My blog software has been complaining that my page of Friday messages had been going on too long.
I know how it feels.
Here’s a new page for 2023.
Friday 13th January 2023
Thank you for finding your way back after all the festivities, and especially those who now head East rather than West each day.
I expect some of you have been experimenting with ChatGTP. I will be interested to hear your ideas about how we can use it to write code, strategies, blue tables, Wikipedia pages and annual reviews.
Welcome to our new colleague, Scott this week and several more new colleagues joining us through January. We are still searching for even more, and we currently have many job adverts out on many platforms: jobs.ac.uk, linkedin, S1jobs 4 University Of Edinburgh (Sgs) Jobs in Scotland in January 2023 at s1jobs, MyGwork University of Edinburgh Information Services Group – myGwork LGBT-Friendly Organisations and WomeninTech The University of Edinburgh | Women in Technology jobs | jobs.womenintech.co.uk Thank you to Juan , Geoff, Ari and Hazel for making us a snappy new recruitment video and shiny new recruitment graphics, we are gathering data and trying new places to see how we can make our adverts most attractive.
Congratulations to Marcello, Jenni and Kevin for their success in the ISG photography competition. Images can be controversial as you know and those of you tuned into world HE news may have spotted that a lecturer in America has been fired for using an image from our Edinburgh University library collections Hamline University professor fired for showing images of Muhammad (nypost.com)
Did you study at University of Edinburgh? One of the things I like about working here, is that many ISG staff have themselves, or family and friends who studied at Edinburgh.
If any of you, or people you know, happen to have an email last week( 4th Jan) with the subject line: ‘University of Edinburgh General Council – Election for members of the Business Committee 2023’. I’d be most grateful and totally tickled to have your vote. You can see me listed amongst the candidates. Only alumni can vote, I think. If you haven’t heard of the general council –it is the assembled body of all the alumni and only the most ancient of universities have them. Colleagues in LST will have fond memories of many times the General Council have needed complex AV at very short notice in very difficult venues. If you vote for me I’ll be sure to sort that out J
Friday 20th January
Thank you again for another week. Welcome to Vivienne and Alistair who have made good choices and come to join our team.
Thank you for coming in to the office in the face of strikes and snow. If you haven’t yet got your winter-warming-hybrid-working hoodie, ask your manager today. UCU strikes begin again on 1st Feb and may go on for several weeks so you should plan for the impact on your projects and services.
If you are interested in pension matters employees on grades UE01 to UE05 can join the University of Edinburgh Staff Benefits Scheme (SBS) and they are looking for a new trustee https://www.ed.ac.uk/news/staff/2023/call-for-new-member-nominated-trustee
If you are feeling the pinch in January you may find the staff discounts portal useful https://uoe.sharepoint.com/sites/human-resources/pay-and-reward/SitePages/Mylifestyle.aspx
Thank you to everyone who helped to push out our job adverts. The Linkedin post which has had the most interaction this month is the one with the multiple job postings listed. It got shared and liked nearly 40 times and I gather that is a real boost for our algorithm.
It is coming up to that time of year when we look for the new LTW mascot animal. To join our Scottish wildcat ( Lady Lawson) and our pancake tortoise (Watty) I was searching for a badger (Badger) but I am now considering a bison named Pudding. Thoughts and suggestions welcome. Edinburgh Zoo Adoptions
It’s not too late to get a tickets for the Chinese New Year Bilingual Ceilidh at our St Cecilia’s Hall https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/edinburghs-chinese-new-year-bilingual-ceilidh-tickets-505962526537 tonight!
Have a good weekend,
Friday 27th January
Thank you for another week. Warm welcome to Kat, Daniela and Eleanor and welcome back to Karen Beggs.
Thank you for sending me your suggestions about ChatGPT.
Thank you to Kevin and Lesley who continue to lobby at the Argyle House Accommodation Group ( A-HAG) for small works and new collaboration spaces. ‘some hae pods but cannae meet. Some wad meet but want it’…..
I trust you have all had your haggis and made your offal jokes. My favourite contemporary of Robert Burns is Mary Somerville. Mary had a much-loved uncle who was keen on punning. Burns publicly made fun of Mary’s uncle’s punning and the uncle never punned again. That is not a tactic which will work with me.
Speaking of inspirational women of STEM, I am reminded that Xia Peisu ( after whom we named our KB training room) will be having her centenary this year. She was the ‘mother of Chinese computing’ and she studied at Edinburgh. If you have thoughts on how we could celebrate her again, let me know.
Astoria has blogged about interpreting accessibility reports https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/website-communications/interpreting-little-forest-accessibility-reports-recap-and-recording/
Thank you to all (10) of you diligently undertaking ITIL training this week. You may have seen that I have put our LTW Mandatory training day (LTW MTD) into your diaries. This is the Friday of National ‘Learning at Work’ week please keep it clear of any other meetings.
Have a lovely weekend,
Friday 3rd January
Thank you for your work for another week. Congratulations to Tracey Madden for gaining her CMALT accreditation. Time to update this page https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/learning-technology/more/professional-development/uoe-cmalt-holders
Perhaps we should also have a page celebrating the ITIL qualified members of LTW? Congratulations this week to Jen Smith, Alistair Campbell, Joe Currie, Stephen Donnelly, Liam McCabe and Delia Georgescu.
You may have spotted that an individual meeting pod has materialised in reception for you to try. Colleagues with claustrophobia should give it a wide berth. You are very welcome to use other spaces for meeting though. Have a look at the LTW space on K west, and the Xia, Annie, Margorie and Irene training rooms https://www.ed.ac.uk/information-services/help-consultancy/is-skills/bookable-facilities. I am sometimes threatened with a ‘use it or lose it’ scenario, so it would be a great help to our services if you make use of these spaces.
Thank you to those who came along to meet our guests from EdX and all of you who contribute to our many papers and reports at peak committee time. Thank you to you all for project and service reports, and for all who have created new folders for 2023.
I think you are all about to be asked to give feedback into an institution-wide staff engagement survey. Don’t be shy.
Have a lovely weekend,
Friday 10th February
Thank you for your work again for another week. Apparently it is nearly ‘Innovative Learning Week’ in the university, so if you are feeling especially innovative, that’s the week to do it!
You will have seen a few messages about the staff engagement survey. You know what to do.
There have been a flurry of recruitments recently, some of which have resulted in internal promotions. I’ll do a round-up of those soon. Thank you to everyone who is giving time to panels and processes.
Congratulations to more of our ITIL winners: Chris Dow, Richard Hogg, Cailan Campbell and Lucas Morris have all passed their ITIL exams.
Well done to everyone who is getting confirmations of conference papers, sounds like there will be a large group taking the OER highroad to Inverness.
Next week includes more strike days and also Valentines Day which gives me my annual chance to highlight that it is also the day to celebrate St Cyril and St Methodius, the patron saints of metadata. Cyril and Methodius began translating the Bible in the 9th Century but ran up against the problem of the lack of a suitable alphabet. They had access to a substantial body of important information; they wanted to share this with a wider audience, and to ensure that it was transmitted accurately and preserved for posterity in a way that would be easily comprehensible. When they found that no existing encoding system was adequate for the task, they set about developing a new one. Cyril invented a new coding system. He invented a new alphabet. His work formed the basis for Cyrillic still widely used today. Methodius ‘s name was actually Michael but he changed it to reflect his key research priorities: persistent pursuit of truth conducted in an orderly and methodical way. Naming things is important.
Have a good weekend,
Friday 17th February
Thank you for your work for another week. I think we have to assume that Nicola Sturgeon and Jacinda Arden had a New Years resolution bet on to see who could exit their leadership job first. I expect they will now form some kind of touring supergroup.
As we approach pancake fest, Mardi Gras and Carnivale, congratulations to Miki for passing her ITIL exam, and to Juan who is now Adobe Certified Professional in Adobe After Effects, and to Ellen and Nikki who both passed their Association of Project Managers Project Management Qualification. It is great to see so many of you gaining and updating your professional qualifications and certifications. I hope you are all keeping your P&M learning record up to date. Nikki and Ellen have earned a whole 6 SCQF credits and a digital badge.
Exciting times for our MOOC course leaders. Our learning technology MOOCs are now on Coursera ( as well as FutureLearn). Stephen, Geoff, Callum, Lizzy, Andres and Marcello prepare for world domination.
Thank you to all who are writing jobs descriptions for this year’s summer intern intake. We seem to be on track to recruit another 50 people from the university to work with us this summer. You may be interested to take a look at this survey published by JISC about the digital skills of professional services staff working in universities, it seems to suggest quite a different profile from academic staff or students. Survey: professional services still operating under pre-pandemic conditions | Jisc
Speaking of working conditions. As ever LTW are ahead of the game because we have LST. LST are piloting an ‘all in one’ device designed for use in a hybrid working environment, giving a potential solution for collaboration and informal ad hoc meetings. If you want to check it out, the NEAT Frame is currently located in booth 13 in Level H East and further information and guidance can be found here. Give it a go. If you would like more space for collaborative meetings there are now special LTW collaboration desks – 8 additional desks (imaginatively named 1-8) on Level K West ( near the Brenda Moon Board Room). Located on the castle side you will find a pool ( not an actual pool) of desks dedicated for collaboration / quiet area – each desk has a screen and connections available for laptop connectivity. All LTW teams are welcome and encouraged to use that space.
I am aware that any period of sustained industrial action can be exhausting for all involved. I am a strong believer that if you are a member of a union you should remain a member of that union even when you become senior management. The reason for this is that I believe you get better decision making when there is diversity around the board table, and union members are part of that diversity of thinking. Having some managers in the room who are union members means you get better management which is more inclusive and considerate of a range of staff views. I blogged more about the role of learning technology during times of strike learning technology leadership and strike action – .
Have a lovely weekend,
Friday 24th February
Thank you for your work for another week. It’s been another busy one.
The accessibility data which has been gathered as part of the Learn Ultra Project is really impressive. It shows that care is being taken by you and by our colleagues in schools to ensure that the learning experience for students is accessible and inclusive. If you haven’t seen this data Lee-Ann is working on drawing out headline messages.
We have more new colleagues to welcome: Keir Lavin has joined our AV team bringing a background in colour, sound and time travel. Claire Panella has joined our witch hunting data team to find the few remaining ‘impossible witches’. We are also advertising a fine set of interesting looking summer internships https://www.unitemps.com/branches/university-of-edinburgh/ please use all your social media channels to make this look like a cool place to work. We aim to attract the best and brightest students to work in these roles.
Looking forward to Open Education Week and International Womens Day, it is great to see a range of activities being planned. This is your monthly reminder that if you like to contribute to open knowledge and address structural imbalance, you can join Ewan’s wikipedia editing event this afternoon.
For those of you who are working on your CMALT portfolios I am pleased to say that University of Edinburgh will be the first university in Scotland to try to develop in-house accreditation for CMALT. https://www.alt.ac.uk/news/all_news/cmalt-internal-accreditation-pilot-gets-underway
This will mean we can celebrate and assess the portfolios and professional experience of learning technologists here, in the context of the Scottish HE sector and regulatory environment. Any of you who would like to include something about developing assessment strategies in your portfolio might want to join those of us thinking about how we will do this!
Have a good weekend,
Friday 3rd March
Thank you for your work for another week.
You may have seen that the closing date for the staff engagement survey has been extended. At last count the return rate from ISG was nearly 60%. It has to be said, that is significantly higher than any other part of the university, but that’s still only a 2.1, lets aim for a First and get to at least 70% Last chance to complete the Staff Engagement Survey
I promised you news about internal promotions. Don’t let anyone tell you it isn’t possible to get promotions and development opportunities in professional services. Very well done to those who have applied and been successful: Lucas Morris, Jamie Smith, Robyn Pritkzer, Rebecca Morris, Paul Smyth, Ed Lithgow, Alastair Taylor and Susanne Knowles are all moving or seconding to new roles in their teams. Thank you for choosing careers with LTW, we are lucky to have you.
As we are now at the start of March, thank you to all who continue to feed data into our service and project reports. Thank you to those of you who continue to try to chase down data which no-one seems to know. Speaking of data, Jon Power tells me that there are nearly 90 square meters of chalkboard fitted into the new Nucleus building. Old technology is sometimes still the best.
As we head into Open Education week the media studio team have been finding new ways to help others reuse our resources and have created a Pexels account with some of our studio b-roll footage and in just a few months its seen nearly half a million views and 4,000 downloads. https://www.pexels.com/@university-of-edinburgh-328305910/ They also created a short video to help promote the studio and show how it can be used https://media.ed.ac.uk/media/1_tjsc1mpg
In health and safety news, following my accident with the badge maker Lauren has produced useful video on how to use it properly.
In actual health and safety news I received an update which highlighted that the ISG first aiders and firewardens are now mostly ‘clustered’ in one wing. If that’s you, thank you for volunteering and taking on these important roles. There is also now a handy video to show you the right way to get out of AH fast AH Fire Evacuation FINAL V2.mp4
Speaking of important community roles, remember to add your name to the LTW (Light, Temperature and Water) care rota for our foliage friends.
Have a lovely weekend,
Friday 10th March
Thank you for all your work in a packed week of Purim, Holi, Lailat al Bara’ah, Fravardiganfestival, Digifest and International Womens Day. Best wishes to everyone in LST who are giving things up for Lent.
For IWD the LTW badge machine was going full tilt and the digital signage was seen all across campus. Even giant Ada ‘Lego’ Lovelace came out of her cupboard. Thank you to all who helped including Julie, Nicky, Jordan, Lesley, Lilinaz, Lauren, Fiona, Fiona, Lorna, Satu, Shivangi, Ari, Ewan and a special mention for Jordan’s excellent ribbon twirling skills. So many hidden talents in LTW.
Thank you to all of you working against the clock to get our Learn Ultra training programme in place. Thank you to all who spent some time on our recruitment stand at the careers fayre.
Welcome to Michael Lindsay, who joins our AV teams. Some of you may have experienced ( and appreciated) his previous work if you did jury duty ( as I did) during lockdown. https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/melissa/2021/01/17/buffering-justice/
After all those internal appointments I mentioned last week we are left with a number of vacancies. Thank you to Wesley for taking on the task again of attracting more Learning Technology Support Officers. Hopefully we’ll have more new colleagues joining us before the summer.
You may have spotted that in Gavin’s absence I was allowed to write the blurb for the ISG staff newsletter this week, in which I highlighted the shocking gap/lack of women and girls in Scotland studying computer science. These stats show that those women who do study and go on to careers in IT are remarkable and rare. We are lucky to have you. And we must do all that we can to support careers via school work experience, internships, careers fayres job boards and celebrations.
Have a good weekend, wrap up warm.
Friday 17th March
Thank you for your work for another week.
Congratulations to Alan, another internal promotion in EDE! Well done to everyone who got papers and posters accepted to the University of Edinburgh Learning and Teaching Conference. Even if you are not presenting, you may wish to attend. Discuss that with your line manager.
Thank you to all of you who continue to champion and chip away at the accessibility challenges in your presentations, your software, your platforms, your documents, your websites, your course materials. It is just another area in which we must be vigilant.
In early March we passed Equal Pay Day 2023, the point in the year when the average woman stops working for free. Pi Day is a good day to check how much of the pie you are getting.
https://www.tuc.org.uk/news/gender-pay-gap-means-women-work-free-two-months-year-tuc On the Ides of March a lot of people were on strike: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-62134314 Although we have worked hard to tackle the pay gap in LTW it is still very real for many family, friends and colleagues. The employers are making offers to the unions this week. If an agreement is reached pay, pensions and conditions will improve for all.
You will be aware that every year in ISG we recognise and reward staff who make an exceptional contribution to the work of the university you can find out more: Contribution Reward (sharepoint.com). The deadline for nominations to be sent to me, via your manager, is today, 17th March, so if you haven’t done it yet, now is the time. If you are interested in how we analyse and use data about pay and reward, I’ll arrange a presentation session soon.
Also coming up soon is our Mandatory Training Day, the day on which we do our mandatory training. Last year we managed to all get most of it done in one day, all at once. If you come into the office on that day I will provide snacks and you can tell me what you think of the elearning packages we have to work through. We have changed the line-up of the training offer this year to feature less about consent and more about escape. You can see the MTD playlist here:
We have our summer student intern adverts out, and we are really seeing the impact of having an interesting job title. Applications are up to be a Chat GTP or witchfinder intern, less so for some of the other roles. Speaking of AI and accusing people, Turnitin AI detection may be rapidly rolled out by the vendor whether we like it or not. Given the current hysteria it is likely to be a widely used feature and I suspect it will not remain free for long.
As we head towards Ramadan and Nowruz, times of feasting and fasting, but also springtime bake sales and all-staff lunches make sure you bring a small Tupperware ™ box if you need to time-shift your snacks.
Happy St Patricks Day, be sure to eat your greens.
Friday 24th March
Thank you for your work for another week and welcome to even more new colleagues.
LST are pleased to announce the addition of Jack Simon, Matthew Henderson and Alex Jones to the team of service technicians. Drawing from their expertise gained from working in various educational institutions, event industry, and commercial AV companies, they bring a diverse range of AV and IT knowledge to our fleet.
Jack, Matthew and Alex are joining us 3 years since my ‘messages to my staff during lockdown’ began. https://thinking.is.ed.ac.uk/melissa/messages-to-my-staff/
It was difficult, back then, to think about how we would ever be having workplace gatherings. Now we are settling into our new ways of working and taking care to create a safe, welcoming and flexible environment in the office I am pleased we are able to gather again. Next week we will have a wing lunch on Tuesday and a bake sale on Wednesday.
In conjunction with the bake sale you all have the chance to take part in the ‘LTW Beatson Bake Bison Basin Birthday Bonanza’. By guessing the birthday of the bison you have the chance to win: a) a pudding basin, and b) free tickets to visit LTW’s Pudding Bison at Edinburgh Zoo.
I am pleased to see the Principal has taken onboard a suggestion from Rab and Chris and is now rocking the graduation stage wearing his ‘Madonna mic’. No comment on the other elements of costume which were suggested.
I am pleased to hear from KSC (Knowledge Strategy Committee) that ‘you would have to have been living under a rock not to have heard about Learn Ultra’ #commsgoals. No comment from LTW’s pancake tortoise at Edinburgh Zoo.
Have a lovely weekend,
Friday 31st March
Thank you for your work for another week.
Thank you for a spectacular display of baked-good excellence for a good cause. Thanks to Lee Ann, Fiona B, Fiona H, Nikki, Marcello, Paul, Elaine, Karen, Kat, Myles, Delia and Miki our Beatson Bake Sale table was replete and groaning. Thanks to your generosity and your guesses in the Bison Birthday Bonanza you have raised more than £800. There are still some badges (pins for your pinny) left on Fiona’s desk for your Easter styling.
I am delighted to announce that the winner of the chocolate-filled Pudding Basin and tickets to the Zoo is: Kat Neuman!
We have waved goodbye this week to Ari Cass-Maran, but she left us a blog to think about. https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/website-communications/cherish-inclusive-design-standards/
Speaking of blogging, Emma Horrell published a series of blog posts sharing our approach and reasons, the latest of which links out to our Mega Menu visualisation tool playground. Huge credit to Nick Bush, who developed this tool from scratch.
This week we welcome new student trainers to the Digital Skills Team. Sishir and Mbikwa started this week, Maksims and Mustafa are starting next week. Between them they give us much needed support for Python Training and Coding Club.
In the ongoing AI Hysteria Shadow Wars Karen Howie won a small victory by adding her ( our) voice to the many universities lobbying Turnitin at an international level to allow us an opt-out of their imperial imposition of black-box untested CHAT GPT detection tools. After much protest and bluster Turnitin learned how to make an on/off switch. We hope.
Congratulations to Lee-Ann and Marcello for being nominated in the CAHSS and CMVM staff awards respectively as team players and top collaborators. This is real testament to the work that you do in partnership with colleagues in schools across the Colleges.
If you like old testaments, next week I will be mostly grinding walnuts into paste and telling stories of exodus. If you like messages from the past, the Estates department have planted a huge rock. https://www.ed.ac.uk/estates/news/news-archive/swedish-runestone
If you like awards and feel inspired to nominate your colleagues ( or selves) https://www.scotwomenintech.com/swit-awards2023, https://www.apereo.org/node/5383/, https://ukitindustryawards.co.uk/ukitindustryawards2023/en/page/categories, https://www.alt.ac.uk/about-alt/awards, https://inclusiveawards.com/nominate/
Thank you as ever for your help in sharing job adverts on Linkedin. We now have more than 4,000 followers. I don’t know if that is a big number comparatively but it is certainly many more than we had before.
Thank you for your responses to the Staff Engagement Survey. ISG submitted the most responses by a country mile. There is an ISG All-staff meeting next week at which Gavin will talk again about his plans for our hybrid workplace, I am confident that the thinking you and your managers have already done on this has put LTW in a good position. If you are interested in the latest emerging research about hybrid working, pop along to this https://www.business-school.ed.ac.uk/event/the-positive-impacts-of-hybrid-work-on-the-quality-of-working-life
Have a good weekend,
Friday 7th April
Thank you for your work again this week. Well done to everyone who made it through Lent and can now eat chocolate again. Welcome to Ema Morabito and Abdulrazak Osuntokun who have joined us to help with Learn migrations.
Thank you to all involved in internship interviews and selections. We got loads of applications for the roles and I am confident we will get an excellent group of summer workers again this year.
Teaching has now mostly finished and the real work begins, without the students around in our lecture halls we can get down to renewing and improving them. During exam periods our systems and platforms provide high stakes support as thousands of assessments are submitted and processed. Some of our colleagues will be taking part in a boycott of assessment and marking.
April weather can be a bit unpredictable. If you are on campus and out and about and you think you might need a hybrid working hoodie, let me know.
It was great to see so many of you attending or tuned in to the ISG All-staff meeting. I know that the ‘new ways of working’ policies raised many comments. Thank you again from me for working together so well to establish the hot-desking and desk-sharing within your teams. All of this feeds forward into discussions about the future of ISG space.
I noticed someone in the Q&A asking about experimenting with AI in work time. In LTW the answer is yes, and I want to hear any suggestions on how using it can make our lives easier, how we can combat the biases inherent with in it , how we build our own, improve our services and how we train others to have the skills to use it in ethical ways. Just be careful not to put work/data/content into it.
If you have ideas how AI can infiltrate our workplace through our pets using their cute and cuddly appearance please do blog about it like Karen has https://blogs.ed.ac.uk/khowie/2023/04/04/an-introduction-to-ai-in-teaching-learning-and-assessment-told-through-the-medium-of-ai-generated-schnauzer-pictures/
Have a good weekend.
Friday 14th April
Thank you for all your work this week.
Welcome to Scott Coutts who joins us as Marketing and Communications Manager for Online Learning. The experience of our online students is very important to the University and currently the online students report a more positive ‘sense of belonging’ score than the on-campus ones do. Ari has written an article for THES about the importance of including online learners in marketing and communications. The aim is to make sure everyone at your institution knows that online students exist, even if the majority of students on campus never see them. We want to make sure our university is equally known for being a top online learning destination. How to showcase your online courses in university marketing (timeshighereducation.com) If you would like to write articles for the THES, don’t be shy, contact Lauren J-S or Fiona H today.
Thinking about the growth of online learning I was remembering that it was 13 years ago this week that I started planning for hybrid. 13 years ago this week a volcano with a difficult name erupted in Iceland and a huge cloud of ash spread across the skies of northern Europe. All flights were cancelled and students and staff of the university I worked at were all stranded wherever they were having their Easter holidays/visits home/research trips/conferences. That is when I realised that online learning infrastructure was going to be a big thing for HE business continuity on this island. The cloud of ash could have lasted a thousand years and knocked Europe back into ‘the dark ages’. (Year Without a Summer – Wikipedia) Luckily it didn’t. But it did make me find out more about video conferencing, virtual classrooms and media asset management. Speaking of which, March saw an increase of 1 million minutes of content viewed (3.2 million) in Media Hopper Replay compared to March 2022 and current forecast shows that we are on track to deliver more captures than any previous year. Alongside this the number of support calls from the lecture theatres are rising again, Teaching Spaces Technology Support saw an increase of 36% compared to the same period last year, showing a return to pre-pandemic levels and the Nucleus and EFI Test spaces coming on-board this year.
Have a good weekend,
Friday 21 April
Thank you for your work again this week.
The LST team will be busy today rapidly flipping the Gordon Aikman Lecture Theatre into a top concert venue for Scottish pop superstar Lulu. Musselburgh: The Brunton ‘heartened’ by response as new venues added | East Lothian Courier If you see them down there, give them a shout.
If you have missed out on your Lulu tickets there is still time to book for the L&T conference instead. Learning and Teaching Conference 2023 | The University Of Edinburgh (eventscase.com) Ask your manager before you book. I can see a privacy statement but no accessibility statement on that site.
If you haven’t used your one day of paid volunteering yet this year, and you like a bit of a jumble-sale vibe you could join ‘The Big Sort’ Edinburgh University Students’ Association Every June, thousands of students leave University of Edinburgh accommodation and they leave tons of items behind. Students and staff can volunteer to help keep as much out of landfill as possible and to direct goods to Welcome Week’s FreeShop event, local charities, community groups and our sustainability partners. You may find a treasure.
As the BBC report University student complaints hit record high in England and Wales for fourth successive year – BBC News the Jisc report International students’ digital experience phase one: a review of policy, academic literature and views from UK higher education – Jisc is now available. It may be of interest to all of you who design student facing services and try to minimise ‘digital shock’. The shock of the UCU marking boycott will also hit our students hard. WonkHe has thoughts Could the marking and assessment boycott break the magician’s code? | Wonkhe
Thank you to all of you who have been chatting with me about Chat GPT. I managed to cause some controversy at a conference in Leeds this week ChatGPT ‘experimentation’ puts universities in ‘dangerous position’ | Times Higher Education (THE)
Friday 28th April
Thank you for your work for another week.
In the seasonal reshuffle of interns, we are waving goodbye to Chiaojyun Yan, Ismail Toba, Matthew Spence and Sophia Blum, but just to keep us on our toes some are re-joining as new interns in a few weeks. In other appointments the WAC team are chuffed that we are the first UK University to appoint a Web Archivist to preserve 21st century history. We are also chuffed to see the Edinburgh Awards ceremony had 5 students who achieved the ‘Digital Skills Specialists’ Edinburgh Award and 10 students who achieved the ‘Volunteering with Wikipedia’ Edinburgh Award and others, including Sophia, who won other Edinburgh awards for other good work. Well done, all.
Speaking of winning, the Online Course Production Service team have won ‘Changemaker’ award 2022-23 Changemaker Award recipients | The University of Edinburgh for social responsibility. Congratulations to everyone who helps to make change. You know how much I enjoy recognising LTW achievements, I managed to get a proper journalist to help with that : Frog soup: HE’s anxieties about AI’s advance | Times Higher Education (THE)
Coming up in May are a raft of bank holidays, a Eurovisison sweepstake and the LTW Mandatory Training Day. I know you are excited. So much bunting, so little time.
Have a good weekend,
Friday 5th May
Thank you for your work for another busy week.
Thank you to the teams working right now on a major incident which may impact delivery of exams today. An IT outage on top of an assessment boycott will be hard on students.
Welcome to Magda Dundas, Cari Romans and Louise Dutnell who joined EDE this week as Learning Technology Support Officers, you join us at a busy time!
Well done to Sean Sweeney and Joe Currie in the Learn team who managed to roll over the new courses in record time with no glitches. Learn has been rolled over and all new courses for next year have been created in the new template and are now ready to be populated. Another important milestone reached and I hope to see a rush of colleagues getting trained and piling in from their sandboxes into their new teaching areas.
Thank you to the Graphic Design team for producing some splendid bespoke desk decals, which I hope will help us all experiment with different kinds of working in clearly identifiable desk ‘zones’ I’ll be glad of your feedback on this new way of working. Thank you to the plant care team for your vigilance.
Thank you to Lauren, Jen, Stratos and Tracey for presenting with me this week. Thank you to Paula and Shivangi for presenting about their work with the web publishers community.
Well done in advance to everyone who has been successful in gaining an additional increment or lump sum or voucher. Your managers nominated you in recognition of the work you do. The panel has met. The letters are NOT out yet, but I expect the formal letters to be coming soon. In the spirit of fairness we analyse the spread of reward nominations across all of ISG: The split of nominations for additional pay increments this year sits at exactly 50:50 women to men. The split of nominations for lump sums for women has moved a bit – 41.6% from 40%, Overall the proportion of nominations for women has increased to 44% from 41% – which is closer to our overall proportion of women within ISG (47%). We wait to see how rewards reflect nominations.
I know you will all be looking forward to LTW Mandatory Training Day, just a reminder that we chose the date carefully to align with national ‘Learning at Work Week’ Home (learningatworkweek.com) A reminder of the LTWMTD instructions will be sent soon, but it is important now that you keep that whole day clear, we will all do all our mandatory training together in a one-er. Like an INSET training day that school teachers get. It’ll be fun!
I hope you had a forceful Star Wars Day and brightly coloured Cinco de Mayo.
I trust you have your coronation street party baking and bunting well under way.
Friday 12th May
Thank you for your work again this week.
Thank you again to Joe and Sean who kept Learn on the up. My apologies to Kevin and Anna for springing a conference presentation on them at v short notice.
You may have noticed that the Educause Horizon Report 2023 is out. 2023 EDUCAUSE Horizon Report | Teaching and Learning Edition | EDUCAUSE Library this is a good one to read, partly to check that we have projects or plans in each of the key trend areas, and partly to include in your evidence and citations in your business/investment cases.
The marking boycott by UCU members at Edinburgh is attracting media coverage, including on the BBC radio 4 Today. For those interested in fairness, another good read is the Equal Pay Audit which has now been published, along with the latest outcomes from the EDMARC report and both can be found on the EDI monitoring pages Monitoring and Data | The University of Edinburgh. Senate Education Committee considered this week Neil’s suggested changes to the Accessible and Inclusive Learning Policy (AILP) which draws upon knowledge gained from our services ( media hoppers) and project (learn foundations and ultra) and our regular training delivered by EDE.
Jenni reports that the 5th most watched course on LinkedIn Learning (by UoE users) last month (April) was ‘How to Research and Write using Generative AI Tools’. Find out what the other top four were by looking at DST monthly service reports.
Also reporting excellent take-up within LTW is Fiona B’s Eurovision Sweepstake . All countries are taken. Sad losers voted out in the semi-finals include Ireland, Malta, Latvia, Azerbaijan, the Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, San Marino, Georgia, Iceland and Romania. Our resident Eurovision critic Alan Hamilton is tipping Austria and Croatia with having catching songs, but it’s anyone guess who will take home the jackpot of £37 this weekend.