Author Archives: Laura Skilton

Making Progress – an update on the project

 If you’re reading this blog then you probably familiar with our project, as a reminder the vision is to provide teaching practitioners in the FE Skills sector with simple, flexible and easy to navigate routes to Jisc digital content that are directly relevant to their curriculum, qualifications and working practices.

Progress builling a bridge

Making progress! Photo attribution: Dave Bushe at http://flickr.com/photos/64465535@N00/2516387700, shared under (CC BY-SA 2.0).

A lot has been happening so I thought I’d put together a progress update on some of the key areas.

Firstly the content audit – the overarching Purpose of this work is to undertake an audit of existing digital content from across Jisc that supports teaching practitioners in the FE Skills community. The audit is progressing well, a blog post with more details (including the aims and purpose of the audit) is available here: feskillswindow.jiscinvolve.org/wp/jisc-fe-skills-window-digital-content-audit.

Gathering user requirements – we have three main pieces of work going on in this area, market research, a survey and a practitioners group. The market research is being led by the marketing team here at Mimas, it will include a large piece of work to interview practitioners which will be run by an external research company. This larger piece of work will focus on understanding the needs and requirements of FE Skills educators in relation to the use of digital resources.

Secondly we’re looking for people to be part of our practitioners group. The point of this group is primarily to provide feedback throughout this process and to act as advocates for the project. For example we have just Amazon Gift Certificatereleased a survey (you could win a £25 Amazon voucher) and we’ll be asking the practitioners group to help us get respondents, we’ll also use them for activities like beta testing. Without this group of people we’d find it very hard to undertake iterate development, particularly in terms of the technical solution. More information on how to get involved is available here: feskillswindow.jiscinvolve.org/wp/would-you-like-to-help-us-test-stuff. Mark (our Community Engagement Officer) has also been out and about running workshops, collecting requirements and raising awareness of Jisc services suitable for the FE Skills sector.

Meanwhile our technical developers have been working on the infrastructure that will be needed to aggregate/cross search the Jisc services and their content. They have started work to implement a system to extract the metadata from Jorum and Hairdressing Training (HT) (utilising the Jorum API and the newly created HT API). We have also been working on a way to search across multiple qualification and curriculum schemas, so work has also been going on to map these across the UK. This is where it starts to get very technical – if you do want to know more please get in touch: https://feskillswindow.jiscinvolve.org/wp/contact-us.

service-logos-long-indiv bannerThe project aims to map existing Jisc digital content, for learning and teaching, to the curriculum. To enable this to happen a great deal of work is going on technically and around the mapping of qualifications and curriculum. The big question is how are we going to physically get the content mapped? Initially we thought we would find an organisation to do this, one with links to practitioners, but a number of our contacts have suggested using a crowdsourcing methodology. Crowdsourcing is “the process of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people”, I took this quote from Wikipedia, probably the best well know example of a successful crowdsourcing project. It is extremely important with crowdsourcing to understand your community and their motivations, how do we motivate busy teachers to help us (for free) to map content? The museum sector have successfully used gamification, for example http://museumgam.es/dora, but will this work for the FE sector? The project team is currently talking to people in the education sector with experience of crowdsourcing to try and ascertain if this is a feasible option for our project.  If you have experience of running a crowdsourcing project in the education sector please get in touch: https://feskillswindow.jiscinvolve.org/wp/contact-us.

Twitter logoPlease do get in touch if you’d like be involved in our project, it’s all about developing tools based on your requirements so we need your input. You can also follow Mark (https://twitter.com/markpower) or I (https://twitter.com/Lauraar) on Twitter to get updates.

FE Skills Window – focusing in

Getting the scope of this project right is essential if we are to achieve our aims and make an impact. In the first few months of the project we’ve been reviewing Jisc content services, running workshops with the community and engaging with people and organisations that are key to the success of the project. We now have a clear understanding of what we’ll achieve – always with the caveat that whatever we develop technically will be led by the users. Continue reading