Thursday, 24 September 2009

Server Hosting options

Data centres.

Whilst trying to find externally hosted solutions for a new eportfolio project I'm scoping out, I've been given two "eudcational" options to invesitgate.  The first is from the ULCC whom provides a fully managed service @

And the second is "Eduserv's data centers, who  offer state-of-the-art facilities which are maintained round the clock by highly trained staff, with hosting services on offer ranging from fully managed application hosting through to co-location services.

Eduserv's data centers are designed and equipped to the highest industry standards - automatic fire extinguishing equipment, AC and DC power distribution, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), backup generators and multiple redundant fiber connections."

This has been going since the summer of 2009.

The 3rd party option is not as cheap as buying & managing your own server & data, but could provide medium/long term solutions to projects?

Monday, 21 September 2009


A colleague of mine has just completed research on voting sets centred around collaborative Personal development planning (PDP). Looks an interesting prespective on PDP, including this critique on the HE progress file development>>


This site is centred around collaborative reflection using voting technology. The application discussed here is Collaborative Student PDP (parts including transition, induction, development, employability, study etc). The design is by no means restricted or intended solely for applications to PDP. A much wider set of applications are already implied and under consideration.

Thursday, 17 September 2009


Is the vitual learning environment now obsolete (was it ever used well??), considering how Web 2.0 & e-portofolios are gaining greater acceptance? You decide by watching the debate unfold.

On a related note we were recently treated to a demonstration of Sharepoint LMS by the company licenced to create it ( elearning force).

It's bascially Sharepoint with some added features to improve and enhance the document management system style of workflow already inbuilt into Sahrepoint. The ability to author, and share content was fairly impressive, and the navigation seemed to suit some advocates of MS tools. But is it a Moodle or Blackbored killer? Nope, but a worthy adversory nevertheless. Especially for those organisations completely new to VLEs and are MS /active directory centric. For those types it could proove a neat way of designing, delivering, managaing content to learners .

A note of caution here, using a document management system requires an organisation to evaluate & refine existing (bad/inefficient) practices and procedures well before you let Sharepoint or similar system out of it's cage.

What we also could not fathom is why Microsoft had essentially licenced this Dutch company to design,develop & roll out the LMS version of Sharepoint? Why aren't MS doing it themselves?

They also promise an eportfolio to be added onto the next release. Mind you when we were shown the existing Sharepoint "mysite" option that appeared to add a high degree of personalisation onto the document management system. This mysite could be a pseudo eportfolio tool that could answer your prayers?

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

key drivers

Short & Sweet collection of key PDP drivers.>>

While I'm on the topic of eportfolios I'll share some other resources/links I've stumbled across in the past week or so;

1) Dr Helen Barrett has set up a Google site covering Google apps / web 2.0 tools for personal learning environments. She also has a site covering evaluation strategies. Both well worth bookmarking.

2) A very useful blog covering eportfolio developments & research at the University of Nottingham

3) An Open article entitled general framework for constructing such personal learning environments based on Ambient Learning realized by learning agents and the use of Enterprise Mashup servers

4) Case study of Sport and Outdoor Recreation module that makes use of eportfolio technologies

5) A very interesting article on eportfolio uptake (or not) across HE. Have We Reached an IT Dead End -- Campus Technology

See the rest of my aggregated eportoflio resources/links at

Wednesday, 9 September 2009

Lifelong Learning in the Midlands

Lifelong Learning in the Midlands

I attended a recent meeting to learn more about the activities of our local LLN: . As you are no doubt aware these HEFCE funded networks were set up to help provide pathways and progression into and through Higher Education. This is being achieved by a whole raft or funded initiatives both locally and nationally. Read some case studies form the Shropshire & Staffordshire LLN here : Essentially the focus is on vocational (non traditional) learners to get support to progress into HE. Targeted learners/projects fall into the following categories; adults in employment, adults wishing to return to employment, work based learners, short (bite sized) “courses”, part time courses, etc.

The network does still have some funds available for local collaborations (with a HE partner) to develop, NOT deliver, some “courses”. The emphasis is for the funded projects to be delivered in innovative and flexible ways, i.e. online, blended, short courses, CPD modules, etc. You could even use the funds to develop some modules to test the market for a potential foundation degree?

Two projects that are in the final stages of evaluation are the generic skills for HE module, and an accreditation for prior learning for adults wishing to study at HE level. These two look promising for potential HE students in our region. The other large initiative is the Wider Horizons project instigated by Worcester University: . This web portal even offers potential students their own e-portfolio tool ( ), to help them collate learning evidence, compose CVs, plan personal developments, and even create web pages. See more on that here:

You’ll need to act quickly to obtain funding for potential projects, as the network is entering its final stages of funding and operation. All contact details and bidding forms are available on their website if you require further information and advice:

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Managing Curriculum Change

Institutional approaches to curriculum design explores through the work of 12 projects ways by which technology can make the systems and processes underpinning curriculum design more efficient, flexible and adaptive – systems such as those used in review, validation and audit; learning and assessment; course documentation and marketing information; the allocation and management of teaching spaces and other resources, and administration of learner records and interoperability of this data with other systems.

There is also a very useful web based curriculum Design Studio that is choc full of links to associated models, case studies, and resources. go to URL

dload : Managing Curriculum Change doc


A new organisation called JISC Advance launches this week which will bring together eight established JISC services as part of JISC’s ongoing strategy to deliver world-class support to colleges and universities.

The organisation will be led by new managing director Guy Lambert and will co-ordinate;
* JISC Digital Media,
* JISC infoNet,
* JISC Legal,
* JISCMail,
* JISC Netskills,
* JISC Procureweb,
* JISC TechDis,
* & the JISC Regional Support Centre UK by centralising funding and business development opportunties.

Managing director Guy Lambert said: “All of these services are extremely well-respected within the education sector and receive good feedback from their users. JISC Advance will allow the services to reach new audiences, and will help our users to understand what we can collectively deliver for them.”

Guy, working with the JISC Advance team of service directors, will be talking to sector-wide organisations as well as individual universities and colleges to better understand their priorities and needs.

JISC Advance will launch at the Association for Learning Technology conference (ALT-C) at the University of Manchester on 9 September 2009.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Use of Microsoft SharePoint

Investigation into the uptake and use of Microsoft SharePoint by Higher Education Institutions (HEIs)
There is some evidence that interest in Microsoft SharePoint solutions is growing within the UK education and wider public sector. This new study is being funded by Eduserv under their Research Programme for two reasons:
• to improve HEIs’ understanding about the level and nature of interest in SharePoint and whether it is justified in terms of accepted good practice
• to enhance Eduserv’s understanding about the uptake and usage of SharePoint solutions in the UK HE community and influence their 2-3 year plans for service provision in line with their charitable mission.
The final report from the study will be made freely available to the community under a Creative Commons licence.
The work is being undertaken by Northumbria University and is being led by Professor Julie McLeod. It will include a mix of telephone interviews, face-to-face meetings and an online public consultation. Please see the project website for further details.

Eduserv is a not-for-profit IT service provider with a charitable mission to realise the benefits of ICT for learners and researchers. Eduserv is dedicated to developing effective technology solutions that meet the needs of universities, colleges and public sector organisations.