[JISC] Weeknote 14/33

A big part of the focus of this week was on OER matters again – which is good as I am finding myself more and more interested in this area of activity. I wrote a couple of blogposts; one on my work blog outlining some issues and achievements on the technical side of our OER work to date and another on this blog about some thoughts on RDFa and OER. I’m also working something up about the new Google Prediction API and whether something could be done with that to aid discovery and user experience around finding OERs.

We had a good teleconference (a rare thing in itself!) with reps from the eLearning team, CETIS and IE which is hopefully going to be a more regular thing where we can share ideas and activity updates in the technical sphere of JISC OER work.

It was also the UKOER Call Phase 2 ‘virtual town meeting’ this week for which I was one of the presenters. JISC ‘town meetings’ are an opportunity for potential bidders to get more insight than the documentation offers and to ask questions. Traditionally these are face-to-face events but on this occasion we used the online conferencing tool Elluminate Live – which was an experience to say the least! It was a bit strange presenting to almost 50 people without being able to see them and get any visual feedback on how the talk was going. Elluminate also has a very busy interface which I found a little distracting. That said DK and Heather were very skilled in their sessions at juggling questions from multiple directions and also were brilliant in back stopping me in my session as I took a slightly more linear approach. The fact the DK was able to get recordings of ALL the sessions on line within an hour shows the benefit of this option though and I also think the multiple ways of asking questions encourages people who might not usually say anything so it is a winner – I just need more practice.

I have already had Skype calls with three potential bidders off the back of my presentation which have gone well and allowed me to clarify some points I made so hopefully I did OK.

I had another major meeting this week which had representatives from all parts JISC discussing ‘benefits realisation’ – well that was the idea anyway. I think we are a long way from a common understanding of what we mean by that term in a JISC context and it was clear to me that any attempt for a one size fits all approach is doomed to failure. It was an interesting meeting though as it demonstrated there is some good, interesting work going on and some opportunities for join-up between some of the teams. Not sure I saw anything that was going to really work with the needs of IE or eResearch yet though but hopefully that will come.

Also had a Skype chat with Doug Belshaw, newly of JISCInfonet but well established in the blogosphere and Twitteratti, for the first time discussing some ideas around mobile technologies – mainly I took the opportunity to pass him on to folk more knowledgeable than me in that area but it also gave me some inspiration for my session at the JISC away day in a few weeks.

Lots of meetings next week (and even more the week after with a hell of alot of travel).

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