Last Thursday, I attended a one-day workshop along with other members of BDRA and the University of Leicester’s IT Services.
It was great to see some old colleagues and put faces to the names of new ones. We divided ourselves into tables consisting of roughly equal numbers of ITS and BDRA personnel.
The morning session was led by Mary and Nevin from ITS. Within the context of the four-quadrant model that formed the basis of the UoL’s 2005 eLearning Strategy, we categorised existing and emerging technologies, considered the implications of maintaining critical services, and examined the decision-making process that precedes any new additions to the technology stable.
The afternoon session was led by Gilly for BDRA. Ale, Sahm and Palitha gave brief presentations on some of the BDRA projects: MOOSE, WoLF, ADELIE, IMPALA and our brand new addition, OTTER. We then separated into our teams to break down – in terms of innovation to practice – a number of case studies provided by Gilly.
I find a workshop of this nature to be very useful. For example, I learned a great deal about the priorities of ITS in ensuring critical services continue to run. The loss of email functions for even an hour can have considerable productivity, and therefore cost, implications for the university. Equally useful was seeing how decisions that affect IT at UoL are made.
I think it was useful for our ITS colleagues too, based on the questions asked of the BDRA presenters about the various research projects, and the request for the presentations to continue, despite time constraints!
But there is value in a workshop like this that goes beyond simple information absorption. Because of the face-to-face contact, I know I can confidently phone my new contact in ITS and she me; we have a relationship based on the shared experience of the workshop.
And there is collaboration. Our practical exercises during the day allowed us to assess each other in terms of how we would all work together. Based on our table, and the output of the other tables, I feel very confident that UoL will benefit considerably from any collaboration between the practical of ITS and the research of BDRA.
I look forward to our next workshop.