Adulting

The Radcliffe Camera, Oxford

I am honoured to have been invited to join the Centenary Commission on Adult Education. The membership of the Commission is as follows:

  • Dame Helen Ghosh DCB (Chair)- Master of Balliol College, Oxford. Previously Chief Executive, The National Trust; Permanent Secretary, Home Office; Permanent Secretary, Department for Environment, Food & Rural Affairs.
  • Sir Alan Tuckett OBE (Vice Chair) -Professor, University of Wolverhampton. Previously Chief Executive, National Institute of Adult Continuing Education; President, International Council for Adult Education.
  • Melissa Benn- Author, novelist, journalist, broadcaster. Chair, Comprehensive Future; Council member, New Visions for Education Group; founder member, Local Schools Network; Advisory Board member, Oxford Women in the Humanities.
  • Lord (Karan) Bilimoria CBE – Co-founder & Chairman, Cobra Beer; Chancellor, University of Birmingham.
  • Dr Sharon Clancy-Chair, Raymond Williams Foundation. Previously Head of Community Partnerships, University of Nottingham; Chief Executive, Mansfield Council for Voluntary Service.
  • Uzo Iwobi OBE -Chief Executive Officer, Race Council Cymru. Previously Principal Equality Officer, South Wales Police; member of the Commission for Racial Equality.
  • Melissa Highton -Assistant Principal, Online Learning and Director of Learning, Teaching & Web Services, University of Edinburgh.
  • Roger McKenzie-Assistant General Secretary, Unison. Previously Vice Chair, West Midlands Assembly; Midlands Regional Secretary, TUC; Race Equality Officer, TUC.
  • Sir Ken Olisa OBE -Chairman, Shaw Trust; Lord-Lieutenant of Greater London; founder & Chairman, Restoration Partners; Deputy Master, Worshipful Company of Information Technologists.
  • Sue Pember OBE- Director, Holex (professional body for Adult Community Education and Learning). Previously lead Director for FE, Dept for Business Innovation & Skills (BIS) and Dept for Education & Skills (DfES); Principal, Canterbury College of F&HE.
  • Paul Roberts -Chief Executive Officer, Aspire, Oxford.
  • Dr Cilla Ross- Vice Principal, Co-operative College, Manchester.
  • Sir Peter Scott -Emeritus Professor of Higher Education, UCL Institute of Education. Previously Vice Chancellor, Kingston University, Pro-Vice Chancellor and Professor of Education, University of Leeds; Editor, The Times Higher Education Supplement.
  • Ruth Spellman OBE -General Secretary, Workers’ Educational Association. Previously Chief Executive of Chartered Management Institute, Institution of Mechanical Engineers, and Investors in People UK.

The whole thing is being facilitated by Jonathan Michie, President of Kellogg College.

We hope to provide authoritative, evidence-based, recommendations on how ‘lifewide’ adult education – i.e., for all aspects and stages of people’s lives, and not just for work – should develop over the decades ahead. Our remit is the same as proposed for the 1919 committee: “To consider the provision for, and possibilities of, Adult Education in Great Britain, and to make recommendations.”

The Commission’s report will, attempt to cover the following:

  1. The need for lifewide adult education. Globalisation, technology and the changing world of work; threats to democracy and social cohesion; new social movements; demographic changes.
  2. The state of British adult education today. Who provides; who takes part; who does not provide; who does not take part. What types of provision are made (subjects, approaches, locations, media, etc.), and what are not. The relative importance of different types of provision for different social groups.
  3. The British contribution to adult education. A brief discussion of approaches developed historically in Britain, and of new practices developing today, and their contribution to democracy, civil society and personal growth.
  4. What we can learn from international experience. From UNESCO to the OECD; key reports; the impact of the current ‘output and measurement’ craze; international research.
  5. The structures, institutions and systems we need. Types of provision. Priorities for government: legislation, regulation, fees, public spending. What non-governmental agencies might do: local government, voluntary organisations, FE and HE, schools, private companies, etc. Meeting the needs of communities and social groups. Strengthening democracy in teaching and curriculum development.
  6. Implementing the changes. How can the changes be brought about: overcoming the forces in government, media and society that have inhibited the development of lifewide adult education over recent decades.

That’ll keep us busy!

 

Spring showcases

Front cover of BITS magazine, by the ISG Graphic Design team.

The UCISA19 Leadership Conference will be held at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre, from 27-29 March 2019: https://www.ucisa.ac.uk/events/2019/ucisa19

Keen to make the most of being local, I encouraged all the LTW teams to submit proposals to showcase our work.  We have successful projects in a number of areas where I think we are leading  the sector. Our projects do not always succeed and they often end up quite different from how they began, so reflecting on this and sharing our learning with our wider IT management community is valuable.  We have experiences from which others might learn, and save themselves some time and money.

We came up with potential showcases on:

  • ‘Implementing successful Equality and Diversity Programmes in University IT’,
  • ‘Supporting digital transformation through digital skills development’,
  • ‘Lecture Recording Communications for academic engagement’
  • ‘Success and impact of a Wikimedian in Residence’,
  • ‘Developing a Playful Engagement Strategy’,
  • ‘Developing an inclusive and enabling strategy for web and digital channels’, and
  • ‘Academic Blogging’.

The two which were accepted  by UCISA were:

  • ‘Success and impact of a Wikimedian in Residence’
  • ‘Developing a Playful Engagement Strategy.’

The other showcases are still available if there are other conferences who would like to hear more about them…..

We have also had a session accepted for LILAC 2019, UNIVERSITY OF NOTTINGHAM 24-26 April https://www.lilacconference.com/lilac-2019 on ‘Embedding Wikipedia in the Curriculum’.

And one for OER 19, 10-11 April 2019, National University of Ireland, Galway https://oer19.oerconf.org/#gref on ‘Positioning the values and practices of open education at the core of University business’

Well done to all the presenters.

Make your choice

We’ve launched our opt-out policy for lecture recording,  it will apply to all lectures in enabled rooms from the beginning of semester 2 in January. We expect to be recording around 13,000 lectures for 2,000 courses.

If you want to opt-out you need to do that now.

The Replay Scheduler is a simple online tool for the management of lecture recording scheduling preferences and to enable opt-out.  This is available for use now.  You must ensure your preferences are actioned in the Replay Scheduler if you wish to opt-out.  Your Course Organiser will be able to either give you access to the Replay Scheduler or act on your behalf. 

Student helpers on hand to help get started with lecture recording.

If you don’t do it in advance, remember – you are in control of what happens in a teaching space.  If the recording light changes to red to indicate that a recording is taking place, simply press the light to pause the recording.  The light will change to flashing amber.

Student helpers will be available for the first week of teaching to provide ‘on the spot’ support.

how to win

Christmas Card sold at The Bodleian Shop, with an image from the John Johnson Collection. Copyright belongs to Bodleian, I’m sure.

This year has been quite a one for my work with the PlayFair Steps. The PlayFair Steps is the name I have given to the programme of activities in University of Edinburgh Information Services Group which are designed to deliver an improved experience for all our staff by tackling equality and diversity issues in our workplace. I began this initiative in 2015 and it is part of a wider change programme across the whole of the organisation.

After 3 years we are seeing impact and progress towards our goals. We have also been  successful in winning a number of awards.

When looking at equality and diversity drivers for change in organisations, there is some literature which suggests that external accountability , the impression the public have about your organisation, is a consideration that may influence senior management.  So if you can show that your activities have gained external recognition, won awards or been celebrated by your peers,  more investment by senior management may follow.   It’s not an exact science but as employers we are all very aware that the tech industry has a bad reputation for diversity and inclusion.

Students of organisational development will be well aware of the importance of context, culture and ‘climate’ in enabling the success of workplace diversity programmes.  With this in mind I worked with my teams to write applications for various employer awards last year in the hope that we would be nominated and shortlisted.

Our first success came as winners of the national Universities 2018 HR Excellence Award for Equality and Diversity *.

Winning this award in the HE sector boosted my confidence to try for 2 more awards in the wider tech sector. Alongside rapid growth a new and urgent interest in diversity can be seen by the appearance of industry awards and celebrations.  Targeted trade sector  and community events such as awards provide the opportunity for HR practitioners in organisations to gain external acknowledgement and assessment of their organisational efforts and commitment to diversity .  But its a hotly contested area. Organisations which promote diversity may benefit by being more attractive to women and ethnic minorities and those employers may be able to recruit from a larger talent pool, so the big recruiters are keen not to miss out and are pulling out all the stops.

In October and December we were finalists in the ‘Employer of the Year’ category in the Scotland Women in Technology Awards  in Glasgow and for ‘Diversity Project of The Year’  in the Women in IT Excellence Awards in London. At both events I was very pleased to be able to host a table at the awards dinner and to invite colleagues and friends to join our celebrations. In Glasgow each of the  4 female University of Edinburgh Directors of IT invited as our guests women in our organisations who we identify as rising stars for the future. In London we were joined by friends from ALT, WikimediaUK, Open University, EDINA, Ordnance Survey and Wellcome Library. A lovely, sparkly time was had by all and it was exciting to be part of such celebratory events. In both cases however, we were pipped at the post by big recruiters such as JPMorgan and Empiric, both of whom have huge recruitment and marketing efforts targeted at women in IT.

The  awards create a climate in which organisations compete to showcase themselves as diversity-aware recruiters and attractive employers for a range of groups. While such awards may also be dismissed as window dressing or worse, validation of insidious work practices, the investment being made by some large tech industry employers is undeniable.  The rise of business awards which bring external recognition and validation to organisations’ visible efforts towards diversity is framed in the language of inclusive growth, improved competitive performance and better targeted services. It may be time for university IT departments to up our game if we are going to be able to attract the best talent to improve our services.

Perhaps we should work together as a sector to do this. One way we could do this would be to return again to the knotty problem of what IT careers look like in HE, and indeed what learning technologists look like.  We should ask ourselves: ‘If you as an employer, had to take a bunch of recruitment materials to a recruitment fair what would you say to  attract the best, brightest and most diverse talent to join our professional teams?’.

 

 

*Dominique and I will be showcasing our award-winning programme next in London on 28th February.  The event is hosted by UHR  and is an opportunity to hear from other HE organisations about how their teams have improved practice, contributed to business efficiency, and enhanced organisational effectiveness and staff engagement.  Book your place now.

 

time to update our timeline

Lovely infographic made by LTW interactive graphics team.

Inspired by a conversation with Lauren today, and some recent announcements,  I am updating our timeline of learning technology developments at University of Edinburgh. Are there other things I should include?

taming the wild web

The title of this image from the CRC collections is: ‘Examining an Doubtful Brand’. https://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/n8dh30

Work is currently underway to manage and  rationalise the web estate.

The University owns and manages the domain www.ed.ac.uk but a devolved approach in managing the University web estate has resulted in a growth of websites and associated web applications.

An audit of University infrastructure in September 2017 found that there are around  1,600 University of Edinburgh websites, only one of which is the corporate University Website (www.ed.ac.uk/*). The  corporate University website contains 400 sub-sites of its own.

The other website domains are split between circa 1,300 sub-domains (for example, law.ed.ac.uk) and 300 top-level domains (for example, www.mediblog.ed.ac.uk) depending on the business unit’s affiliation to the University. The suppliers, technology base or quality of these solutions is not well known and it’s a bit of a wild west at the moment.

lecture recording and the law

Wise Owl from the University Collections https://images.is.ed.ac.uk/luna/servlet/s/txp932

We’ve had some questions about the legal bits of our University of Edinburgh lecture recording policy. I’m not a lawyer, but I know some good ones.

Here, thanks to our excellent Policy Officer Neil, is our explanation:

The policy task group considered the intellectual property and data protection implications extensively during development and we’re confident that the new lecture recording policy is legally compliant.  We took detailed advice from the University’s lawyers and Data Protection Officer, from the School of Law’s academic IP expert and from the ISG Copyright Service, in addition to the evolving versions of the very helpful JISC guidance.

In terms of Data Protection:

  • Uses:  The policy clearly defines and limits the purposes that a lecture recording may be used for, including an “essential purpose” of allowing the students on a Course to review their lectures.
  • Lawful basis:  We’re using legitimate interests of the University in providing the service to its staff and students as the lawful basis for processing personal data within the Media Hopper Replay service.  The Data protection Officer and lawyers were very clear that this is the appropriate basis (and that the consent lawful basis would actually not be appropriate for a number of reasons, including ensuring consent is freely given, given the power imbalance between the University and either a member of staff or a student, and some of the implications for implementing any withdrawal of consent once a recording has been made.
  • Sensitive data:  There is a clear requirement in the policy to obtain written consent from a data subject before recording sensitive personal data.
  • Retention:  There is a clear retention period and disposal policy for the recordings.

We have undertaken a Data Protection Impact Assessment and there will be an updated privacy statement for the service that will both be published in due course.

In terms of Intellectual Property:

  • Rights in recording:  The policy recognises that the University, the lecturer and any students who make a contribution to the lecture will each hold some intellectual property rights in the recording.  (The University is the producer and at least in part the director of a recording, and the lecturer holds performer’s rights in the recording.)  In a collaborative approach, these rights will be retained by the respective rights holders who will licence the University and/or the lecturer to use the recording for the defined purposes.
  • Further uses:  It spells out that the University, the lecturer, a student or anyone else may not use the recording for any other use without further agreement from all the rights holders.
  • Lecturer opt-out:  If a lecturer does not wish the University to use a recording containing their performer’s rights, they will be entitled to arrange not to make the recording in the first place.  The lecturer has complete control of whether or not to record a lecture, whether to pause recording, and whether and when to release the lecture to the students.
  • Student opt-out:  It provides for students not to be recorded or – if necessary – to request their contribution deleted, and for students to know in advance which of their lectures will or will not be recorded.  We understand there are practical limitations on keeping students out of shot in some smaller venues but haven’t seen specific problems in practice.
  • Third party copyright:  The policy reiterates the standards required in terms of permission, licence and citation when using third party copyright materials in a lecture, whether or not it’s recorded.  The  ISG Copyright Service will produce specific guidance on use of films, broadcasts or musical excerpts within recorded lectures and on openly licencing recordings if preferred.

I hope that helps.

 

widening participation and access

Photo of WoW leaflets from my mothers cupboards. No rights reserved by me.

This week I’m at the Advance HE conference in Liverpool. Meanwhile, back at the ranch, the University of Edinburgh ‘s new Widening Participation strategy is being launched.

University of Edinburgh actually has a long history of widening participation initiatives, but our institutional memory does seem to get lost along the way. Luckily we have splendid university archives.

I’m inordinately delighted to have found a place for both my parents in the University archives.  My father, previously mentioned, and now featured in a group picture of the front of a new book, and my mother Joanna*, in a blog post about Widening Opportunities for Women, the WOW courses of the 1980s.

The WOW programme was aimed at women planning to return to work –most often after pregnancy and years of domestic ‘employment’–, and sought to provide training opportunities as well as guidance over how to approach the job market, what type of opportunities might be available, and what obstacles may be encountered.’

Joanna first attended this programme, after having been stuck at home  with us lot for many years, and then she became the course leader.  I used to visit her in her office in a basement in Buccleuch Place. She’s very pleased to know that in my role in ISG I’ve been able to find places for ‘women returners‘ in our organisation.

After ‘WOW ‘and ‘Second Chance to Learn’,  and ‘Return to Work or Study’, she then led for many years the University of Edinburgh Access Programme  for part-time adult learners who wished to return to education to study humanities, social sciences or art and design.

Nice to see these things coming around again.

 

*just a note to say lest you be concerned, that although I found my father in the archives after his death, my mother is still very much alive.

on having an even bigger sister

In some cities, such as Edinburgh, the university may be one of the largest tech employers in the city. At Edinburgh we have around 600 staff in IT roles. That makes us a big player in tech employment. We also get the benefit of having an even bigger sister standing right beside us. The University of Edinburgh as a whole is a huge employer and a huge part of the public sector workforce. The terms, conditions and perks which we as information services are able to offer to our potential employees are made possible by virtue of being a small part of a huge organisation.

As well as a range of flexible working options and attention paid to being family-friendly most universities offer generous maternity and parental leave and arrangements for sick-pay.  Although many universities do not offer as much on-site childcare facilities as some would like, I suspect it is still way ahead of some tech employers.

University holiday allowances are pretty good. 40 days a year is about the average for most institutions (including national holidays and closure days). Equal pay schemes and university unions ensure that salaries and pensions are decent. Universities are also able to offer permanent or open-ended contracts for IT staff. Other industries might offer more in terms of up-front salary, but there are many extra benefits to working in a university .  We have information about staff  benefits and reward calculator which we use to show the real value of our arrangements.

Universities are learning organisations, if you need to grow and develop in your job training is usually offered for both the skills needed for your job and to assist career and personal development. There are mentoring schemes and career development and promotion tracks.

The climate for equality and diversity is also generally good, most universities have a very progressive stance on equality and diversity in terms of both recruitment and working environment. The very fact that there are high profile initiatives underway in higher education for students and academics contributes to the social environment or culture constructed in universities in which the professional staff work. That is to say, IT professionals working in universities benefit  from large initiatives such as Athena SWAN which are given resource and investment by the university.

There is a range of less talked about perks which I think make universities great places to work.

1) Universities have sport facilities, theatres, staff clubs, art galleries, museums, music venues and shops which are there to be enjoyed by staff at discounted rates, often for free.  There are very few employers who can boast such a range of amenities.

2) You get to working on a filmset. I worked for several years at Oxford and you couldn’t turn a corner without bumping into  a film crew, catering vans and extras dressed in medieval outfits. Or inspector Morse. Or a boy wizard.

3) Culture and collegiality abound. Every evening all across campus there are research seminars, events, book launches, receptions, openings, exhibitions to go to which are open to all staff and anyone interested. Its a lovely way to meet people and network.

4) The festival city is on your doorstep. Literally. Your office may be requisitioned at short notice for a comedy show .

5) Your children and the children of all your friends will have access to the extensive cultural capital at your fingertips when they need to find work experience for school.

6) Eduroam wireless will be provided to you free of charge as you move around the world.  You can sidle up to any university, library, hospital or museum building in any city and pick up free wifi.

7) We are fighting the good fight for truth, facts and against news. You get to be part of this.