APS Updates

Archive for July 2012

New website – Oxfordshire Drug and Alcohol Action Team

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Charlie has finished work on the new Oxfordshire DAAT website and it is now live.

The Oxfordshire DAAT commissions drug and alcohol treatment and support services for young people, adults, families and carers throughout Oxfordshire.  They were looking for a site that was bright and engaging, but also professional to appeal to a mature audience.

Charlie also built their previous site and their young people’s website from designs by Footmark Media.

Written by jennifermdenton

July 31, 2012 at 10:17 am

Posted in Websites

Education or Training?

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From the Simulating War forum on Yahoogroups, a participant quoted a memorable piece from General Andrew Graham, recent Director of the UK Defence Academy, to indicate the distinction between education and training:

Your 14-year old daughter comes home from school and tells you that she has been taught sex.
You ask her if it was sex education or sex training

Written by benthamfish

July 27, 2012 at 7:44 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Relationship Management: notes on Road to Value group discussion, 12 July 2012

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This is a somewhat belated post giving some notes on a group discussion on ‘Road to Value’ at the JISC ‘Sustaining Relationship Management’ event in Manchester on 12 July 2012. For a brief overview of the day, have a look at: http://www.slideshare.net/mylesdanson/jisc-relationship-management-in-higher-education-way-forward-meeting and Myles Danson’s blog post at: http://myles.jiscinvolve.org/wp/.

We were asked to discuss the ‘Road to Value’ in respect of relationship management, with a view to identifying issues to be addressed and the possibility of some form of maturity model for relationship management in Higher Education. There was a healthy scepticism around the table, principally because each project’s experience was very partial and didn’t represent an institution-wide approach to RM. No-one felt that the sector was ready for a maturity model approach. Although there might be factors that would be important for success, such as process efficiency, data sharing and business intelligence, our group didn’t develop a view that these areas represented stages on a road, but more that they were issues that needed to be addressed, probably concurrently. The context and scope of the work was very important and would have a direct effect on how RM might be developed; and progress would not be measured on an institution-wide basis, but instead within the scope of each community of practice.

After initial discussion we analysed the problem using a ‘logical modelling’ approach: for high quality relationship management, and presuming that high quality ‘customer’ experience depended on this, what pre-requisites should be addressed? Then working both backwards and forwards across the issues, what might be the steps along to ‘expertise’ in relationship management?

I wouldn’t say that we gained agreement for the following diagram, but it represents a major strand of our discussion.

RM Road Map Group Discussion

RM Road Map Group Discussion

Written by benthamfish

July 25, 2012 at 11:27 am

XCRI-CAP Demonstrators – success!

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We’re pleased to announce that we have been successful with two tenders under the JISC “Making the most of course information – xcri-cap feed use demonstrators” call, part of the Course Data Programme.  Both projects will be in conjunction with our partners InGenius Solutions.

Advanced XCRI-CAP search widget – AX-S Widget

This project will build on our existing ASAP (Advanced Search Algorithm Protocol).  Our proposed new project will develop a website widget to link the ASAP search function to any course related website, taking one or more XCRI-CAP feeds as the database of records. The widget can provide any website with ‘best of breed’ subject search results, with each course record’s data clearly marked for its relevance to the search criteria, for integration within a wider search facility or simply for immediate display.

Extending XCRI-CAP with KIS data

This project will join up the XCRI-CAP and KIS data sets to provide meaningful and practical outputs. Specifically, it will:

  • link KIS data to XCRI-CAP data as part of a ‘Course Discoverer’ service to retrieve courses by KIS data and/or course data;
  • link KIS data to XCRI-CAP data and produce extended XCRI-CAP feeds for use by further XCRI-CAP/KIS enabled services.

Congratulations to everyone else who has been successful with these tenders.  Project websites for each project will be coming soon.

Written by jennifermdenton

July 24, 2012 at 2:33 pm

CDP Webinar

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Alan Paull will be presenting at the Course Data Programme Stage 2 webinar on Friday 13th July

Further to comments in the Interim Project Reports, Alan will be responding to some of the issues raised including:

  • Sequence order in the validator
  • Extension of the schema for internal purposes
  • Course coding

Written by jennifermdenton

July 10, 2012 at 10:44 am

Give ’em good data (or they’ll just use the bad stuff)

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I’ve been looking at the Course Data Programme interim reports recently, as part of my role in the XCRI Support Project. One question that has arisen is an old chestnut: what happens if the organisations using our course marketing data from our XCRI-CAP feeds don’t use it properly? If there’s no guarantee on this question, it’s difficult to get stakeholders to sign up.

Everyone wants services to make ‘proper’ use of their XCRI-CAP data. The reality is that people are already using the data, by scraping it off institutional websites. For example, how many institutions know of the Course Detective service, which is basically a hack by UKOLN on behalf of the JISC/HEA UKOER programme (http://www.coursedetective.co.uk)? While this hack-service is a benign (and experimental?) one, others may not be so. Carrying out such a hack is relatively trivial, and it happens all the time – simply using material from institutional websites is very easy. But it’s unlikely that the unscrupulous hacker will update the data, so the hack-service will quickly display out-of-date information, thereby misrepresenting the institution’s provision.

The wider question is the implied request for some form of policing of the usage of the data. This will happen using the same methods that organisations police the usage of other data taken from their websites.

With major “course search service” organisations, some form of service level agreement (SLA) or fair usage agreement might be worth investigating, and it’s possible that JISC (for example) might be open to that suggestion. However, we all want our open and public course marketing data to be used as widely as possible. In this spirit, restrictions on usage should, in my view, be minimal, and with the recommended licencing arrangements from the Course Data Programme there can’t be conditions placed on it.

While an SLA would be something to have for the major aggregators and services that institutions recruit from, for example UCAS, Hotcourses, Careers Service, Graduate Prospects and so on, we’re not going to get an SLA from ‘mashup boy’! Although we might like “someone” to vet and approve usage, this is not going to happen. Personally I don’t think it’s a problem, because the situation is conceptually no different from before we had XCRI-CAP feeds. If there’s a major issue, we try to correct the offending data or use traditional legal forms of redress. I believe it’s incumbent upon us to make it as easy as possible for everyone, including large national organisations and mash-up boy, to get our good quality data, so they aren’t tempted to use the bad old stuff.

Written by benthamfish

July 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm