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Showing posts from May, 2012

Open data for the University?

It’s been an ambition of mine, since I started in Applications Division three years ago, to create a set of reusable interfaces onto the university’s core data sets, so that any university systems could have a consistent set of information about our courses, our people, our buildings, and so forth.  We’ve already taken some steps towards this goal.  Now I’m seeking requirements from learning technologists across the university as to what information they might need to provision and integrate their e-learning systems.

This is happening under the benevolent governance of the Distance Education Initiative (DEI).  The idea is that a course organiser can select a range of tools for her online teaching course, from a range of those available, with advice from their friendly learning technologist.  The DEI “data hub” will then provision those services with accounts for the people involved in the course, including students and tutors.  If people join or leave the course, their accounts will b…

Listening to users

At today’s meeting of the project board for the Office 365 for Students project, the main topic of debate was when to switch over from the old mail system to the new.  All the technical work is currently progressing well and we expect to be ready by the start of the new semester, so this shouldn’t be a constraint.  The issue is when would be most convenient for the student community.

The message from the school and student representatives on the board, backed by the User Support Division, is that we should wait until the new (calendar) year.  At the start of the academic year, students are focussing on settling into their new accommodation and their new courses.  For first years in particular, they will have more pressing concerns than a switch to an new e-mail system.  They will be using the student e-mail system already to receive important messages from the university and we don’t want to disturb this communication path.

The next option we considered was switching over in the midd…