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  • Survey results benchmark students’ attitude to technology in teaching and learning
    Those of us in developed countries are operating in an increasingly connected environment where digital technology already impacts hugely on almost all aspects of our lives. In the years ahead, emerging tech, such as robotics and machine learning, will likely have an even greater influence, not least in the sort of jobs we do. It is anticipated that, within 20 years, 90% of jobs will require digital skills, so it’s important that universities are in a good position to prepare today’s students for tomorrow’s workplace. Understanding how students use technology and their attitudes towards its use in learning is a good place to start. 83 UK institutions have taken part in our digital experience student insights survey (which last year gathered more than 37,000 responses) and a similar survey we undertook with Australian and New Zealand universities (pdf) has thrown up some interesting comparisons.Between November 2017 and May 2018, 12 universities in Australia and New Zealand (ANZ) ran the survey, collecting 21,095 responses from their students. What did the survey reveal?In many ways, the ANZ results mirrored those of the UK. Because there are strong similarities between our education systems and practices it’s perhaps unsurprising that technology is introduced in similar ways.[#pullquote#]There is a growing awareness of the need for universities to do more to support their students when it comes to data protection and wellbeing [#endpullquote#]In both the UK and ANZ there is a growing awareness of the need for universities to do more to support their students when it comes to data protection and wellbeing. The ANZ report found that eight in ten students agreed that their university supported them to use their own digital devices, but only around half said their university helped them stay safe online, gave them access to online health and wellbeing services, or kept their data secure.For comparison, the UK report found that 95% of students regularly sought information online, almost identical to ANZ at 96%. However, a far higher percentage of ANZ students regularly worked with others online compared to the UK (14% higher). This may be because group online learning is presented as being part of, and not additional to, the learning experience in ANZ.74% of ANZ students agreed that digital skills would be important in their chosen career: however, only 44% agreed that their course prepared them for the digital workplace. Only three in ten students agreed that they were told what digital skills they would need before starting their course, or that that they were given the chance to be involved in decisions about digital services. This shows the importance of staff being explicit about the importance of digital skills within the course but also for their future careers.Further findingsResults showed that distance learners regard online learning as of lower value, despite their greater dependence on it. Taking account of these students’ anxieties is key in supporting them to get the most out of digital learning activities, and to be successful.Another result to emerge from the survey was that ANZ students felt let down by some basic issues. Having to queue for printers, struggling to find charging points and overly complex sign-in arrangements were all flagged as problematic. Signposting all the facilities and support available is a simple way to help show students that the university is listening to their concerns.[#pullquote#]65% of today’s students will end up working in jobs that don’t exist yet [#endpullquote#]“65% of today’s students will end up working in jobs that don’t exist yet, and more than 500,000 highly-skilled workers will be needed to fill digital roles by 2022 – three times the number of UK computer science students who graduated in the past ten years.” - World Economic Forum, Future of Jobs and Skills 2018What our digital experience insights service providesWhile the main purpose of the insights survey is to allow organisations to collect valid, representative and actionable data from their students and staff and use the data to begin conversations with students about their digital experience, there are other important benefits.Chief among them is that this kind of data can be used to gain efficiencies, for example to avoid investment in costly technology that students are not using. Conversely, bringing in technology into the learning process can only help transform and improve the student experience and contribute toward their success.You can find out how to participate in our digital experience insights service from digitalinsights.jisc.ac.uk.Download the digital experience insights survey 2018: findings from Australian and New Zealand university students (pdf).
  • AI will revolutionise education, but it could worsen inequalities
    At our annual edtech showcase Digifest, 12-13 March 2019, delegates can experience the latest technologies and learn from edtech experts. Rose Luckin, professor of learner centred design at University College of London, shared some of her hopes and fears for artificial intelligence (AI) at last year's event. When I look at what is possible with AI, my optimistic side - which usually takes over - sees the huge possibilities it brings for people all over the world, both for those who are privileged to have experienced a good education and those who have not.Universities have put much effort into widening participation and AI technology has been discussed as a means of helping those hardest to reach, including adult returners and others who don’t live on campus.  What AI can bring to the classroomThere are many benefits that AI can bring to teaching and learning. It is great at helping us to analyse data and allow us to better understand students. It’s consistent and doesn’t make the mistakes a human being could. If designed in a way that is informed of our knowledge of how people learn, it can adapt well to an individual learner.[#pullquote#]Well-designed AI that uses machine-learning improves the more it supports learners, so it is constantly getting better at individualising support effectively. [#endpullquote#]Well-designed AI that uses machine-learning improves the more it supports learners, so it is constantly getting better at individualising support effectively.But AI has its limitations. Humans are way more sophisticated in their intelligence. For example, being able to accurately know what we don’t know, as well as what we do know is important and it is part of our metacognition.AI can mimic emotional intelligence, but it is not emotionally intelligent - a teacher teaching one-to-one is still the gold standard.AI teaching assistantsSo, AI can’t replace teachers. Although I can see a role for an AI teaching assistant.I can imagine that for budget-constrained decision-makers, an AI tutor that is never off sick, never goes on strike, is always accurate and consistent and can deliver individualised content in the core curricular subjects sounds very attractive. The initial outlay cost is high, but the ongoing costs are low.The combination of being able to collect masses of data as we interact in the world, and smart AI algorithms that can process this data to reveal the nuances of our learning progress across a whole range of skills, abilities and knowledge means that we really can start to shine a light on people's talents, beyond those we traditionally value.This opens the door to people who are currently not able to demonstrate adequately how they are progressing.Supporting students with AII was a school “refuser” at 14. I didn’t go to university until I was 32, so I have a little bit of understanding of what it’s like to be that kind of “non-traditional” person that doesn’t get on a straight and narrow road at an early age.If we move to a system whereby everybody was provided with their own AI assistant that provided AI-driven, continuous, formative assessment and support, then someone who hasn’t received teaching that would allow them to pass an exam could, with the right support, be able to demonstrate their skills and abilities.For example, if that person had overcome a lot of challenges and had the evidence and data to demonstrate that to an employer, it could give them the edge over someone who has had an easier path.By demonstrating a richer set of knowledge, understanding, skills and abilities than we currently can, such data would be valuable for learners from lots of different backgrounds.Could this lead to further division?But I worry about the extremely dystopian possibility - which is a technical possibility – that AI could exacerbate the divisions that already exist in education.I can foresee a situation where we have classrooms and lecture halls with lots of young people interacting with these AI systems, while only the more privileged keep the human interaction.[#pullquote#]if used badly, AI could actually make inequalities worse.[#endpullquote#]There is also a risk that, if used badly, AI could actually make inequalities worse. Just look at the way in which we have allowed many people to own sophisticated technology, whether a television or a mobile smartphone, without necessarily enabling them to use it to better their chances in life.Communicating AI’s benefitsWe must find ways of communicating effectively to everybody what the technology can do and how best it can be used safely to better their chances.[#pullquote#]The education system is short of money and short of human teachers, so I think it is something that we should be particularly vigilant about. [#endpullquote#]The education system is short of money and short of human teachers, so I think it is something that we should be particularly vigilant about.It’s up to educators to get the conversation going with the tech companies and teachers about AI in education. We do it in a small way here at UCL with our EDUCATE project, which is all about getting edtech companies to talk to educators, researchers and students. But we need to make that happen elsewhere.We need AI developers and teachers to work together to co-deign the AI systems for education. EDUCATE has developed a model for this type of inter stakeholder collaboration.We then need to focus our education system on helping people to become knowledgeable and skilled at the things that are not possible for AI to do. A mass AI education programme for anyone, whether they are in university, college, school, work or out of work, will enable people to understand how to protect themselves against competition from AI and to be able to use this technology wisely.The description of AI and machine learning as the fourth industrial revolution is not wrong. It is a revolution and we need to prepare people for it.This blog is based on a question and answer session following Rose Luckin’s presentation at Digifest 2018. Read about her vision for how educators can draw on AI in her book, Machine Learning and Human Intelligence.Booking is now open for this year's Digifest, 12-13 March 2019.
  • Jisc welcomes publication of open research reports
    As research becomes ever more digital, the ways in which it tackles transparency and accountability must change. These changes are cultural, organisational, legal, technological and social; government, research funders and universities have important roles in shaping the environment in which they take place. The health of that environment is vital in attracting the international staff, students, collaboration and investment that will determine whether, or not, the UK meets its target of investing 2.4% in research and innovation by 2027.In a move which could further this aim, the government has just released advice from Professor Adam Tickell on moving toward greater open access (OA) to research publications, and the report of the Open Research Data Taskforce (ORDTF).Advice and guidanceBoth pieces of advice are important in themselves, and inform longer term national exercises that, together, will influence how the UK pursues open science. Tickell’s advice will, no doubt, be considered by UKRI in its review of OA policy, and the ORDTF recommendations will surely influence the roadmap for research and innovation infrastructure, also being drafted by UKRI. While we wait for those exercises to complete, the advice has more immediate implications for the UK research sector, for universities and for Jisc.[#pullquote#]the advice has more immediate implications for the UK research sector, for universities and for Jisc.[#endpullquote#]Taking the Tickell advice first, perhaps the key point is the unambiguous emphasis on the “financial sustainability for research performing organisations, and value for money on public investment in research”. Plan S starts from the same constraints, and now frames the discussion on OA, certainly for journal articles and published conference papers. To realise OA here, within these constraints, the advice highlights Jisc’s roles as negotiator, sector representative and provider of digital services and infrastructure.A clearer way forwardWith the sector, we have developed a clear set of conditions for the kinds of agreement now needed with journal publishers – they need to be transitional, constrain costs, help implement funder policies, be transparent, and improve workflows to reduce administrative burden. [#pullquote#]we have developed a clear set of conditions for the kinds of agreement now needed with journal publishers[#endpullquote#]We pioneered both offsetting and ‘read and publish’ agreements that have been world-leading steps in this direction, and are working hard to improve on those in the next round of negotiations, both with large commercial publishers but also, importantly, with smaller and society publishers. Tickell also recommended that university leaders should be more involved in these negotiations and, working with Universities UK, we have revised sector engagement in the negotiations to make sure this happens. Via the European University Association, we are also liaising closely with consortia in other countries and, in particular, as recommended, have paid close attention to difficult negotiations in Germany, during which journals were unavailable to universities for an extended period. While we hope no UK negotiations would come to that point, the German experience, which is repeated elsewhere, suggests that some loss of access to publisher sites is not fatal to a nation’s research.One of the drags on progress to OA has been that it involves completely changing several workflows and parts of the journal supply chain, and Tickell recommends that “Jisc, with the support of sector leaders, [should] set out a roadmap for developing a suite of tools which, as far as possible, reduce the burden of administration underpinning open access for institutions”. We have been developing OA tools for some time, for example recently announcing Elsevier participation in our Publications Router service. However, this recommendation goes further and, in our regular meetings with sector bodies, we will now draft an OA infrastructure roadmap that will enable universities more easily to meet funder policies and will exploit, as recommended, a set of agreed unique identifiers.Report recommendationsThe ORDTF recommendations are less specific, and instead draw from a wealth of evidence to provide a strategic steer. Some, in effect, overlap with Tickell’s recommendations:Better incentives, such as via revised research assessment practices, to share and use research dataHarmonised funder policies on open science, and the provision of adequate funding to support the transition to more open scienceMore user-friendly services for research data management, reducing the administrative burdenThe need to maintain strong international engagement in pursuing open scienceOther recommendations are more specific to research data infrastructure. The report advocates a set of principles for negotiation with commercial providers of research data infrastructure to maximise interoperability, retain data ownership and reduce the risk of ‘lock-in’, and also that the costs, business and funding models of current data services be reviewed. On that, it is worth noting the recent soft launch of the Jisc open research hub, for universities managing, preserving and sharing research data. [#pullquote#]The report advocates a set of principles for negotiation with commercial providers of research data infrastructure[#endpullquote#]The UKRI research and innovation infrastructure roadmap will likely address these priorities, which together point to the UK taking a much more coordinated and strategic approach both to research data management, and to the procurement of research data infrastructure.Engagement on an international stage, with activities such as Big Data to Knowledge (BD2K) and the National Research Data Infrastructure (NFDI), is important and, if we are able to participate in the European Open Science Cloud, to further our collaborated and coordinated approach, this too is worth pursuing.And, at this time, it is that international engagement in open research that is perhaps the key takeaway from both the Tickell and ORDTF advice. UK research, and our infrastructure, must maintain and strengthen a global outlook if the benefits of, for example, the industrial strategy are to be realised.
  • Members risk falling offline if they do not comply with new domain name system (DNS) protocols
    For people who worry about the plumbing and inner-workings of the internet, this week is really important. Friday 1 February 2019 is DNS Flag Day, and if you’ve never heard of it don’t assume it shouldn’t be in your calendar.Flag Day marks the evolution of DNS to a new implementation known as EDNS (enhanced domain name system), a faster, more efficient and potentially more secure level of compliance.[#pullquote#]If websites and domain names are not hosted by an EDNS compliant service before the beginning of February they could fall offline.[#endpullquote#]If websites and domain names are not hosted by an EDNS compliant service before the beginning of February they could fall offline.So, pause scrolling for a second and run a quick check.What are the changes?Changes are coming about after DNS service and software providers announced that they would no longer accommodate non-EDNS protocol compliant systems following Flag Day.Major open source resolvers will release updates that will stop accommodating non-standard responses from authoritative DNS servers which do not correctly implement EDNS.[#pullquote#]DNS software providers have already released versions fully compliant with EDNS [#endpullquote#]DNS software providers have already released versions fully compliant with EDNS, so for DNS services running current versions of software there should be little to worry about.Not to be overlooked from 1 February, it is also important that firewalls do not drop DNS packets with EDNS extensions. This would prevent DNS resolution and requires configuration changes before the deadline.Some would say that there has been surprisingly little publicity in the run-up to the long-awaited DNS Flag Day. For the less vigilant (or just busy) administrators, we think a reminder to check all essential services is well worth it.What to do nextFortunately, thanks to the Internet Systems Consortium (ISC) it’s very easy to find out more and check whether your domains are all ready to go, or if you need to make some quick changes this week.The DNS Flag Day website offers a simple way to check your domain for compliance and has plenty of advice for domain or DNS service owners.For more detail and background, the ISC has covered all the bases in their post, DNS Flag Day - will it affect you?
  • Data matters, and so do ethics
    There are many positive arguments for the use of data in education, but data collectors have a responsibility to ensure it really does benefit students and their institutions. At last week’s Data Matters conference, organised by QAA, HESA and Jisc, we heard Harrods’ customer insights director, David Boyle, argue that data collectors need a "why?" and a sense-making story - not just a load of data.To me, this means that collectors have a moral duty to ensure that the data we gather is used to benefit the life chances of those we work with, not simply collect it "just in case".[#pullquote#]There is a delicate balance to be struck between data protection, sharing data for analytics purposes and acting on what that data can reveal[#endpullquote#]In the context of education, this means making sure that student data is well protected and only used to the advantage of the student and their education journey. There is a delicate balance to be struck between data protection, sharing data for analytics purposes and acting on what that data can reveal to support students throughout their university journey.Ensuring we get the balance rightFirstly, our approach must be consensual. Indeed, our success relies on it being consensual.Many universities and colleges use learning analytics to collate a vast amount of existing data from sources including virtual learning environments, library systems and other student records.[#pullquote#]We must not abuse that trust and should do our best to make sure that students’ data is protected [#endpullquote#]Universities, colleges and organisations like Jisc are held in a position of trust. We must not abuse that trust and should do our best to make sure that students’ data is protected and not misused.Educational institutions in the UK already have information management practices and procedures in place and have extensive experience of handling sensitive and personal data in accordance with the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. Following the introduction of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) in May 2018, universities will also have to examine the procedures for processing personal data.Data handlingWhen Jisc developed a learning analytics system in collaboration with universities and colleges, we also established a code of practice for learning analytics along with providers and the National Union of Students.This sets out the responsibilities of educational institutions to ensure that learning analytics is carried out responsibly, appropriately and effectively. It is now being used as a checklist for the issues they need to think about when rolling out a project.[#pullquote#]Its underlying philosophy is that learning analytics should be carried out for the benefit of students, with the students’ views in mind.[#endpullquote#]The code ensures that institutions address ethical and legal issues in their collection and retaining of data. Its underlying philosophy is that learning analytics should be carried out for the benefit of students, with the students’ views in mind.Improving the student experienceBut it is not only learning analytics that we must think about. The Data Matters conference also heard about a number of innovations from around the sector, including projects to make more efficient use of location data on campus.Jisc’s intelligent campus project uses the data collected on campus to improve the student experience. From the beginning, we were mindful of the fact that ethics, along with security, are perhaps the biggest concerns of campus users when aspects of the intelligent campus are discussed.We have always emphasised the importance of an ethical, transparent approach to gathering student data. Our code of practice for learning analytics covers in some depth a number of the topics relating to campus data and is a useful reference for those wanting to explore this further.Safety onlineAnd it is not just data directly relating to the student experience that we must think about.Students interact with a wide variety of online systems in addition to those provided and managed by their universities. We need to ensure that they have the digital capabilities and knowledge to make informed judgements about what they share in order to keep themselves and their data safe online.Jisc offers a digital capability service that can support staff and students in developing these skills. Resources are also available to help institutions grapple with the challenges posed by GDPR.[#pullquote#]we have been keen to work with the government to raise awareness of and tackle some of the ethical concerns that emerge [#endpullquote#]The rise in automation, robotics, and the Internet of Things (IoT) as part of the so-called fourth industrial revolution (Industry 4.0) is transforming the way in which people engage with the economy and public services more generally. As a result, we have been keen to work with the government to raise awareness of and tackle some of the ethical concerns that emerge.That’s why we have supported the Technology and Data Ethics Inquiry called by the All-Party Parliamentary Group on Data Analytics, which seeks to make some broad-based recommendations on how trust can be placed at the heart of emerging technology.We are pleased that education will be one of the areas that the committee will scrutinise and will consider the recommendations as we develop our vision for Education 4.0 – the sector’s version of Industry 4.0.All new innovations come with safety considerations and risk. We are taking steps to mitigate these risks because we believe that the latest developments in technology will produce transformational benefits for students and the sector, when used in an ethical way.
  • Minister's call to improve support for disabled students is a welcome move toward an equal university experience
    Today's call (The Guardian, 18 January 2019) by universities minister Chris Skidmore for universities to do more to improve support for disabled students is a welcome boost in moving further toward an education system that offers genuinely equal opportunities.  Perhaps the most important thing to highlight is the minister’s insistence that universities have a “collective responsibility to break down these barriers one by one and make our universities work for everyone”. There are many ways to improve support for disabled students that are holistic, joined up and seamlessly piggyback on existing priorities and initiatives.Reducing barriersAs far back as 2010, Ofsted's special special educational needs and disability review identified that: “Where the best teaching was seen, the need for excessive additional interventions was reduced, enabling the most specialist staff to have more time to provide additional support for the smaller group of children and young people who were the most in need.” In other words, where barriers can be shrunk, smaller ladders are required to get over them. Improved support for disabled students is not necessarily about putting more interventions in place. It might be about reducing barriers to learning in the first place.Jisc has been advocating this approach for years and the University of Kent recently demonstrated its effectiveness when it won the 2018 THE award for outstanding student support.Kent’s Opera project (Opportunity, Productivity, Engagement, Reducing barriers, Achievement), supported by Jisc, rethought how best to help students with a disability.[#pullquote#]Kent adopted a proactive approach that anticipated student requirements [#endpullquote#]Instead of the traditional method of asking students to declare a disability and then providing bespoke assistance, Kent adopted a proactive approach that anticipated student requirements. One staff member explained,“The Opera project has achieved one of the most difficult things of all – making the support we have invisible, which means that students do not have to ask for help because we have anticipated the most common requirements and put them in place for everyone." Using technology effectivelyMany of the interventions are very straightforward. Crucially, many can be made easier by involving technology, although not necessarily bespoke or expensive tech.[#pullquote#]Used effectively, learning platforms and virtual learning environments (VLEs) are an assistive technology.[#endpullquote#]Used effectively, learning platforms and virtual learning environments (VLEs) are an assistive technology.I’m a member of the All Party Parliamentary Group on Assistive Technology that recently published a report on accessible VLEs and some of the key recommendations about staff digital skills would fit effortlessly into existing digital capability programs.  Meanwhile, existing mainstream tools, such as Office 365, have excellent accessibility and productivity features built into them. Browsers have a range of brilliant accessibility plug-ins, many of the e-books and journals that students access are available in formats that offer a wide range of personalisation opportunities, and most students’ mobile phones have helpful accessibility features that can reduce barriers and improve productivity.  Spreading the wordThe problem is one of knowledge. Are the digital skills of the staff who support students sufficient? Who supports students to acquire the digital skills that will help them be independent and flexible beyond their course and into employment?Another challenge lies in lack of investment, and university leaders should consider whether they have allocated sufficient resources to deliver on their obligations. Many support staff, for example, are reporting high levels of stress due to their workload, performance targets and restricted budgets. Appropriate staff training is also vital.[#pullquote#]Digital accessibility is not difficult but it does require effective contextualised training appropriate to different staff roles[#endpullquote#]Digital accessibility is not difficult but it does require effective contextualised training appropriate to different staff roles.  A holistic approachNobody disputes the importance of improving support for disabled students, but a holistic approach has to be taken, which is why this call for action by the universities minister is a great step in the right direction.Reducing digital barriers caused by uninformed procurement, inaccessible documents, a monoculture of text-based resources, lack of staff training and resources and the absence of student digital skills must be considered as part of the bigger picture. Jisc can help with all of that. See our training courses on benchmarking digital accessibility, or our accessibility snapshot service.
  • Member stories: moving towards Education 4.0
    Have you been following all the coverage about the fourth industrial revolution – Industry 4.0, as it’s sometimes called? Big data, artificial intelligence and robotics will fundamentally change the way products are designed and built and how services are provided. They are already changing how we live and communicate.   Although it is difficult to accurately predict the future, it is clear that jobs in 2030 will be very different from the jobs of today. The technological changes in the workplace mean that education will have to change too, to take advantage of the possibilities of technology for education and to provide a workforce capable of exploiting rapidly evolving technologies.[#pullquote#]Technological changes in the workplace mean that education will have to change too[#endpullquote#]Graduates will need good digital skills and strong digital capabilities and they’ll also need well-developed critical thinking, creativity and problem-solving abilities so they can adapt and make sense of their changing world. Moreover, students expect an education experience that reflects the way they live, communicate and learn – that is, driven and enhanced by digital tech.We’re calling the education revolution that’s needed to deliver this change Education 4.0. We’re keen for the UK’s universities and colleges to take the opportunity to lead the way and we want to work with them to co-create technological solutions so they can deliver a fulfilling and effective university experience for every student.So, what might Education 4.0 look like? Already, some universities are working on innovative approaches that suggest some answers.Rethinking staff and student rolesOne important theme in Education 4.0 is the need to rethink how teachers best support their students’ learning, making the most of uniquely human online or face-to-face interactions, and allowing technology to support where it can. The way in which the digital and physical campuses blend and interact will also be key. We’re already seeing a couple of large-scale moves in this direction, aiming to support students to become highly engaged, independent learners.Over the past five years, Nottingham Trent University (NTU) has been reconfiguring its learning spaces to enable teachers to adopt SCALE-UP approaches to learning and teaching. SCALE-UP is an approach to active learning in which groups of nine students work together around a circular table, using shared laptops (in groups of three) to solve problems and address questions, and then share their conclusions with other groups through the technology. Teachers are always present, moving around the room to observe progress, pose questions, offer guidance and intervene when groups or individuals hit difficulties.[#pullquote#]This combination of pedagogy and space seems to be very powerful[#endpullquote#]This combination of pedagogy and space seems to be very powerful and gets results: the approach has been shown in a number of evaluations, including NTU’s own, to lead to improved student learning outcomes, including improved conceptual understanding and better problem-solving, as well as improved student satisfaction and lower failure rates. Download the Nottingham Trent University case studyThe University of Northampton is also transforming learning spaces to create learning environments that support its own brand of active blended learning. Northampton’s approach is to expose students to a rich blend of learning experiences, including face-to-face teaching, online learning and active student engagement with course content. As Professor Ale Armellini explains: “What matters most is what learners do with content to achieve outcomes. Sense-making is key. Content is not king – context is.”Excellent space design and quality teaching are both crucial elements in the mix. At Northampton, traditional-style lecture theatres are consigned to the past. Prof Armellini says this change has been well received and, while it hasn’t been a cheap option, it is proving effective. Using smaller, interactive teaching spaces with flexible layouts, and equipped with technology that enables students and staff to connect to screens wirelessly for collaboration, is delivering high levels of student participation.Inevitably, new methods like these call for fresh thinking and the university is working with teaching staff to make sure they are equipped to work differently. They’re being supported to identify gaps in their knowledge and skills and to brush up where necessary, enabling them to make creative use of digital resources and tools and to hand routine administrative and assessment tasks over to the technology. The result is more (and higher quality) contact time for students.[#pullquote#]Technology really can enhance the learning experience and support what students are calling for in their education.[#endpullquote#]Education 4.0 offers both students and staff the chance to have more meaningful face-to-face contact; technology really can enhance the learning experience and support what students are calling for in their education.Students at Northampton are generally responding very positively, when they understand the reasons for change. Perhaps surprisingly, quite a number are traditionalists who expect to sit in lecture halls, but they engage well with active learning when communication is effective, the learning pathways are clearly defined and their activities have a well-designed and articulated purpose. Download the University of Northampton case studyStudents as creators and communicators of knowledgeThe University of Edinburgh is giving its students opportunities to play a part on the world stage. The university has a mission to lead Scotland’s development of a digitally literate workforce and it has formed a mutually beneficial partnership with Wikimedia as part of its strategy.In place of essays that may be read a couple of times and then forgotten, students studying many different subjects are taking part in ‘editathons’, creating new Wikipedia entries to disseminate knowledge widely.They’re learning digital skills, engaging with the Wikimedia community and discovering how to write for a public audience. The thought of creating outputs that could have real impact and longevity encourages students to think carefully about what they produce and to take pride in it.[#pullquote#]The thought of creating outputs that could have real impact and longevity encourages students to think carefully about what they produce and to take pride in it.[#endpullquote#]For the university and for Wikimedia, this project has potential to further their respective public missions. For example, gender equality is important to both organisations, but Wikipedia’s editors are predominantly male and less than 20% of its published biographies are about women.Both Wikimedia and the university are keen to address this and, at a specially themed ‘women in science’ editathon, a large cohort of predominantly female students created new biographies of notable women. This is a great example of the way in which universities can engage with the role of digital technology in society and develop their civic mission as we move into the era of education 4.0. Download the University of Edinburgh case studyStudent wellbeing is another important area to consider under Education 4.0. At the University of Oxford, Professor Helen Christian has found a cost-effective, easy-to-implement way to reduce stress while helping students achieve more.[#pullquote#]Student wellbeing is another important area to consider under Education 4.0[#endpullquote#]Students in medical sciences and biomedical sciences are taking part in live Q&A sessions using their mobile phones and polling software. Lectures in these subject areas often involve a large number of students but this technique enables lecturers to pose questions and receive answers in real time so the lesson can be adapted if there’s a concept that people haven’t grasped.Students can also ask their own questions anonymously, without embarrassment, and the full list of questions and the answers is saved automatically so that students have a resource to call on when they revise later. Prof Christian points out that real-time polling identifies problem areas of the curriculum before assessments rather than after, and this helps to reduce exam stress and burnout, ultimately boosting student success. Download the University of Oxford case studyFind out moreThese case studies give a snapshot of how some institutions are reshaping aspects of education to make the most of technology, so that human interaction and effort can be applied where it has most impact.You can read more about how all these institutions are rising to these challenges and there’s more about our CEO's thoughts in his blog post on Education 4.0. In addition, Jisc's futurist, Martin Hamilton, has presented to the education select committee's inquiry on Industry 4.0.We’d love to hear views from our members and to have an opportunity to collaborate with them on developing new solutions. Get in touch at innovation@jisc.ac.uk.
  • Edtech 2K19, what’s in store?
    Was there a robot or a drone under your Christmas tree this year, or perhaps a smart lightbulb or a connected toothbrush? As tech companies put microchips into everyday objects and connect them to the internet, it feels like our lives are becoming a little more sci-fi every day. The film Bladerunner was famously set in 2019, but the year ahead doesn’t have to be a tech noir dystopia. Technology has already transformed our lives for the better, and in 2018 we saw some ground-breaking new developments, including graphene sieves that remove salt from seawater, the first 3D printed house, and world-first autonomous farming technology developed by a British university.This new wave of internet-enabled innovation is being called the fourth industrial revolution. If this sounds overblown, just think how much has changed in the ten years since smartphones and pervasive connectivity became the norm.[#pullquote#]It’s now time we thought seriously about how education can make the most of these new technologies[#endpullquote#]It’s now time we thought seriously about how education can make the most of these new technologies, and this week I’m in Westminster giving evidence to the House of Commons’ Education Select Committee about how teaching and learning might be transformed by “Education 4.0”.2019, the year connectivity gets even smarterGartner’s top ten technology trends for 2019 predicts a focus under three main headings:Intelligent - how AI is in virtually every existing technology and is creating entirely new categoriesDigital - blending the digital and physical worlds to create an immersive worldMesh - exploiting connections between expanding sets of people, businesses, devices, content and servicesWith these predictions in mind, what’s on the horizon for the education sector this year, and how can we harness technology in a way that works for staff and students alike?Ethical edtechIn 2018 we became more aware of our impact on the planet and each other. From reducing our use of plastic and investing in reusable cups and ethical fashion, to cultivating a ‘woke’ culture, 2019 will be the year that edtech catches up.Technology companies are set to explore the ethical implications of their platforms, from mental wellbeing to isolation and cyber bullying. Where once the focus was all about the tech, this year it will be more about the people who use it.[#pullquote#]once the focus was all about the tech, this year it will be more about the people who use it.[#endpullquote#]Last autumn Jisc launched its learning analytics service, which uses data that FE and HE organisations already have to help them best support learners who need a helping hand. We’re looking forward to seeing the positive impacts this service has for both students and teachers this year...Immersive and engaging edtechLast year, chatbots really landed in the spotlight. For an example of what’s possible just take a look at Bolton College, where a personalised AI assistant, Ada, is already supporting students and teachers to make learning flexible and accessible. This year, chatbot and digital assistant technology will develop and become commonplace, with ‘Siri-for-students’ services becoming increasingly the norm.[#pullquote#]This year, chatbot and digital assistant technology will develop and become commonplace[#endpullquote#]We’ve also seen virtual and augmented reality being used in ways that would have seemed like science fiction until recently, creating immersive and engaging learning environments that students can access wherever and whenever it suits them. Perhaps projects like Ravensbourne’s HoloPortal point the way towards a near future where we begin to swap the lecture theatre for something a bit like Star Trek’s Holodeck.World-class cyber securityOf course, with all these exciting advancements, comes responsibility. Cyber security has never been more important globally, and while the use of data means we can truly enhance the student experience for the better, we need to ensure that privacy, information, and digital footprints are all protected.[#pullquote#]Cyber security has never been more important globally[#endpullquote#]When it comes to the Janet Network (the national research and education network run by Jisc), we protect our members’ connections and support colleges and universities to defend their own security capabilities.Our DDoS mitigation service has been extremely popular, and we’re seeing increasing interest in digital forensics services too, and will be building our capability in this area. Hold on to your headsetSo, I hope I’ve set out a few compelling reasons for why 2019 is going to be an exciting year for edtech.Whether you’re a staff member or a student, institutional leader or policymaker, it’s going to be a year of technological advancements and improvements. We’ll be doing our utmost to help and support our members to make 2019 the very best that it can be!
  • Weak IT infrastructure puts colleges at risk
    The financial pressure that colleges have experienced over recent years is having knock-on effects across the campus, including for IT teams and IT infrastructure. In some cases, we are finding that a lack of strategically aligned planning and investment in both the technology support teams and the systems that they run is leaving colleges open to considerable risk.[#pullquote#]cuts to funding have led to cuts in staff, and therefore a reduction in expertise, which in turn can lead to risky cyber security practices. [#endpullquote#]In some colleges, cuts to funding have led to cuts in staff, and therefore a reduction in expertise, which in turn can lead to risky cyber security practices.Some colleges have run unsupported versions of server operating systems, application software and unsupported critical hardware. This compounds the cyber security and data protection risks.The importance of reviewing infrastructureA robust IT infrastructure is not just important for security though, since it underpins the technology used in teaching, learning and assessment.[#pullquote#]When the infrastructure fails, the college can’t deliver for its students[#endpullquote#]When the infrastructure fails, the college can’t deliver for its students, staff or other stakeholders, and the reputational fall-out can also be serious.Jisc has been collecting information on the state of IT infrastructure in further education colleges for the last two years, though our infrastructure review service.Since 2016, we have carried out more than 100 infrastructure reviews – a service intended as a supportive review aimed at enabling continuous service improvement rather than an audit.Overall, we have been impressed with the number of dedicated IT staff, and we have found some outstanding practice that we have encouraged our member colleges to share with each other.Current trends in further educationFurther education (FE) colleges are making good use of "software as a service" (SaaS) or "cloud hosted" systems such as Office 365 and G Suite for Education, although some colleges request support to determine which systems best suit their needs.A hybrid model, using a combination of on-premises hardware and remote hosted systems often gives the greatest flexibility.For example, most colleges find a combination of locally provided (and therefore low latency) access to critical services and the high availability and collaboration features provided by a hosted email or intranet service works well for them.In some cases it can be cheaper to run systems internally rather than buying into a service contract.Valuing your staff and equipmentIt’s not enough to address the quality of the physical infrastructure. Colleges should also critically address the true value of the wider IT infrastructure, which includes the use of technology enhanced learning tools and assistive technology. After all, the bottom line is the quality of the experience each college provides for its students.[#pullquote#]the quality of a college’s IT and technology offer is often as much about the staff as it is about equipment[#endpullquote#]We have found that the quality of a college’s IT and technology offer is often as much about the staff as it is about equipment or services.If an organisation does not have a well-qualified and experienced support team, then the risk escalates.Leadership is also critical: where there is no senior leader taking an active responsibility for this area then results can be mixed.Ensuring duty of careColleges also need to consider how they can meet the best practice expectations of Ofsted in terms of how web filtering, monitoring and reporting systems can be configured to ensure both good safeguarding practices and to ensure that organisations can meet their obligations under the Prevent Duty.Risks can also include considerable data protection risks, especially as the GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) has now come into force.
  • Shaping the new IT crowd
    Universities are changing and so are the skills needed in their higher education IT workforce. Heriot-Watt University's Kathy McCabe reports back from a global IT conference on some of the trends we can expect.   I attended the EDUCAUSE annual conference 2018 in the US city of Denver as part of a working party comprising IT leaders from UK and US universities convened by Jisc and EDUCAUSE to look jointly at the future of IT in higher education (HE) and shaping its workforce.Having explored trend reports, horizon scans and workforce surveys in our sector and beyond, we identified several recurring themes that also cropped up at the conference.A technological shiftExternally, the significant technological shift anticipated as part of the fourth industrial revolution to embed artificial intelligence and robotics, coupled with the reduction in "processing jobs", heralds a major shift in the types of roles and skills required for the future. This has an impact on both our workforce and our future students and, indeed, the sorts of education programmes they will seek.[#pullquote#]now the skill in highest demand from IT staff is the ability to communicate well[#endpullquote#]In the past, there has been an emphasis on the technical side of the IT skillset, but now the skill in highest demand from IT staff is the ability to communicate well. There is also a noticeable requirement for skills such as creating, evaluating and analysing, previously the domain of the CIO, to be spread further across the technology functions.[#pullquote#]Internally, organisations are increasingly seeing technology as a tool to guide change[#endpullquote#]Internally, organisations are increasingly seeing technology as a tool to guide change, as well as solving problems and fixing stuff. Interestingly, quality of life has been a key factor in driving staff retention, as evidenced by the EDUCAUSE workforce study.Our session at EDUCAUSE 2018 enabled the panel members to share their views and experiences from a broad range of institutions, both in the UK and US and it was striking how similar those experiences and observations were. The discussion covered a wide range of topics from the strategic contribution of IT, skillsets, diversity, development and retention.Change is here alreadyThe one thing everyone agreed on wholeheartedly is that change in IT isn’t around the corner, it’s here already and we all need to embrace it, to engage with each other and to guide our institutions wisely. [#pullquote#]we all need to embrace it, to engage with each other and to guide our institutions wisely[#endpullquote#]Other discussions at the event centred on the HE business model and how sustainable it is. One question is whether a degree will still be desirable against the increasing debts racked up during the process, with the prediction that six-figure fees will appear around 2024.What will all this mean for the university of the future? The importance of these issues and challenges to HE IT was reflected in the number of sessions at the conference geared towards issues and innovative approaches in learning and teaching, rather than purely technical topics which you would expect at an IT conference.Shaping the future workforce projectYou can keep up to date with the progress of our project on "Technology in higher education: shaping the future workforce" on the EDUCAUSE working group homepage.We’re looking to gather case studies, stories and ideas from the HE IT community in the UK and US.If you’re interested in contributing to our discussions, we would love to hear from you. You can add your stories and ideas to our shaping the future workforce survey.
  • How do you deal with a problem like reproducibility?
    Marcus Munafò, professor of biological psychology at the University of Bristol, describes the efforts underway to make sure that research is robust and reproducible. Science advances by providing insights into the natural world and theories are built on robust observations. There is now growing interest in turning the scientific method on to itself and using this approach to understand the factors that influence the behaviour of scientists, and the robustness of the research they generate.There has been a lot of interest in research reproducibility over the last ten years, particularly in the biomedical sciences, and this debate is now mainstream. Recently, the focus has shifted towards identifying ways in which science can be made more efficient, by improving the quality of the work we produce and the speed with which self-correction occurs. Jisc has also just published a report on the digital tools and services which will help the replicability of research (pdf).So, what can we do to ensure that the practice and methods of scientific research are rigorous and the outputs robust and reproducible?The power of networksA group of researchers recently launched the UK Reproducibility Network, supported by Jisc and a range of other stakeholders, including funders and publishers.Our aim is to bring together colleagues across the higher education and research sector, forming local networks at individual institutions to promote the adoption of initiatives intended to improve research.[#pullquote#]This is very much a peer-led, grassroots initiative that will allow academics to coordinate their efforts and engage with key stakeholders. [#endpullquote#]There are many people in the UK who have been working on this topic, but we sensed a need to bring them together and harmonise activity to make the most of our collective efforts. This is very much a peer-led, grassroots initiative that will allow academics to coordinate their efforts and engage with key stakeholders.The network will operate across three main areas:Meta research: we will conduct research into the factors that influence research reproducibility, and the effectiveness of initiatives intended to improve thisThe network itself: it will help advocate locally and nationally for the adoption of key initiatives such as the use of open research practicesProviding training, disseminating better practice, and engaging with stakeholders: the success of the network depends on having a range of different people from different disciplines involved to meet the needs of all stakeholders, and ensure we can learn from each otherReproducibility in a nutshellIf you’re reading this blog as a researcher, and this issue is one that could impact your career, then you may find our manifesto for reproducible science, published in Nature Human Behaviour last year, interesting.The proposals within the manifesto give all of us in research professions and academic leadership positions a helpful reference list to keep reproducibility at the forefront of our approach:Protect against cognitive biasesImprove methodological training and independent supportCollaborate through the team science consortiaPromote study pre-registratioImprove the quality of reportingProtect against conflicts of interestEncourage transparency and open scienceDiversify peer reviewReward open and reproducible practicesReporting and disseminationPart of the issue with ensuring that research is reproducible is in how it’s published.For example, results that are viewed as “uninteresting” (eg null results) are less likely to be published and the data and analysis code underlying published results is often not available for scrutiny.[#pullquote#]It’s also important to ensure that these approaches actually improve the quality of our work, without creating unnecessary bureaucracy. [#endpullquote#]Various solutions to these problems have been proposed, such as the pre-registration of study protocols and analysis plans, and the publication of data alongside articles. However, these approaches require training as well as platforms to support, for example, open data. It’s also important to ensure that these approaches actually improve the quality of our work, without creating unnecessary bureaucracy.This is just one example that illustrates the need for a peer-led network that works with stakeholders.If new initiatives are introduced that have not been developed in collaboration with end-users, they are much less likely to succeed. Widespread adoption of these incentives will require a cultural change that will be accelerated if there are researchers actively advocating for them.How do we incentivise change? There is some positive work already taking place, from the Royal Society’s campaign and guidance around changing the research culture, to projects such as the research data champion scheme run by Jisc.The champions are working to support colleagues within institutions and spread the word about how we make research open. Jisc has also just launched their open research hub service which will make it easier for researchers and research managers to showcase open data. If data are findable and reusable, then we are one step closer to being able to assess the reproducibility of research and reassess the value of research outputs.People choose careers in science to have impact, improve lives, and to tackle some of the major challenges of our times. As a community, we need to make sure that the methods we ask early career researchers to adopt open doors for both them and their research. Reproducibility is central to making this a reality and to creating a sustainable research economy as we exit Europe.Want to know more?To find out more about the work of the reproducibility network, contact marcus.munafo@bristol.ac.uk or follow the network on Twitter (@ukrepro).
  • Member stories: giving students opportunities to work with primary sources
    How can we best use primary sources in a digital age? I recently wrote a blog about how the universities of Cardiff, Liverpool and Loughborough are inspiring students to take control of their learning by giving them opportunities to work in innovative ways with digital archives. Now, I’d like to share some of the other new stories that follow a similar theme.Here, you can read about the University of Bradford’s recent partnership with the Royal College of Surgeons of England and Museum of London Archaeology (MOLA) on the digitised diseases project. Together, they’re creating 3D models of human bones as a rich open access resource for students and researchers studying medicine, physical anthropology and palaeopathology.Developing discipline-specific technical skillsWe were proud to play our role in laying the foundations for the digitised diseases project in 2011-13, as part of a Jisc-funded mass digitisation programme. Since then, the university has taken that work on to a whole new level. Using 3D laser scanning, computed tomography (CT) and radiography, the university and its partners are building a collection that so far comprises more than 1,600 scanned specimens and more than 1,400 descriptions.This creates a digital dataset of more than seven terabytes and has generated a great deal of interest world-wide. In the week following its launch, the digitised diseases project had more than a million hits from 14,000 different visitors in 119 countries.Much closer to home, Bradford’s students are using the resources – and the facilities in the university’s impressive Integrated Life Sciences Learning Centre – to investigate structures and systems in the human body and to explore anatomical specimens and models.[#pullquote#]Masters’ students are gaining skills in analysis and interpretation ... that will stand them in good stead for professional or research careers.[#endpullquote#]Masters’ students are gaining skills in analysis and interpretation of archaeological human remains that will stand them in good stead for professional or research careers. The university also has plans for new modules teaching digital imaging and visualisation techniques that will be of value to those who want to find jobs in areas as diverse as optics and animation.It’s no wonder that the MSc in human osteology and palaeopathology scored 90% for student satisfaction in the 2015 postgraduate taught experience survey. Download the University of Bradford case studyStudents building archives for studentsLess technologically advanced, but just as relevant for building discipline-specific digital practices, is the University of Hertfordshire’s story demonstrating how digital archives are used in the humanities.Hertfordshire is empowering history undergraduates to take control of their learning by sending them to search digital archives for text and images that relate to specific questions posed by teaching staff. They use the materials that they find to create new archival collections for future cohorts of students to use and develop. This inherited learning programme aims to “leave learning resources richer than we found them”.[#pullquote#]it puts the digital abilities that students already have to work, turning learners into creators[#endpullquote#]By and large, it puts the digital abilities that students already have to work, turning learners into creators rather than simply users of digital archives. The programme is enabling students to develop a richer understanding of how history is made and of how archival collections are created – what gets in, what gets lost or left out on purpose, what gets suppressed and why. They learn, too, how to write and present content for a diverse audience and they leave the programme with tangible outputs for their portfolios.As one recent graduate from the programme says in the case study:“The inherited learning project helped me develop many useful skills to add to my 'historian's toolkit' while looking for a job in an academic/heritage organisation.” Download the University of Hertfordshire case studyUnderstanding how history is madeSome people may already know something about the University of Sussex’s observing the 80s project. During 2013-14, a group of graduates and undergraduates worked with teaching, library and IT staff to create a digital collection based on original materials gathered together by library staff 30-plus years ago. They’re available to all as an open educational resource (OER).Within the history department, the resources are widely used in teaching – notably for the module ‘1984: Thatcher’s Britain’. Project lead Professor Lucy Robinson says that, in this case, digital resources are not being used to do things bigger or faster, but to give undergraduates unprecedented access to original materials so they can get a better sense of how history is really made. Lucy points out that the process is “raw and messy” and as one student says:“The authenticity of the sources has been maintained. As the diary entries have been made available in their original format, a number of them are handwritten and most of them are largely unedited. This leaves them open to interpretation and also offers further insight into the lives of the respondents by alluding to their age, social status or level of education."It’s clear from Sussex’s story that the history department remains keen to innovate and to explore digital archives in new ways. You can also read about their experiments with augmented reality (AR) and social media, and find out what they might do next. Download the University of Sussex case studyFind out moreAll the case studies are available to download and If they’ve inspired you to do more with your own digital collections, take a look at our guide to making your digital collections easier to discover. It offers techniques to help you extend their reach and evaluate their use and impact.You might also be interested to read about building digital capabilities and our building digital capabilities service.
  • What does the FE college of the future look like?
    In the same way that machines changed the lives of our ancestors in the 19th century, so technology is transforming our world in the 21st century. Here, we imagine a day in the life of a further education principal in a few years' time. It’s first thing on a weekday morning. The learner progress dashboard you asked the data analytics system to provide after last night’s governors’ meeting is live on your desktop. Powered by the systems your IT team has put in place, your request took up no valuable teaching time because data collection is automatic.You also notice an auto-generated report (using artificial intelligence), highlighting a significant "closing of the gap" in achievement for male black and minority ethnic (BME) learners, which you tag to include in the college equality and diversity report.Inspiring teachingThrough a classroom door, you see 11 out of 12 learners receiving one-to-one help. Your "students at risk" dashboard had identified they were struggling, enabling the tutor to intervene in time to help these learners succeed.Your staff are using the technology to collaborate with each other, leading to better record management and access to the right information, when and where it’s required. This reduced burden frees up tutors to develop their skills and you’re pleased to see a digital leaders training session taking place down the corridor.[#pullquote#] Your students’ learning is immersive, interactive, flexible, fun and, most importantly, personalised to meet their needs – enabling them to excel. [#endpullquote#]Animated GCSE English learners are using VR headsets to immerse themselves in a novel, which brings characters’ challenges and motivations to life. Your students’ learning is immersive, interactive, flexible, fun and, most importantly, personalised to meet their needs – enabling them to excel.Personalised learningThrough the library windows you see students working in collaborative groups, researching coursework and checking their progress through online quizzes and games.[#pullquote#]it’s stretching and challenging the most capable while providing constructive scaffolding for less able learners. [#endpullquote#]You observe computer-aided differentiation, with a small group of learners, supported by machine-based learning. From the different tasks in hand you see "the system" recognises individual’s strengths and areas for improvement and it’s stretching and challenging the most capable while providing constructive scaffolding for less able learners.The librarian is adding the latest e-books to the online library catalogue and directing his team to add the titles to curriculum VLE courses. He’s pleased because all learners can access digital resources at the same time, whenever and wherever they are. And, because he no longer handles book collections or access management tasks, he has time to give learners personalised support.In the staffroom, tutors have time to put real thought into marking because the technology has done the legwork – the cognitive language assistant pre-marks the assignments and identifies any attempts at plagiarism.Saving timeOne of your admin team mentions that the college chatbot is currently engaging in nearly 1,500 conversations with students and staff. They’re asking it questions such as “what are my results?” and “what time is this class at?”. The chatbot has access to the entire college dataset, so it can respond immediately, leaving the admin team to focus on more important questions.[#pullquote#]everyone is ready to find solutions to issues because nobody has had to spend time wading through board papers [#endpullquote#]As soon as your SMT meeting starts, everyone is ready to find solutions to issues because nobody has had to spend time wading through board papers – all the information is clearly highlighted on dashboards.The second item on the agenda is a report from your pastoral support manager on learners who’ve been identified through your data intelligence system as suffering from wellbeing issues. A local professional athlete who experiences similar problems recently visited to share his story; a couple of anonymised extracts from the learners’ reflective journals pop up on the screen and it’s evident how much his visit has helped them.As you leave your meeting, your phone buzzes to inform you 73 prospective students have been touring the campus virtually in advance of their transition next year. They’re keen to find out more because further education is becoming the place to go to become digitally skilled and ready to succeed in the world of work.Tomorrow's tech in today's collegesThis may sound like pie in the sky, but some of it is already happening in colleges across the UK. Some of you are using technology to streamline data collection and centralise administrative systems. This is enabling you to reduce travel between campuses and to hold virtual meetings with employers and higher education partners.Beyond this, some colleges are blazing a trail, using digital technologies to speed up the arrival of an exciting and achievable future.[#pullquote#]In this vision, all FE colleges are vibrant, human-centred, productive, sustainable centres of learning, set up for the future. [#endpullquote#]In this vision, all FE colleges are vibrant, human-centred, productive, sustainable centres of learning, set up for the future.The available technology is exciting, but it is not the story, it’s a tool. It’s what you do with these tools in your colleges that will make the difference for your learners (whether they’re on campus, working at their employer’s premises or studying elsewhere), tutors, IT managers, librarians and administrators – as well as local employers and other partners.If we all work together now, we can make sure FE becomes the destination of choice for learners who want to develop digital skills to prepare them to shine when they join the world of work.To find out more, come and speak to us at the AoC Conference on Tuesday 20 November, 11:30-12:40.
  • Member stories: using digital archives to inspire students
    What are the benefits of co-creating a curriculum with digital archives? In my role at Jisc I often talk about the different ways in which digital technologies can enhance learning and teaching when they’re designed effectively into a course. To give just two examples – teaching and support staff can use digital technologies to help students become active learners and co-creators of knowledge; in doing so they can support the development of students’ digital skills for both study and employment.But what does that look like on the ground? We’ve put together a new set of HE member stories so that you can delve into some of the detail of recent effective digital learning implementations.Taken together, the case studies cover too much ground for a single blog post so here I want to look at just three, from the universities of Cardiff, Liverpool and Loughborough.  Each of these institutions is exploring working with digitised archival collections and taking its own distinct approach to using them to provide richer learning experiences and to engage students as active, independent learners and researchers.‘Google for dead people’The University of Liverpool has developed a new undergraduate module, taught for the first time in 2017/18, called ‘panopticon and the people’. It uses a range of digital archives containing text, images and other forms of content to give students an opportunity to engage directly with primary resources while exploring the history of crime and punishment.In this module the 60 or so students each use the free Digital Panopticon archive to identify a single offender to study – and then go on to learn techniques that enable them to explore contemporary news reports and other sources across a variety of digital archives, so they can uncover their subject’s previously hidden, cradle to grave life story. The Digital Panopticon offers them plenty to choose from – it contains millions of records from around 50 datasets relating to 90,000 people convicted at the Old Bailey.Perhaps surprisingly, students carry out their archives-based research together in campus-based labs: lecturer Dr Zoe Alker says this makes it easier to support students face to face and it allows them to discuss emerging findings as well as any issues that crop up. The students on Zoe’s module can also explore a 3D model of an 18th century prison design using virtual reality headsets.[#pullquote#]“the process de-centres the classroom dynamic and invites students to get hands on with primary research”[#endpullquote#]One student likened this digital search and analysis process to ‘Google for dead people’. The richer understanding of crime and punishment that the process supports has been widely welcomed by the students on the programme. Zoe has had plenty of positive feedback; she highlights the fact that “the process de-centres the classroom dynamic and invites students to get hands on with primary research”. The new skills in digital research and in communicating their findings will support them in their ongoing studies and also make them more attractive to future employers. Download the Unversity of Liverpool case studyTurning students into scholarsWhile the University of Liverpool created a new module for its experiments with digital archives, Cardiff University is looking at ways to embed digital collections into its existing history curriculum. Here, second year students studying the history of medicine have been working with the UK Medical Heritage Library (a three year initiative, joint funded by the Wellcome Library and Jisc, to digitise over 15m pages of 19th century medical texts) and using the material as part of a programme to, as Professor Keir Waddington puts it, “develop their abilities as active researchers rather than consumers of information”. The history department wants to investigate whether students at this level can engage successfully with the opportunities that digital archives present – can they learn the disciplines of historical study and research as well as the digital techniques that they’ll need? Is this too much for them to tackle? The Cardiff case study suggests not.[#pullquote#]students are learning how to build on any pre-existing digital skills and transfer them into an academic environment[#endpullquote#]Keir reports that students are learning how to build on any pre-existing digital skills and transfer them into an academic environment, and also showing clear evidence of greater engagement. He tells us that group discussions are becoming increasingly animated and more students are staying behind after classes to take the conversation forward and develop their ideas.Cardiff’s experience shows us not only that undergraduate students can learn and apply the necessary techniques – but also that they embrace the opportunity enthusiastically. It’s too soon to say how this fresh burst of enthusiasm will affect outcomes. But, within the university, lessons are already being learned and some activities (notably those connected with geomapping) are being revised and redeveloped so that future cohorts at Cardiff will have an even better learning experience. Download the Cardiff University case studyGaining new skills and confidenceMeanwhile at Loughborough University lecturer in digital history Dr Melodee Beals is taking her own approach to using digital archives with undergraduate students. And here, as students get to grips with primary sources and develop confidence in their own ideas and critical skills, they’re starting to push for more such opportunities. As one student says in the case study:“[I] gained so many new skills through this module and really enjoyed applying history in other ways using these skills”.Melodee’s broad aim is to develop good, independent academic skills among the students and so they are being taught to develop a profound understanding of what resources are, how to identify the ones you need, how to evaluate them and how best to analyse their content. And in putting this new knowledge to work the university is taking a creative approach, for example, by using gaming techniques and role playing to help students develop their understanding of what motivated historical figures to act and behave as they did. Download the Loughborough University case studyI’d urge you to take a look at the three case studies above for some useful insights into embedding digital archives into teaching. While each university takes its own approach, some of the take-home messages are common to all. I’d sum the main ones up as follows:Have a clear idea of what learning and teaching outcomes you want to achieve – digital technologies are tools to help you get there, not an end in themselvesDon’t assume students have appropriate digital skills - treat them all as ‘digital apprentices’ and teach them the specific skills that will help them while they study and then make them more attractive to employersMake sure that teaching staff have access to any support they need in developing their digital skills or incorporating digital learning and research activities into their teachingBe prepared to experiment and accept that sometimes you’ll try things that don’t workEven when it’s difficult the benefits are worth it. One student at Loughborough summed up the experience:“This has been one of the most helpful modules of the whole degree. If the module was undertaken at an earlier period of the course it would have been a great benefit to the rest of my degree. It has more than prepared me for further study.”Find out moreAll of the case studies are available to download. You might also be interested to read about building digital capabilities and our building digital capabilities service
  • Chatbots - now is the time
    With chatbots active in some institutions and minimal investment required to get them up and running, now really is the time to explore this technology. When is my next assignment due? How much leave do I have left this year? When is the next bus into town?One thing these questions have in common is they can all be answered relatively easily by a chatbot. In some institutions, they already are.These examples come from a project my colleague Paul Hopkins and I have been conducting, co-sponsored by Jisc and UCISA, to survey the opportunities that chatbots offer and what further and higher education institutions can do – and are doing – to exploit these.How institutions are using chatbotsFollowing a survey in the summer to assess activity in this field, we had more than 20 positive responses. The majority are actively exploring options, but seven are developing, or have already deployed, chatbots.Other examples we encountered include chatbots that support student recruitment, helping to make open days as effective and user-friendly as possible. The main developments involve supporting all parts of the student journey.Helping students to learnInteresting developments are happening to support students in learning.This could include giving them a revision aid and helping them to formulate their answers during assessment. This is perhaps the most exciting and contentious use, but it shows the potential for this technology to radically change the very core of institutions’ activities.Our chatbots and digital assistants report outlines maturity models for chatbots, the current state-of-the-art in respect of some of the major vendors’ technologies and gives some tips and pointers for getting started in this field. Chatbots are adding valuePerhaps the key point is that institutions should start now. There are live examples in this sector and in other sectors, where chatbots are adding value.It really is possible to get up and running with a small investment. We have seen quite impressive examples developed in a matter of days, but it is possible to develop a simple chatbot in minutes.There are a few platforms available: we have engaged most heavily with Amazon, Google, IBM and Microsoft, which are all very keen to support institutions in their developments. These are all substantially open, interoperable and interchangeable services, which means that there’s no need to decide which to use up-front; you can get going and swap horses later.Chatbots have some real positives:They are scalable when a cloud service is used (which is the most common approach) so can handle seasonal and unexpected peaksThey are consistentThey are available round the clockTheir impersonality can be an advantage - a chatbot will not judge anyone if they are strugglingIf they are integrated well into other systems and have access to a good, well-ordered source of data, they can offer a personalised and context-sensitive service, for example, “Your assignment is due in next Wednesday, but remember you also have deadlines on Thursday and Friday.”Learnings so farOf course, there are aspects to beware of. Some of the key lessons we’ve learnt so far include that, when it comes to developing a full-scale service that can operate effectively with a wide audience, careful preparation and design is needed.It’s also important to have a well-ordered knowledge base – the corpus of knowledge that underpins the chatbot. This might require some preparatory work for some institutions. The role of service owners, outside of IT, is also crucial, and getting them involved in assessing and developing chatbots is a good step to take early on.The project continues into 2019 and I’d be very keen to hear from institutions that are working in this field or considering doing so.Read our chatbots and digital assistants – getting started in FE and HE report (pdf).
  • Implementing Plan S – a welcomed announcement
    The Wellcome Trust announced its new OA policy this week, a next step since joining cOAlition S, the policy gives us our first sight of an implementation approach in line with Plan S. Plan S is currently a set of ten principles, prefaced with important remarks, and supported by 13 European research funders known as cOAlition S keen to implement open access (OA) to research publications, both quickly and cost-effectively. The plan sets out a clear direction, but many details of implementation will need to be resolved by the cOAlition S funders, such as how the start of the implementation periods is handled.The 1 January 2020 is proposed as the official launch date of this new era of open access, but it remains to be seen whether this will apply to research funded, evaluated, or published after that date, and whether funders will align their interpretations in their own policies. The Wellcome Trust is clear that it is research submitted for publication after that date which needs to adhere.Significant weight is given to the idea of "platforms" within Plan S which are likely to include the existing OA repository network, but we await a decision as to whether these will include services like ResearchGate, or the European Commission’s new “Open Research Europe”. So what will plan S mean in practice for other organisations and institutions in the UK?What Plan S means for JiscWe have been considering the implications and actively engaging in discussions with all stakeholders about Plan S. Our role at Jisc is to support our members through providing services and contributing to policies, to make sure implementation is achievable for them.[#pullquote#]Our role at Jisc is to support our members through providing services and contributing to policies, to make sure implementation is achievable for them.[#endpullquote#]Working with our members and sector agencies, we have published our 2019 requirements for transformative open access agreements. These requirements are focused on the ‘hybrid’ model and provide clear unequivocal statements to publishers on what the sector regards as acceptable terms for hybrid journal agreements.Our focus is on negotiating agreements to meet these requirements, and where these are met, the Wellcome Trust has signalled an agreement will be compliant with their policy when it comes into effect in 2020. Additionally, to enable compliance with future UKRI policy, we will make provision for re-negotiation a part of all agreements. But it is not just about hybrid models and helpfully, leading experts at the Utrecht University have put together a summary of the eight routes they see to implement Plan S. These include the different routes which all of us could take, from librarians, to researchers, to funders, to ensure we bring Plan S to life.At Jisc, we are working, and intend to work much more, with smaller learned society publishers who might feel that “read and publish” deals are a heavy burden and difficult to implement for publishers with a small number of journals. We will also increase our work with Gold publishers. It is worth remembering, though, that OA, via repositories, is likely to remain an option; it certainly is in the Wellcome Trust policy.Further policy considerationsThe release of the Wellcome Trust policy is a good first step in helping all stakeholders to see what an implementation of Plan S looks like, and as a sector we wait to see how UKRI’s review of its OA policy, which will likely continue into 2019, will play out in terms of implementation.While these policies and implementation plans are being developed, some voices have raised concerns. A few researchers have already expressed concerns about the implications they see in needing to publish in line with Plan S ideas. [#pullquote#]A few researchers have already expressed concerns about the implications they see in needing to publish in line with Plan S ideas. [#endpullquote#]Some publishers have also expressed reservations and, while these are couched in terms of researchers’ interests, they do also point to changes that might impact on publishers’ revenues. In addition, libraries have been feeling uncertain about how Plan S will affect current agreements and those that are under negotiation, in terms of what will be deemed compliant or ‘transformative’.We will make sure we provide clear information on which agreements are compliant with funders policies, as they are released.Our services and possible changes aheadMany of our services are already in a good place to support implementation. For example, with RoMEO and FACT, we have widely used tools documenting existing OA policies and providing decision support. With KB+, we have a record of the deals, including transformative OA deals, with publishers, and which institutions have participated in. Taking these together, we have the basis for a straightforward tool for members of cOAlition S to provide to their grant-holders, informing them whether and how to align their publishing with OA policies, and their local context. We might expect to see a transformation in the repository landscape, with greater use of solutions that integrate a range of research outputs including papers, software and data. While EuropePMC and the EBI databases will clearly remain vital in the life sciences, other solutions such as Jisc’s research data shared service, nearing a soft launch later this month, should also help universities realise the benefits of open science and OA.[#pullquote#]There is a lot going on in OA and Plan S could be a game-changer.[#endpullquote#]There is a lot going on in OA and Plan S could be a game-changer. We are keen to talk with our members and other stakeholders, and will stay close to research funders while respecting the independence of the UKRI policy review. At the moment we’re having conversations with some key experts, but intend to broaden that conversation out as soon as we can.Jisc has been at the forefront of OA for nearly 20 years, and some of us have seen events that looked like tipping points before. However, we are optimistic that this time we really are on the cusp of something transformative in scholarly communication.For futher updates on our work in this area visit the Jisc scholarly communications blog.
  • Working with colleges to understand what our services mean to staff and students
    Earlier this year, as part of our ongoing engagement process with members, we commissioned independent consultants to determine what Jisc services mean to the FE sector. The information will help us refine and develop what we do for our members now and into the future. At three very different colleges the consultants looked at all Jisc services, the most important being connectivity to the Janet Network, its in-built cyber security protection, and digital resources such as e-books for FE.The reports, which will be shared with members, will help us understand the value of our services and how the costs stack up against alternative providers.The first report from Strode College is complete. Here, some of the people who work and study there give their views:Tim Blake, head of IT at Strode CollegeI trust the Janet Network absolutely. When we connect to the internet and the students and the academics are doing their work, we just know that the network is going to carry on working and we don’t have to worry about it.The loss of connectivity would cause chaos very quickly. The entire range of education is done here and we need the technology and the connectivity to do that. It can’t fail. If it fails, we fail.Having been a customer of Jisc for many years, there is a feeling that working with a not-for-profit organisation that is built on the right ethos of education and research is a good thing; we have absolute faith in Jisc’s ability to do the right thing.In terms of cyber security, we feel protected, but we are not complacent. We know that there are risks, but we also know that, when there are issues, Jisc is on the case quickly, protecting us and other institutions. I don’t think anybody could improve on that.FE is also different to HE and, in some ways, FE is more challenging technology-wise because we have a lot more in the way of duty of care. Web filtering and monitoring and managing firewalls effectively is critical to us surviving. The challenges are huge, with much, much less in the way of resources.The number of students who bring in their own devices has increased exponentially, and the expectation is that, from the moment they arrive in the morning until college closes in the evening, they can access good quality, high-speed and secure connectivity. Beyond college open hours, there is also a significant demand by students, staff, and key partners to access learning resources remotely, and again, the reliance that the college places on the service provider, is key to its success.  He also said: Our budget is always under review and we don’t have the time, resources or skills to be field experts in all of the technology that we use, so having a good quality, reliable service means a huge amount to us.This is becoming significantly more relevant as we are increasing our use of online resources, including remote assessment and online examinations. The system helps us to cope with the demand for our limited resources.Read more of Tim's story (pdf)Angela Leavens, head of learning resources and e-learning at Strode CollegeWithout Jisc I would spend a lot more time negotiating our digital resources, which means I’d probably need more staff and I wouldn’t be able to offer the same breadth of products for learners.The fact that we get e-books for FE for free through Jisc is absolutely fantastic! E-books are so much easier from our point of view than a hard copy. We get the title quickly, everyone can use it at the same time and we can have one ebook that will service the entire student body; you can’t say that of a paper book.It’s a seamless service too because we use Shibboleth, so learners authenticate with their college username and password - we don’t have to give them a whole raft of passwords they need to remember.Our students access the resources they need from home or on the move. That’s really important to us as we are quite rural - we have students commuting on buses for up two hours to and from the campus.Read more from Angela (pdf)Innes Davidson, a maths, physics and geography A-level student at Strode CollegeE-books are easy to access and I can have different tabs open at the same time, so I can look through different things easily and access them from different locations or on my phone.If I didn’t have e-books I’d probably have to buy text books, which is expensive, heavy and awkward.Dominic Cumberland, computing, physics and photography A-level student at Strode CollegeHaving e-books on my phone means that I’m more likely to read them and go through them, especially when I have a spare moment.On the bus I just put some headphones on, listen to some music and get the revision book out. It has saved money, too, because the textbooks are quite expensive - £20 each - but this way I can have them for free.Read more about Dominic's experience (pdf)
  • How we’ve been designing equitable foundations for open knowledge
    It’s open access week, and the pace of change in the world of open access (OA) shows no sign of slowing down. Whilst this is a time of uncertainty, there are exciting developments and possibilities afoot... “Plan S” aims to make open access a reality for Europe by 2020. On 4 September 2018, a group national research funding organisations, with the support of the European Commission and the European Research Council, announced an initiative to make full and immediate access to research publications a reality. Plan S consists of one target and ten principles.  We recently welcomed the radical new move. While reactions have been varied and there is much to discuss regarding implementation, we believe in the power of shared knowledge, and we’re looking forward to supporting our members as we shift towards an OA world.[#pullquote#]we believe in the power of shared knowledge[#endpullquote#]This year’s open access week theme is: “designing equitable foundations for open knowledge”, which aims to explore the question “how can we can design open systems to ensure that they are inclusive, equitable and truly serve the needs of a diverse global community?”Here are some examples of what we’ve been doing in this vein to support our members and researchers around the globe.Making research available to everyone around the worldWe pride ourselves on supporting the research community, and our service that we run with the Open University, “CORE”, does just that. CORE is a fantastic service that collates open access content from worldwide repositories and journals; facilitating free, unrestricted access to research for all.  Efficient, comprehensive, and effective discovery is at the heart of making open access materials inclusive and equitable, serving the needs of users all around the world.CORE can get information out to schools, colleges, universities, and developing countries that don’t have as many resources, and, in fact, absolutely any institution in need of content and information. As of May 2018, CORE has aggregated over 131 million article metadata records, 93 million abstracts, 11 million hosted and validated full texts and over 78 million direct links to research papers hosted on other websites.Guides and clear informationWe know the world of OA can be complicated and a bit daunting, so we provide plenty of free guides on open access, from the open access good practice handbook, to advice on how to manage your open access costs and managing research data in your organisation.As the implementation of Plan S becomes clearer, we will support our members by facilitating discussions, identifying best practice, and acting as a voice for the community to funders, publishers and other policymakers to achieve the most efficient transition.Providing technical foundations that ease workloads and make content discoverableOf course, we provide the Janet Network, the UK’s world-class research and education network. Moreover though, we pride ourselves on our services that help organisations and researchers alike to source the information they need to do their jobs well.Open systems to support open access use need efficient infrastructure services for holding, preserving, curating, and providing access to information.For example, our research shared data service (RDSS) will allow researchers to easily deposit data for publication, discovery, safe storage, archiving and preservation. This means that they are able to provide easy and open access to research data so it can be re-used.Continuity is keyIn terms of the nuts and bolts, we promote the use of common infrastructure with our OA services, as we want to ensure that it doesn’t matter which systems are used, outputs can still be made open access. So the ‘piping’ that we use between our systems (the parts that allow information to flow from one to the other) involves the use of common standards and identifiers, such as ORCID.This infrastructure is largely governed by the community meaning that our members can have a say in its development and feel more confident in its long-term future. Helping to build skills for future generations of researchersThe advantages of open access to research reaches wider than the immediate research community. The government’s industrial strategy recently called for a rethink in order to close the skills gap.Access to open knowledge will have a hugely positive impact on future generations of students and researchers alike, opening access to cutting-edge research for a wider audience than now, and allowing experimentation and innovation in its use in teaching, training, and research. We see the use of open access as underpinning developments and opportunities for training and a strong future workforce for the UK.Next stepsWe’ll continue our work to support you in the move to OA. Our next steps are to continue to support institutions in complying with funders’ open access policies, in particular for the research excellence framework 2021 (REF2021).We will be keeping a very close eye on the policy implementation of the Plan S principles, and the implications for our members and the UK (and global) infrastructure, and will continue to:Offer events and webinarsProvide professional skills development for library and research staffIntegrate our open access services with institutional and third party commercial systemsWork to ensure our services reflect Plan S developmentGet involvedVisit our open access page for guides, services, and our OA newsletter.Join in the discussion on Twitter @Jisc or #jiscoa.
  • Will edtech take-up in further education produce the digitally-savvy workforce the UK needs?
    When I first started to develop a learning technology strategy for my then college employer, edtech was in its infancy.  Today, more than 15 years later, the latest tech has more power than ever to be transformative, both to college business and the student experience.Our new report, breaking through: stories of effective digital practice from UK further education (FE) and skills, showcases the brilliant uses some colleges are finding for tech in teaching, especially emerging tools such as augmented and virtual reality.Sadly, such best practice examples are not yet the norm in the further education (FE) sector. Many colleges have yet to begin the necessary journey to a digital-first strategy, so the positive influence of edtech is not available to all students. Lack of funding has much to do with this.Keeping up with technologyResults from the recent AoC college IT and digital technology survey show, for example, that 36% of devices in colleges are already more than five years old, and, by 2020, 33% of devices will be obsolete.If any of you have five-year-old iPhones or iPads, you’ll know how frustrating it is to use something so slow and clunky.We believe that, if the sector is to survive and thrive, and colleges are to meet the government’s expectations for upskilling today’s and tomorrow’s workforces, investment in technology must be a priority. So, what’s the hold-up?Overcoming obstaclesThe two biggest obstacles, of course, are lack of funding and time – which in turn impact staff skills.[#pullquote#]only 35 colleges felt digital technology was a budget priority[#endpullquote#]The AoC’s survey (with results from 75 colleges) found that only 35 colleges (48%) felt digital technology was a budget priority, and 33 (44%) admitted to having to downgrade planned IT investments for 2018/19.When asked to list the main barriers to the use of edtech, 93% cited practitioners’ lack of confidence and digital skills, 77% cited a lack of practitioner time and 54% blamed a lack of money. Jisc helps its members get the best value from technology and we can also help plug the staff skills gap, too, through our new service, building digital capabilities.What do students think?It’s not all doom and gloom though. Jisc’s digital experience insights survey of 2018, with answers from more than 14,000 FE students, showed that 74% rated their college’s digital provision as above the midpoint in the scale, and 72% rated the quality of digital teaching and learning as above average.[#pullquote#]64% agreed they are more independent in their learning when digital technology is used.[#endpullquote#]However, about a third (32%) of FE students wanted digital technologies to be used more on their course and 64% agreed they are more independent in their learning when digital technology is used.A further 57% of college students agreed that digital approaches help them to fit learning into their life – remote access to the virtual learning environment, digital resources and online assessment, for example. Technology like this allows students to learn independently at a time, pace and place to suit them, which is just as important, if not more so, for adult learners, especially those who work and need to juggle study with earning.Plugging the skills gap through technologyAmong the aims of the AoC-led Love Our Colleges campaign is to increase lifelong learning opportunities for adults. Jisc is already engaging with the government on the role technology can and should play in delivering adult education and the new T-levels, and we also advocate digital apprenticeships where, again, the maximum use of online study and assessment builds a flexible learning model that suits apprentices and their employers.As things stand, we know there is a clear demand for technology in colleges – most responders to the AoC’s questions (73%) say it’s important for data management and for teaching, for independent learning and course content (68%), assessment (66%) and learning management (65%).[#pullquote#]the government has put FE front and centre in the race to plug the UK’s technical skills gap[#endpullquote#]Through its industrial and digital strategies, the introduction of T-levels and Institutes of Technology, the government has put FE front and centre in the race to plug the UK’s technical skills gap and give the economy the shot in the arm it needs to keep pace on the world stage.Colleges are trying to respond positively to government demands, but without sufficient funding, they won’t be able to keep pace with the changes in technology and will not, therefore, be effective in producing the digitally-savvy workforce the UK needs.
  • Campus visitors come in from the cold
    Within the Nordic languages is a concept that could be called a "hierarchy of foreignness". Someone not from your own family or village, but whose background largely overlaps with your own might be classed as utlänning ("foreigner"). A person from the same culture, but with differences of background, such as a visitor from a distant city, would be främling ("stranger"). Someone from a completely alien culture with no shared language or traditions would be described as varelse ("being").Historically, where unexpected visitors fell within this hierarchy determined the strength of welcome they received, from shared shelter to swords drawn.Our "hierarchy of association"Something like this hierarchy maps rather nicely to the way Jisc provides connectivity to people who visit our members’ campuses. Our particular "hierarchy of association" might look something like this:1. Local membersStaff and students on their own campus enjoy the maximum levels of trust and might use organisation-only production wireless local area networks (WLANs) for day-to-day connectivity.2. Federated visitors - "utlänning"Visitors from the public sector associated with colleges, universities or research centres, who are bound by similar policies of acceptable use and device management, can be connected via a federated roaming service such as our eduroam or govroam options.The benefit of federated roaming is that the absolute minimum of personal information is required to grant access, so the overheads of achieving General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) compliance are minimal.3. Associate visitors - "främling"Somewhere between federated visitors and the public are visitors who have some association with the college or university, such as a delegate to an academic conference.You might know something about them in advance and could offer a more comprehensive network experience than you would to a stranger.The litmus test here is whether they are visiting because yours is an education organisation – for example attending a conference you are hosting.If, however, they are on campus to visit a café or to stay in student accommodation during holidays, then presumably any other café or hotel locally would do just as well. You can’t argue that providing enhanced connectivity services to them is linked to your educational mission.If an associate visitor passes this test, then it is likely that you may provide them with extended network services, such as eduroam Visitor Access without risking your status as a private network. Were you to provide such services to a member of the public, you risk your network as a whole being classed as public, and incurring various legal responsibilities as a result.4. General public guest - "varelse"Members of the public may be passing through campus on a right of way, or visiting campus shops or recreational facilities.They can be provided with a connectivity option that is appropriate to their limited level of association with your organisation. You choose the degree of personal data you gather from them when providing such services under the GDPR. For example, you might request contact details so that you can follow up with a satisfaction survey, or you might require sufficient information to charge for the connectivity provided.These categories do not have rigid boundaries - you might choose to treat people who log in to eduroam from your own organisation differently than you do eduroam visitors from elsewhere. Similarly, the prospective student visiting for an open day might be an associate visitor,  but you might not extend that same level of access to accompanying family or friends.Here’s how our portfolio of network access services map on to this new model for visitor and guest provision:[[{"fid":"8201","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_additional_information[und][0][value]":"Janet support for visitors to your campus","field_rights_owner[und][0][value]":"Jisc","field_resource_home[und][0][value]":"","field_other_license[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false},"link_text":null,"type":"media","field_deltas":{"1":{"format":"default","field_additional_information[und][0][value]":"Janet support for visitors to your campus","field_rights_owner[und][0][value]":"Jisc","field_resource_home[und][0][value]":"","field_other_license[und][0][value]":"","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":false}},"attributes":{"height":507,"width":729,"class":"media-element file-default","data-delta":"1"}}]]Unwanted visitorsThere’s a final category in the hierarchy of foreignness - the djur ("beast") - a hostile thing that lacks rationality and self-awareness and can’t be befriended.Perhaps that can stand as a reminder that however we structure our connectivity solutions, there may be wolves at the door who will do harm if we let them in. Understanding our visitors and their relationship with us, and providing the right access for their needs will go a long way towards keeping the wolves at bay.To find out more about Jisc’s connectivity services, contact your account manager.