27 February 2015 Open Data event, UUK

27 February sees me at Woburn House, HQ of Universities UK at an event with HESPA

Woburn House

We’re here to explore the role of open data in the work of institutional planning and strategic decision making. The workshop is a joint exercise between Universities UK and the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association as part of the UUK ‘Creating value from open data project’. Summary / press release here. This one is allied closely to the Diamond Efficiencies and effectiveness report released yesterday. LINK. The project manager (Will Hammond) is expecting to publish outputs by July 15.

Specifically we’re being asked to explore the discoverability, usability and application of open data.

This is rather timely for the HESA and Jisc Business Intelligence initiative http://www.business-intelligence.ac.uk UUK intend to run a series of these workshops with different UK Higher Education (HE) representative groups to produce a White Paper on open data for HE, making recommendations for direction of travel along with case studies.

The HESA and Jisc project has an R&D aspect which will soon provide a practical approach to the analysis of disparate data collections for useful insights. We’re very keen to include useful currently open data (such as Mosaic) but also helping to open up access to closed data sets for experimentation in the first instance.

Here’s a graphical summary of that piece


These are the sort of questions posed at the workshop today;

1. Do participants currently use open data to support their work?
2. How might participants like to use open data to support their work?
3. How could open data sets be used more effectively? What skills or tools might help?
4. What barriers limit access to data sets that participants would like to use?

We began looked at some existing open data sets from sources such as data.gov.uk and the Labour Market Information for All initiative to explore whether and how they might be used alongside existing sector data resources such as the Heidi-Plus and Heidi-Lab initiatives I’m involved in on behalf of Jisc.

Here are a few open data source based services;
Unistats (aims to compare official course data from UK Universities)
equipment.data (aims to enable access to UK research equipment)
Open Data Institute http://theodi.org/about-us

And some data sources

UUK data sources

Folks here echoed the suggestion of the identification of business questions, data sources then analysis and visualisation for successful BI. This is the approach HESA and Jisc are taking with Heidi-Lab. We’ll be running events to gather the questions, identify likely data sources, prioritise for action, analysis through agile iterative development. We hope to innovate quickly and produce new insights that can go out on the Heidi-Plus service.

The outputs of this UUK initiative should be most beneficial to Jisc and HESA moving to action and helping the wider sector accrue the benefits of cutting edge BI through a shared service approach.

A call for Jisc to help address the tiers and subscription costs for granularity of access to data (HESA and others)…. no small ask! Maybe the BI initiative will help gather evidence of possibility and demand.

In conclusion I have captured below some of the key findings from the Round table exercise

What data is being used?
UCAS, REF Data citations, League tables, OECD, lack of international data for comparison, no open data per se, DFE, schools data on GCSE and A-Level, target schools, ONS on migration, internal data sets (interoperability issues here), DFE (to help with prior personal pedagogic preferences?)

What data isn’t being used?
KIS, DELI, student lifecycle (see Jisc Prospect to Alumnus initiative), a feeling that there are many collections that are not used (see HEDIIP)

Key questions people wanted answers to;
Student lifecycle – financial position and spend – welfare
What students do, how they spend their money, financial decisions
Student lifecycle (prior and post i.e. prospect to alumus – see above link)
What does the workforce look like in the next 10 years – who is retiring?
Are your students successful?
Are we good value? What is our regional economic input?
Are our graduates in jobs (SLC, HMRC, get rid of HESA Destination of Leavers in HE)
Economic and social impact
Cost base

Who owns the data
What are we capturing, is it licensed secure and am I able to ingest into another system i.e. opening up data issues

Who are the users?
Academics, planners, policy makers, student satisfaction, those we may not know about (opening up data presents unexpected opportunities)

What data do you need?
Data dictionaries, Unique identifiers etc
National Pupil Database, ONS, skills gap operational benchmarking, social media data
Internal expenditure data (HESA and Jisc are looking into operational cost benchmarking for university services)
Procurement data
Health data
OECD (wealth / earnings data)

HESPA Conference 2015 – Day 1 SLC

Student loans company session exploring the Student Loans Company and how the data they are collecting.

Due diligence is key given the scale of the operation;


SLC serves UK Providers with Alternate (non-publically funded) providers the subject of a review. 60K learners in the Further Education sector eligible for loans before they consider Higher Education. SLC capture data about the service they offer (time to resolve queries, cost per transaction etc.) Collections include course information (UCAS / HESA do this too and could be a beneficiary of the Exchanging Course Related Information (XCRI CAP) Jisc initiative), chargeable fee rates, attendance (used to be linked to UK Borders I think), attendance and withdrawal and more.

Prospective student applications are collected and assessed – who had applied, when, what for and aggregated to give a view of student having applied for finance for a course.

Every SLC payment is dependent on attendance with the onus on the provider (institutions) to inform SLC of cessation of study with conformation of attendance a confirmation of fee accuracy. This results in significant peaks of attendance declarations (peaking at over 120K in a day). SLC therefore have national data on withdrawals with SLC data showing a decline in withdrawals year on year.


This data is provided to SLC account managers to share with their client Institutions (in a closed way, no benchmarking).

SLC data available is three categories; Applications for finance, Students, Former students.

The latter seems potentially very interesting. As students become liable to pay back their loan, SLC knows (via HMRC) employment details of the graduate / Alumnus. This seems very interesting as Higher Education providers seek to enhance and demonstrate graduate employability and career impact as well as impact on earnings. Yet SLC holds no detail of employer, whether the borrower graduated or not and has no right to capture data after the loan is repaid;


Seems this could be a candidate area for the HESA & Jisc BI Service. Yet……

SLC makes some data publicly available via gov.uk bt currently on application rates, a HE provider breakdown of payments for 12/13 and routine arrangements and agreements for anonymised / aggregated data by external parties – HESA, HEFCE, HEFCW, OFFA, manhunts by repayment status, average repayments, average balance per borrower each year into repayment. Also special projects – Human capital research project by Prof Shepard and Vignoles got an agreement with HMRC data lab and has taken SLC data and earnings from HMRC. So there’s a precedent to release some data for public use but via HMRC not SLC. Government and Administration have some access to student finance applications, payments and an annual statement on debt and repayments is made to BIS.

Rather than HEIs approaching HMRC separately, SLC suggested that linking SLC with HMRC data would seem a potential way forward but may require BIS and DfE coordination. A potential opportunity for the HESA/Jisc BI project? Noting that SLC are on the Advisory Panel for the HEDIIP programme, as are Jisc, as I think are HESA.

HESPA Conference 2015

February 2015 and I’m at Loughborough working with the Higher Education Strategic Planners Association (HESPA) conference #hespa15

Usual caveat – I’m blogging live from sessions so please treat as such!


This is really exciting for many reasons, not least HESPA members are a key stakeholder for a project I’m working on with HESA (Higher Education Statistics Agency). We’re developing Business Intelligence (BI) Services for UK Education and Research. HESA colleagues and I are presenting a workshop on day 2 and making a couple of announcements (these will be broadcast by @jisc and @hesa using the tag #hesajiscbi)
I blogged my first HESPA Conference this time last year and followed up discussing the project vision with the HESPA Executive. This is us a year on presenting at the event and gaining input going forward from delegates. All good stuff.

Session 1
John Foreshaw Director of Planning University of Salford
Key to this was an indication that the conference has grown. Some of the higher profile speakers including Professor Sir David Willetts (last year) and Professor Sir Ian Diamond this year (of the Diamond Review and report Efficiencies and Effectiveness in HE – something Jisc and I worked on implementing with UUK and others developing http://www.efficiencyexchange.ac.uk (Jisc and UUK continue to work on this and Diamond 2 – the UK Efficiencies and monitoring group). Also a big push on HEDIIP, the programme Andy Youell is Directing aiming to optimise the Higher Education Information Landscape. Also a key one for the bI project I’m representing.
Planners are a varied bunch coming from finance, administration and data analysis.

Session 2
HE – Challenges for Planning and Planners – Professor Sir Ian Diamond
Planning and strategic planning is essential and should be on the forefront of University Executive bodies. UK Universities are a national success story and seen as the most efficient in the world.

University economic contribution

The change of capital funding from the finding councils vs capital from sale loans and other sources is a big shift in making Universities responsible for income generation to meet their needs. This could with the decline in research funding from public sources (dramatic) and the importance of Europe.
Is the financial future rosy? Sadly not. With the election in May and likelihood of Conservative or Labour power of some sort both are committed to deficit decrease. It’s going to be ever more difficult to maintain funding levels for HE. Removing students from the immigration figures is imperative but not yet addressed. In Scotland and Wales elections are in 2016 so expect changes there to reflect deficit aspirations. The tension between FE and HE needs resolving – UK needs more graduates and more apprentices and more professional apprentices.

Jisc are working across HE and FE and we’re hoping to ensure FE benefit from our new BI services. Ian touched on the importance on procurement highlighting Jisc as the largest VAT Cost saving service. Ian called for one version of truth, the prevalence of low BI maturity characteristics – another area Jisc and HESA are collaborating on RE National shared services.

Key areas for improvement;

1. Delivering value from the estate (AUDE led) – significant income generation and efficiency gains, extending study times enhances the student experience etc. Probably a lot we could surface here as part of the BI project and this sis a theme for our workshop.
2. Asset and equipment sharing – good evidence but Ian calls for a robust set of metrics to evaluate the impact. An area our BI project could make impact in.
3. HR – staff information is a key topic for our BI service with ESA holding much of the data
4. Creating value from open data – Jisc is involved in the Open Data Initiative at Southampton (highlighted by Ian) and open data is a key area for R&D as part of the BI service
5. An efficient and sustainable research base – Bi could contribute to the case for investment in the research base, efficiencies for research funding and sustainability of the research base, develop metrics for a wider set of efficiencies from the research base – BI Service again
6. Evidence progression in efficiencies – savings from research, procurement, shared services should be collated – BI Service again

These map quite nicely to the HESA / Jisc BI initiative https://business-intelligence.ac.uk so good to see we’re on the right lines!

Final Keynote Educause 2014

New responsibilities for post-secondary education in the 21st century – Nancy Zimpher Chancellor of New York University

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Setting the scene of the importance of HE through the ages including the great depression, WW2, the space race and now the new opportunities afforded by the information age. Climate change, smart energy, the knowledge economy. The cost of HE and whether its is worth participating. You are not Mark Zuckerburg – stay in school. Educating more people and better is the best bet any society can make. A higher education is the single best investment you can make in your life. Affordability, Access (and completion), Accountability. In New York State alone there are 11 million people in need for Higher education; flexible and on learners own terms, opening career opportunities. Technology has a key role to play. The role of ‘applied learning’ as a feature of success is made as a successful bridge between HE success and entry into the workforce. A call to design curriculum to embrace hands on learning in real world settings. Collective impact as a step beyond collaboration – work together to enhance outcomes.

KEY LEARNING; The completion agenda is clearly a big issue in America. The UK HE model is aping that of America and yet here at Educause there’s a sense of the system being far from perfect. Make college practical, but not excessively so, lower the price, without lowering standards, look to technologies to help. I’m excited about educational analytics and have blogged in detail here about its potential. Jisc, HESA and HESPA are working together to help the UK HE sector move this important area forward through provision of tools and services and today we came to an agreement on a joint 2 year project to provide such to the 164 publicly funded providers of Higher Educaiton in the UK. Educause are very active in developing advice and guidance, while EUNIS have a task force. Looking across these and trying to achieve economies in effort and expertise to achieve mutual benefits seem prime. I hope to engage further with the EUNIS BI taskforce and have taken a position on the Educause program committee for 2015. I hope to play a role in taking the BI and analytics in education agendas forward and look forward to the challenges and benefits ahead.

EDUCAUSE 2014 insights, contacts and actions arising

A few notes here outlining next steps for me and my portfolio in light of my attendance at the conference


Contact made with Yves Épelboin from EUNIS RE BI Taskforce and BI Maturity exercise via Bob Strunz
Contact made with Hank Childers of HEDW (and therefore Aaron Waltz) and agreement gained to support UK BI Maturity measurement exercise
Opened the door at EDUCAUSE to comment the plans for Jisc Challenges on Prospect to Alumnus, Learner Analytics and the Jisc HESA Business Intelligence initiative. Aim to choose a specific area for genuine collaborative effort and mutual benefit. Alert Paul, Simon and HESA.
Update work plan to account for the Program Committee deadlines, seek adjunct readers and watch out for contact from Tim, Chair of stream
Excellent poster on a flexible toolkit to help non-project managers to deliver project success from Edinburgh University
and UCISA Project Management Practice Group toolkit (Mark Ritchie)
Need for a getting started EA modelling tool vs a complex expensive scalable tool. But the former needs some sustainability. Could be as simple as open source subscriptions (Luke)
Archie to develop a repository, multiple user support and cloud service (Nathalie)
Spreading EA capability across roles rather than a single EA modeller (Nathalie)
Need for a 3 way conversation between Jisc, UCISA, Archie (Luke)
Internet2 – a North American organisation providing various shared services to HEIs (Bill)
Develop the Mind Map of UK Analytics and BI initiatives and supply to Sector Intelligence
Work with Sector Intelligence to develop visual representation of same at a high level / overview of user benefits not project jargon
Isights in to the work d of the CIO – see stream of session chaired by Louisa
Invitation to an Educause event on Enterprise analytics in Seattle in June 2015
Issuing students with lap tops for 3 years of their course then reissuing to staff for the remaining lifetime. Putting students before staff. Coventry University.

Educause 2014 Day 2 PM

Session 1 MavCLASS


I was drawn to this session as it’s linked in with Purdue and is supported by Gates foundation, not to mention the abstract.

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The first session I’ve attended that is using a Gdoc to support.

‘Course Analytics’ providing individualised information about learners course assessments and activities to help them learn. Provides an example of a 500 seat course and presented the assessment regime. By providing students with increased instances of personalised feedback those struggling would seek more help resulting in better knowledge gain, performance and satisfaction.
Used learner assessment data to provide targeted feedback suggesting learning pathways for a human. This forms the Maverick comprehensive learning analytics support service (MavClass). Itegrates across Desire2Learn etc and provides insights to GAs as clickable RAG status giving insight into behaviours.

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KEY LEARNING POINTS; Providing students with RAG status based on assessments can trigger them to reach out for help. It’s not effective for all though. Significant knowledge gains were noted for those seeking help. Meaningful learner analytics requires early meaningful assessment. Know the data story you want to find, but let the data tell it and be accepting of the insights gained.

Session 2 Building a foundation for campus wide business intelligence – two perspectives

Heath Tuttle Director of Learning, emerging technologies and analytics University of Nebraska
CIO Gonzaga University


Realtime transitional data is a new way of thinking for HE and there’s more demand for it to, for example;

Provide information to grow enrolment and increase retention
provide a world class learning experience
Provide needed technologies

The information to answer these was available but scattered in different silos, by different stewards.

Existing data sources; Peoplesoft (student data, room, class, timetabling, room capacity), Conquest RMS (manages and monitors equipment and rooms) Purchase request system (home grown purchase/accounting system)

KEY LEARNING; Conquest RMS allows monitoring of equipment usage hence allows retirement and maintenance decisions for efficiency gains (200 gourds left on an projector lamp, lack of use of a BlueRay player etc). Connecting data silos revealed errors in the data. IT are delighted to gather student retention and registration data and providing it to relevant people. They have no sway in how it is used. So good at providing the insights, not interested in actioning them.

Gonzaga University
Used the MS BI Stack and BB analytics for insights. Being in charge of a BI / Analytics / Decision making service is like being a parent, the responsibility never ends. Nice diagram here of the process (BI and Analytics, not parenting);

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The killer analytics app – identify those students likely to gain the highest salaries and target them early for alumni relations and benefaction!
Need for a ‘translator’ someone who can talk registrar / HR / role XXX then translate to geek for developers. Nice idea.

A few of the data silos at Gonzaga University – Ouch!

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I’m out of power. In the words of Bugs Bunny. That’s all folks…..

Educause 2014 Day 2 AM

As I crossed the street from Convention Centre to join a meeting with Eden Dahlstrom (EDUCAUSE Director of Research Data, Research and Analytics) and Hank Childers (the Higher Education Data Warehouse) I came across an adult alligator in the bushes. Turned out to be plastic. No one was around to observe the dumb Brit running of the staircase!


Session 1 Student success is everyones business
A. Pam University of South Carolina ‘beyond the classroom matters’
Issues; accountability, transparency, increasing demand
Support Provision; ‘student affairs and academic support’ focuses on the whole person; intellectual, physical, emotional, social, vocational, spiritual.
Success Indicators; Learning, retention, graduation and employment

Aim to see the entire undergraduate experience in data. Essentially tracking student interactions with institutional systems beyond the academic program, something in the UK I know as Engagement Analytics. The problem faced is that student information systems do note record non-academic engagement and this is the subject of ‘beyond the classroom matters’.

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The vision here is that student analytics helps advise students of academic courses and non-academic activities to help enhance their chances of achieving well on those success factors. I don’t think this is a done deal but we’re hearing about vision and progress toward it.

KEY LEARNING POINTS; Seek friends and funding – IT have the key to delivering, but are bogged in other priorities. Success is about collaboration across disparate functions led by a champion and a shared vision.

B. Carleton College and Grinnell College qualitative and quantitative research to support student engagement in the support services
A presentation of longitudinal (5 year) studies into the role of student services in retention and progression. 86-95% six(!) year graduation rates. Six is interesting and perhaps reflects the student profile. Looking at 4 year and based on income these are national figures;

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The analysis gave actionable insights to improve the colleges performance against the average. The action brought poor in line with affluent at 4 year point. Students who drop out cost the institution $60K per year.

The major factor affecting student dropout was successful development of relationships. The college proposed to learn from other sectors and propose that the clinician / patient relationship is a helpful source. Who saw the student, what measure did they prescribe, did the student act on the advice, what was the outcome. Tracking and sharing these is the aim. The Co-Tutor system in the Uk does similar things to this.

KEY LEARNING; mine the data and create new ways to visualise to the right people at the right time. Real time systems. Look beyond the tips of your skis – predictive modelling to identify the soon to be at risk form the past. Work together. Look to emulate the medicine / patient model using diagnostic testing to provide insights into learning at an individual level.

Session 2 Analytics that inform: the university challenge
An expert led panel session sponsored by Realize IT.
Analytics – what does sit mean? Taken from BI – can we use the same type of approach to mine student data for insight. Faculty performance, student performance and improving student outcomes. Now using real time analytics to predict. Analogy again is medicine diagnosing and being empirical to diagnose weaknesses and offering a series of interventions to address those. There are powerful ‘code halos’ that can be wrapped around educators, students, institution to yield information and through algorithms drive a nexus of learning between the student and the institution. My, what a mouthful! Transactional data into insight, insight into interventions. We can accelerate students’ learning based on their competencies, prior knowledge and aspirations. We are finding ways to enhance learning for students who are perhaps not as driven as those who used to be successful. They are able to enjoy education more, finding it exciting, thrilling. The example was hiding the pill in the peanut butter – provide the less palatable materials within those a student finds enjoyable. So different ways of designing content. Individual curriculum design. Multi-modal ways of learning are the norm for the student body. The education industry needs to look at how new models of different paths to arrive at the same outcome can be embraced. Be careful what you wish for; Look at http://musicthatmakesyoudumb.virgil.gr – correlation of play lists to mean SAT scores – analytics can be made to prove anything but meaningful correlation isn’t always present!

KEY LEARNING POINTS; We are at the early stages of analytics. We are data rich and information poor. A code halo – how you mash the institution data with other – the ethics are important – hurrah – first time ethics has been mentioned in these sessions. Sequencing courses and curriculum should come soon. Diagnostic testing in medicine is expected, the notion needs to be embedded in education! An aggregated federated repository of related information is one vision of what needs to happen. Educational models need to be multi modal to suit individual learners and the needs of these learners should be profiled by analytics. Analytics will help inform how faculty spend their time and efforts with students. Deconstructing faculty roles; some will develop content, some to deliver, some to assess, some to deal with other student holistic needs. Analytics will change the fundamental role of faculty. Analytics will provide quantitative measures for the value add of Higher Education. They will obviate the need of end of module surveys and pave the way to performance related pay(!) for those faculty having the best instruction to their students (even if they may not be popular). A curriculum designer needs a different set of dashboards to a teacher.

Educause 2014 Day 1 PM


Session 1; Building organisational capacity for learning analytics.
A fast paced expert panel session including Linda L Baer (without Don Norris) reporting on their 2013 white paper with the same title. Linda outlined the stages of development resource as well as the ECAR Analytics Maturity Index for Higher Education.

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Next Ellen Wagner talked about PAR data sets, common framework and vocabularies. Importantly Linda outlined the Student Success Matrix; ‘knowing what to do next’ an analysis of actions institutions have taken and how effective they were. See data cookbook; http://www.par.datacookbook.com

University of Wisconsin described their journey of building organisational capacity for Learning Analytics;

1. Tech infrastructure, analytics tools and applications
2. Policies, processes, practices and workflows
3. Values and skills (includes learning analytics faculty support role)
4. Culture and behaviour
5. Leadership

Last Improving retention and advancement through the ‘education and career positioning’ system – Wisconsin. The suggestion here is to stop making things complicated. Students need to make informed decisions to achieve ‘advancement’ through education. Give students appropriate access to their data to help with this. This is personalising analytics – tailor it to the students. Comparison between travel self navigation vs education – career self navigation. The former is mature, the latter lacking.

KEY LEARNING: Predictions might lift the likelihood of identifying at risk students by 20%, 25%, 30%. This should be seen as a success. See the PAR Data Cookbook for actionable insights and the actions most successful in addressing them. Download the Baer and Norris 2013 white paper to help get started with Learning Analytics. This includes common data definitions and some practical tools which look well worth further exploration. UNISON is a consortium of American Universities working in collaboration to develop Learning Analytics in ways they have been unable to individually. Call for more pressure on IMS Global from US HE.

Session 2; BI Driven Social and Cultural Change
Session being streamed around the world. How exciting!
Michael Hanson Finance Director and Director of the BI Institute, Oregon State
Lois Brookes CIO Oregon State
and colleagues from George Washington University

BI initiative came from CIO in response to demand for data.
1. Data Warehouse from
2. Self Service Reporting

2010-12 failed implementation of a vendor BI solution – why – no SRO, technical challenges, user satisfaction levels, project cost escalated due to staffing, maintenance agreements and hardware. Terminated in April 2013 after 1.8 million dollar spend with little progress.

Restarted the BI initiative and have a fully successful service after 18 months. Here’s how;
Identified why the initiative was core to the university;

‘Data is a strategic asset if the university but only to the extent that it is available, true and actionable’

Used Agile development (iterative cycles) and have 300 plus reports with 1600 users by addressing Organisational and Technological issues

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Automatic role based authorisation

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Requires a Business Intelligence Competency Centre

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KEY LEARNING Organisational; View data as a strategic asset. Make data a part of the strategic plan. Discover what the senior managers need and turn them into champions. Introduce the notion of Data Stewardship – to smooth the way to organisational acceptance. Communicate the project at every opportunity. Trust employees. Be responsive to demands (aim to iteratively produce analyses in 2-3 days).
Technological; Build a data architecture. Enforce a no modifications policy at local level. Use Open Source and existing licenses where possible. Role based security to cope with number of users.
Talend for ETL
Tableau for report development

Educause 2014 Day 1 AM

September 2014 finds me in Orlando at the Educause 2014 conference.

Back in February Diana Oblinger invited me to join the 2015 program committee. That makes me the sole international member, good job my shoulders are broad!
So I’m here with 4 aims;

1. Gathering intelligence on BI and analytics conference session content, quality and formats
2. Seeking overlaps and opportunities through side meetings and meeting the 2015 program committee
3. Linking in with the Jisc sector intelligence team and seeking updates on the CIO sessions and various meetings they are undertaking
4. Contributing any relevant intelligence to the planning of Jisc Digifest 2015

With over 400 sessions in 2 full days and 7K plus delegates the advice I’ve picked up is pragmatic – choose carefully, build in time to reflect, make the most of the commercial area as its full of expertise.


This blog post will be deliberately concise. It won’t be a detailed record of the event as my previous posts have attempted. I’m going to try to provide a summary of each session I attend, then distill out the key learning points that struck me below. Here goes.

Session 1 Disrupting Innovation and the future of higher education – Clay Christianson
A key note talk in a room the size of an airport hangar, works surprisingly well.

Bit left field for me this but bear with, it may be worth it…..

Disrupting innovations are hard to catch up with as the case for sustainability isn’t there. Sustaining innovation tips include ‘competing against consumption’. ‘Non-consumption’ is the slack in the market.

Art Example; Putting up a picture in your house; For 3 weeks you enjoy it and are a consumer of art. After 3 weeks you pay less attention and become a non-consumer. A business may exist to offer a screen that provides new art every 3 weeks. It exploits the non-consumption.

‘The right product architecture depends on the basis of competition
Proprietary interdependent architectures’.

Mobile phone example; Proprietary; Nokia were disrupted by Blackberry which offered email and messaging, then Apple operating a the high end of cost and quality
Modular open architecture; Android is over running the market

PC example; Modular open; Dell, Acer, Quanta cannot distiniguish products fast enough. When modularity occurs the module providers make the money – intel and Microsoft.
Closed Proprietary; Apple highly distinguished, high end and expensive

App Development example; Closed proprietary – Microsoft and Apple – you can’t change the Windows code Open Modular – Linux

Dell and AsusTek example; Asus Tek started by making motherboards for Dell, Dell managed assembly, distribution, design etc (the modularity). AsusTek offered to take over each of these more cheaply. Dell accepted each noting increased profitability while assets and costs shrunk. Eventually Asus Tek were able to go to vendors and explain they were making the best computers in the world, they can supply them cheaper as a cheaper brand. Dell disappeared.

So where might we apply this to Higher education? As HE goes online we see open modular supply and accreditation for components of a degree across multiple institutional education suppliers. Standards are coming in to exploit this. The money is going to be made by the suppliers of the ‘components’. Scale becomes important as they can reach hundreds of thousands of students. Institutions beware or you may disappear entirely. Well. That’s the theory!

KEY LEARNING POINTS; models of disruptive innovation, closed proprietary and open modular are all relevant to the future of Higher Education.

Session 2 Leveraging Data for Strategic Advantage
A round table (EDUCAUSE CIO) discussion session led by experts Sharon Blanton (CIO Hawaii Pacific), John Phillips (Dell), Stephen Landry (CIO Seton Hall), Fred Richards (Ellucian and Cognos)
The convenors used www.tophat.com to gather responses to various questions rather than a ‘raise of hands’.

Here are the questions;
1. What is the current state of BI on your campus?
2. Where on the BI Maturity Model (Gartner) does your campus lie?
3. What does BI look like on your campus?
4. What functions are currently being addressed in your BI solution?
5. Who is the leader or champion of your BI implementation?
6. What is the greatest current challenge for BI on your campus?

Gartner BI maturity levels; Adhoc BI – repeatable BI – defined BI – managed BI – optimised BI

Here’s the survey; https://app.tophat.com/e/820097

It would have been good to have mapped this to a national survey such as these;
The Data Warehouse BI Maturity Tool
EUNIS BI Taskforce Survey 2013

KEY LEARNING POINTS; Of the 120 plus CIOs present in the session most declared low BI Maturity. NACUBO – the US equivalent of BUFDG are seen as key consumers and powerful proponents. Business process is a key preliminary step to successful BI implementation. Most here have no senior champion for BI. A committee of senior stakeholders was more common. A federated governance using a Business Intelligence Competency Centre (BICC) is declared as best practice while an Agile Development approach was described using sprints. The main challenge is seen as disparate data sources and data quality.
Top Quote; ‘there’s no such thing as mastering BI, it expands faster than you can catch it’

Session 3 Managing the digital campus from enrolment to graduation
I’m quite intrigued by this as Jisc is part way through a wide UK consultation termed ‘Prospect to Alumnus’ identifying issues, opportunities and thinning these down to 4 candidate areas for the development of new services to the UK HE sector.

Theme; Improving the student experience
Issue; admissions process was slow, self service meant students would upload data multiple times creating a backlog
Solution; Peoplesoft 9.0 implementation underpinned by a single student record

Theme; Accelerating the success of new hired employees
Issue; a 19 page document describes the manual processes to support this
Solution; Electronic checklist system for managers to complete

Theme; Electronic Content Management is paper reliant and prime for an update
Issue; Financial arrangements are delayed, paper storage is expensive, access is poor
Solution; Vendor provided solution implemented. Reports a 550% ROI based on the improvements. Essentially a records management initiative coupled with an electronic document management system cutting swathes through inefficiency and with some compelling impact measurement.

Summer of Student Innovation 2014

September 2014 and I’m at Jisc offices London at the final 2014 summer school event with the 21 projects Jisc funded to develop their ideas for technology underpinned innovation in Higher Education. Here’s a summary of the initiative and the project.


My own interest here is the ‘next steps’; which of these projects shows the best potential for a partnership with Jisc moving toward a respected service for our members.

Brettenham House

The summer school has provided an expert support group who, through working with the projects have developed and implemented a series of masterclasses to help move the student teams on toward ‘start up’ viability. Today we’ve got one expert led session then we move on to project ‘pitches’ to the expert support group with a view to giving feedback on next steps such as;

• Transition toward service
• Piloting
• Mentoring
• Supporting collaboration/synergy
• Development support
• Open community support
• Hosting and marketing
• Other e.g. introductions to start ups, investors, related initiatives

First off we’re hearing from Alan Greenberg, former Director of Apple Education EMEA and Asia @alangreenberg.

The vision; develop an educational business for Apple made available through Podcasting, ‘iTunes U’ (a billion downloads of free access content) and mobile.
Setting the scene; the Open University model 9K students curricula delivered online and run ‘as a business’. It can be done and there are big opportunities for technology underpinned mays to teach smarter, quicker, more effectively noting the Chinese, Indian and South American markets are prime.
Opportunities; Curation (there’s a lot of free content available, how does one find the right content, how to best use it, how is it being used).
Cradle to grave; lifelong learning and understanding the value proposition the initiatives here are offering to improve that process
Learn anything using the worlds best resources
Track all your learning; professional, academic and informal
Provide enterprise with a modular way of understanding a persons collection of skills (matching people to opportunities)
Next generation in innovative assessment
The inappropriateness of ‘exit strategies’ – user needs, opportunities, development, disruption, sustainability, spin out; an iterative process not a concluding event
Importance of ‘Pilots’ – working collaboratively with an organisation who can tell you want your product can do for them – the value of building ‘exemplars’ to test the environment – not what you tell people, what you can do. This is an area Jisc should focus on helping happen
The importance of a mentor / wider team than tech dev – the developer is focused on the technology – but can they communicate what the benefits are, what the technology actually does for people? This is an issue I’ve seen projects grapple with, those that fail here make little progress.
Sustainability – does it have legs, does it have a lifetime can it support itself
Learn how to learn – the importance of this in the education system – the apparent lack of skills to support this in entrants to HE (personal work planning and management, collaborative working, communication skills to deal with different stakeholders from purchasing decision makers to teachers using the product (and the opportunities for technology to help out).
The Summer of Student Innovation is a fantastic learning opportunity and must be about fun – enjoy the experience!
Bring Your Own Device – a lot of nonsense – students have devices, content is available – adding value; relevance of content, managing content, curating content, these are the issues to address