move to Jiscâs new future.â
2013 sees the launch of the Summer of Student Innovation pilot, to put the power to enhance theÂ learner experience directly into the hands of teams of students, academics and experts across the UK.
Students who join the Summer of Innovation will get the chance to create real technology solutions andÂ have the technology they create adopted byÂ universities, colleges and learning providers. They will also have the option toÂ join events where they can meet the other student teams as well as technical experts.
The Futures Forum, a group of five UK education and research organisations are joining forces to encourage teams of developers and innovators to use their skills to enhance the UKâs higher education experience.
Andrew McGregor, Jisc programme manager and Futures Forum member explains, âWe are offering Â£5,000 per student team, to develop new technology that could improve education, research and their studying life. The teams will be selected through an open call for ideas. Successful teams will also be given opportunities to join workshops to allow them to network with fellow students and experts to further their ideas.
âAfter the projects have run, the technology developed by the teams will be embedded for a trial period in volunteer education organisations. Products that are successful in the trials will be provided to other interested parties through sustainable routes.â
The Summer of Student Innovation has emerged from the pilot Jisc co-design programme. This programme has enabled Jisc, RLUK, RUGIT, SCONUL, and UCISA to work together to identify a selection of strategic innovations that could benefit the HE sector. The Summer of Student Innovation has been designed as an experiment to see if students can develop technology that can improve the student experience.
To enter your ideas and encourage your fellow students to vote for your suggestions visit the Summer of Student Innovation website or follow #studentideas on Twitter.
Homepage image: CC BY flickr/hamptonroadspartnership
More than 18 million students, staff and researchers at institutions across the UK could start to benefit from a faster and more secure connection when using their institutionâs cloud-based IT services, thanks to a new peering arrangement being signed todayÂ between Microsoft and Janet, the UKâs research and education network.
This new agreement enables improved access to infrastructure and application services such as websites, virtual learning environments and research projects.
Connecting the networks privately eliminates the need to traverse data over the public internet. This enables a high bandwidth connection for students and staff to use Windows Azure. Bandwidth is managed, ensuring high-speed delivery with no delay or latency.
The move to peer the Microsoft Windows Azure data centre to the Janet network comes as part of a new strategic alliance between the two organisations, being signed at Goldsmiths, University of LondonÂ today.
Professor of Computing Science at Newcastle University Paul Watson comments: âCloud computing has the potential to revolutionise research by offering vast compute resources on-demand. At Newcastle University, we already have over Â£20M of research projects that are supported by the cloud. However, one of the major barriers holding back further cloud adoption is the time it takes to transfer large datasets from the lab to the cloud for analysis. This new link between Janet and the Azure Cloud removes this barrier, and will allow a far greater range of research projects to fully exploit the benefits of cloud computing.â
The alliance agreement also means any UK education institution can benefit from standard terms and conditions on Microsoftâs cloud-based productivity software suite Office 365, negotiated by Janet.
An early beneficiary of this arrangement is Goldsmiths, which is also one of a select group of institutions responsible for initiating work on the alliance. Basem El-Haddadeh, Director of IT Services at Goldsmiths said: âThe work on Office 365 will save the sector considerable time and money in legal due diligence and speed up adoption of Office 365. Weâre really pleased with the roll-out at Goldsmiths and our staff and students are already enjoying using the new system. Iâm looking forward to the benefits the strategic alliance can bring.â
âThrough the peering and strategic alliance, we are demonstrating our commitment to UK research and education institutesâ increasing desire to access cloud technologies and we are complementing our world class fibre network with Microsoftâs leading technologies to support the sector,â said Dan Perry, Director of Product and Marketing at Janet.
Steve Beswick, Director of Education, Microsoft Ltd said: âWe are delighted to be working with Janet to provide additional value-added products and services to the research and education community. We have a long-standing relationship with this sector and are looking forward to more collaborative working with Janet to grow our offering.â
Joanna Lumley helped the University for the Creative Arts (UCA) launch a Jisc-funded digital archive of work by world-renowned fashion designer Zandra Rhodes.
Famous designs worn by global icons, such as Princess Diana, Jackie Onassis and Elizabeth Taylor, during Zandraâs half a century in fashion are just some of the 500 dresses and garments that have been painstakingly prepared, catalogued and photographed over the past 18 months.
The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection has been created for the education community through a collaborative project between UCA and the Zandra Rhodes Studio with funding from Jisc.
Zandra said: "I am tremendously proud to announce that the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection is now available to the world.
âI am absolutely thrilled to unveil this high quality digital archive of 500 of my most famous designs, as well as drawings and behind-the-scenes footage in my studio, for access by today's fashion and textile students, designers, and researchers, and I hope that it will be an inspiration worldwide.
âI would like to thank the University for the Creative Arts, Jisc, the team at my studio and VADS for believing in the project and making this happen â itâs not easy to locate, prep, photograph, research, and catalogue 50 years of fashion collections but they have done a fantastic job."
Famous for her bright pink hair and cutting-edge designs, Zandra Rhodes has remained one of the most recognisable names in fashion over the last five decades and remains relevant with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Sarah Jessica Parker and Paris Hilton wearing her dresses today.
She was appointed UCAâs first Chancellor in 2010 and studied at Medway College of Art - one of the Kent and Surrey colleges that formed UCA.
Researchers and students at UCA have worked with Zandra Rhodes and her studio to not only catalogue her designs for future generations but also create contextual learning materials which explore her creative processes and production techniques, through video interviews, tutorials, and exquisite original drawings.
Professor Kerstin Mey, Director of Research and Enterprise at UCA, said: "We are proud and excited to launch the Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection.
âZandra gave our researchers and students unprecedented access to her studio which has enabled them to catalogue 500 famous items from her personal archive that we will make available to a global audience.
âI am certain that this accessible, open education resource featuring one of the most influential British fashion designers over the past 50 years will stimulate and inform future generations.â
The project has been funded by a Â£110,000 grant from the charity, Jisc. Their aim is to make the UK the most digitally advanced education and research nation in the world.
Paola Marchionni, Jiscâs programme manager for digitisation, explained: âThis project represents another excellent partnership that Jisc is proud to have supported.
âZandra Rhodesâ generosity in opening up her studio and archives to the UCA team has made possible the creation of a beautiful and high quality digital resource to support students and teachers, and which is also available to the public at large.
âThis project, however, has not just been about digitisation: students have played an active role, gaining âreal worldâ work experience and skills which will be an invaluable asset to them in the future.âÂ Â Â
The Zandra Rhodes Digital Study Collection is now available at: www.zandrarhodes.ucreative.ac.uk
JISC EMBEDDED OBJECT
Banner imageÂ Â© Zandra Rhodes; garment photos by Jon StokesImage of Zandra in her studio Â Â© Hannah Kells
In the era of YouTube, podcasts and vidcasts new pioneering guidelines, launched today, will be crucial for students, researchers and academics when they cite moving image and sound sources, or provide advice on referencing them.
The British Universities Film & Video Councilâs (BUFVC)Â guidelines respond to the 2011 Jisc report, Film and Sound in Higher and Further Education: A Progress Report with Ten Strategic Recommendations. The report found that despite the exponential increase in the use of audiovisual material in teaching, learning and research in higher and further education, existing guidelines for the referencing of moving image and sound are often insufficient as they are based on standards developed for the written word. This has the effect of discouraging the citing of moving image and sound, as well as creating barriers in its discovery, use and re-use.
Professor John Ellis, professor of media arts, University of London, says: âCitation exists so that you can find the source of any quotation. The rules have long since been worked out for print sources. However, for moving image and sound, no-one quite knows what to do, so references are usually imprecise and sometimes left out completely. This guide now makes it possible for any writer (even a student) to lead their readers to the exact audiovisual source they are discussing. It might seem a simple problem to solve, until you realise that there are a multitude of different types of audiovisual source!â
The guidelines are practical, accessible and applicable to a wide range of different users across all disciplines. They encourage best practice in citing any kind of audiovisual item. They cover film; television programmes; radio programmes; audio recordings; DVD extras; clips; trailers; adverts; idents; non-broadcast, amateur and archive material; podcasts; vodcasts and games.
Professor Miles Taylor, director, Institute of Historical Research, University of London, says: âThe difficulty of referencing such important sources has only been compounded by the increasing availability of much of this material online. The wonderful new guide produced by the BUFVC cuts through the uncertainty and complexity and will undoubtedly encourage historians and researchers in other disciplines to make greater use of audiovisual source materials â whether a computer game, a television channel ident, a previously unaired radio programme or a Hollywood film. I strongly encourage journal editors in particular to add it to the guidance that they provide for authors.â
To produce these guidelines, BUFVC established a working group of academics, researchers, journal editors and archivists, formed as part of the HEFCE-funded Shared Services project.Â
Richard Ranft, head of sound and vision, The British Library, says: "From the beginning of the 20th century, sound and moving image media in all their various formats have captured the most significant moments in human creativity and endeavour. Yet even in the present century, there remains doubt over the validity of referencing sound and moving images, whether in academic publishing or the popular media, due in part to the absence of accepted citation guidelines. By establishing clear instructions that are on a par with traditional bibliographic citation styles, this new publication will help unlock the vast resource that is preserved in sound and moving image archives."
This is the first edition of the guidelines and it will be reviewed periodically to respond to advances in technology, the development of new media platforms and the needs of the user. The BUFVC welcomes comments and feedback via email@example.com, or join the discussion by tweeting @bufvc #AVcitation.
An interactive version of the guidelines is available to download from the BUFVC website.
Seven European countries are launching 4C (the Collaboration to Clarify the Costs of Curation) to help public and private European organisations invest more effectively in digital curation and preservation, sustaining the long-term value of all types of digital information.
A major survey of UK Academics released today examines the attitudes of researchers and practitioners working within higher education. It sheds light on their behaviours, including their reliance on digital technologies, the Internet and open access.
The survey, funded and guided by Jisc and RLUK and conducted on their behalf by the not-for-profit research organisation Ithaka S+R, received 3,498 responses, (a response rate of 7.9%). The survey covers a range of areas from how academics discover and stay abreast of research, to their teaching of undergraduates. How they choose research topics and publication channels, to their views on learned societies and university libraries, and their collections.
Overarching themes are an increasing reliance on the Internet for their research and publishing activities and the strong role that openness is playing in their work. Key findings include:
Rachel Bruce, innovation director for digital infrastructure, Jisc, explains: âAcross the findings, this survey confirms that the open web is the first port of call for academics starting research. If an article is not available through the library the majority of academics will go straight to the web to look for a free copy, suggesting that open access is becoming a critical component of the research process. It also confirms our expectation that libraries have an important role to play in both surfacing open content on the web and ensuring open content is accessible through library systems.â
Chair of RLUK, Stella Butler, commented: âUniversity libraries have long ceased to be passive repositories of information. Our role as gateways to research findings and as curators of knowledge, including data, is clearly expanding. The results of this survey will help all libraries explore the changing needs of one of our key customer groups and help RLUK re-define the research library model.â
Higher education leaders will gather at a workshop in London on the 20th May to discuss the survey results and consider the ways in which their organisations can align their efforts more closely with what academics say they need.Â
Homepage image: CC BY
Jisc welcomes the 2013Â Student Academic Experience surveyÂ from Which? and the Higher Education Policy Institute (HEPI) and the information it provides about the range of student learning experiences in universities and colleges.However, with its focus on âface-to-face contact hoursâ, the report may be missing the many ways in which institutions and academics are using technology to guide and support students, and ultimately transform the student experience.Â In the digital age, the nature of the student experience is changing rapidly and access to resources and to teaching staff has been transformed. Contact time need no longer mean students and staff sitting in the same seminar room â lectures can be filmed and watched online at a time that suits the learner, academics may engage with and offer feedback to students via email, Facebook and even twitter rather than in time-constrained seminars or tutorials. In this type of model students can engage with digital resources ahead of face-to-face sessions and then use the contact time more fruitfully for discussion and interaction.Â "The report's headline figures do not distinguish between different kinds of contact time, so there is a danger that an institution that primarily engages in old-fashioned 'chalk and talk' transmission-style lecturing might appear to be offering more contact hours than an institution that is using technology to deploy resources and contact time more strategically and effectively," said Martyn Harrow, chief executive of Jisc.Â "As the student body becomes more diverse, so institutions need to find ways to ensure that their teaching modes and materials reflect different learning preferences and types of study and attendance. Technology offers a range of ways to do this and to enhance student access to resources and staff both inside and outside university owned systems."Jisc has been supporting institutions to enhance the student experience for over 20 years. It offers advice and guidance on how technology can wrap theÂ institution around the learner, providingÂ accurate and personalised resourcesÂ and services. It funds projects to help institutions better understand their learners' needs, fromÂ learning analyticsÂ andÂ comparative course dataÂ to creating aÂ seamless student experience.
Learning providers, supported by Jisc Regional Support Centres across the UK, are being urged to take the opportunity to influence the future products and services to be offered.
Jisc regularly polls the further education and skills community to make sure that the products and services offered by the organisation meets the needs of the sector.
In 2011 the survey highlighted a number of different priorities, including:
Robert Haymon-Collins, Jisc executive director customer experience, said, âThis yearâs survey went out in April to many thousands of individuals and organisations and early response rates have been good, but there is still time to make your views known to us, and to help us improve our services.
âIn the past few years the results of the surveys have helped us to shape what we do for our users and customers, in particular how to improve the student experience and how organisations can best take advantage of the fast moving world of digital technologies. We have developed toolkits, run webinars and offered staff development resources in direct response to the surveyâs findings.
â2013 is a major year for Jisc in creating a more customer focused organisation.Â The survey is part of the process that will inform and drive our operational and strategic priorities â moving Jisc increasingly from a âproductâ organisation to a âsolutionâ organisation,â added Robert.
If you are one of the 2000 learning providers supported by the UK network of Jisc Regional Support Centres you can complete the survey here.
You can find this page and download any referenced resources from the Excellence Gateway at http://www.excellencegateway.org.uk/100862.
© Learning and Skills Improvement Service (LSIS) 2012