Based on the needs of real end-users, the programme will identify areas where innovative user technologies and practices can increase efficiency.

Users & Innovation: Personalising Technologies

Creating opportunities to transform practice by developing technologies and innovative processes based on the needs of individual users working within institutions across multiple domains

Users and Innovation Blog





The vision of the Users and Innovation: Personalising Technologies programme is to create opportunities to transform practice by developing technologies and innovative processes based on the needs of individual users working within institutions across multiple domains (for example, administration and research, teaching and information systems, and research and teaching). It will further the aims in the JISC strategy by offering models which promote innovation within institutions and support institutional planning for the use of ICT

The programme represents a three-year, £4.75m investment in technology and practice development that aims to bring together stakeholder experiences from across the education spectrum in order to identify common requirements and processes that support education and research activities, especially where they directly affect the quality of users’ interactions with e-systems. 

Practical scenarios and business process models will be developed as part of the programme, from which real user demonstrations of technology in practice can be derived. It will align carefully with other JISC development programmes (such as Virtual Research Environments, e-Learning, and Digital Repositories) and identify areas where innovative user technologies and practices, based on the individual user needs in that domain, can increase efficiency, eliminate redundancy and create opportunities to innovate with ICT. 

The programme will pilot and further develop innovative approaches to JISC development activities and inform / influence the Development Group’s current work on programme design. It will seek to facilitate and support a sustainable community of developers and practitioners reflecting the agile and needs-based approaches that have become synonymous with the Web 2.0 movement – continuously and rapidly adopting and adapting emergent technologies and processes to serve the needs of the education sector. The community will be drawn from a broad spectrum, who can reflect on both legacy and next generation technology and practice.

Outputs from the programme will include developments in technology and developments of practice. The former will be grounded in service oriented approaches and support the e-Framework. Developments in technology will be based on the needs of real end-users, and will provide inspiration to evolve practice and influence cultural change (the latter through adoption and embedding next generation technologies in real institutional contexts). Developments in practice will be encouraged by basing approaches around careful consideration of the needs and requirements of multiple stakeholders; individual, departmental and institutional, working in real contexts.

2 programme strands

Next generation technologies and practices

This strand will seek to make best use of emergent technologies (such as those that are now becoming synonymous with Web 2.0 and social software, for example blogs, wikis, social bookmarking and personalised environments), creating a community that is equipped to rapidly adapt and adopt to provide a more coherent and personalised user experience. How to make best use of emergent technologies to provide a more coherent and personalised user experience

Here the programme will provide a more scholarly approach to these next generation practices, providing an opportunity for institutions to look at wider implementation issues around technical infrastructure, legal and accessibility issues. In addition, the programme will be looking at how these technologies can provide new opportunities to meet the increasingly diverse needs of institutions, reflecting, for example, third stream activities where projects may look at how they can use the technologies to support both local communities and wider professional contexts,  exploiting alumni, where technologies may be used to maintain institutional networks, and lifelong and lifewide learning, where the technologies may be used as tools to meet the needs of the government’s agenda to create a learning culture in society.

Personal e-Administration to support teachers and researchers

The second strand will explore the implications of new and emerging technologies to ease administrative and management overheads of practitioners in learning, teaching and research whilst remaining cognisant of wider institutional technologies and processes and other JISC programmes. Explore implications of new and emerging technologies to ease administrative and management overheads

This area will look at alleviating the administrative overhead of teachers and researchers whilst remaining informed of JISC’s other work in this area, particularly the Assessment of Needs and Development Objectives in e-Administration project being funded by the Organisational Support committee. In the same way as the Next Generation strand the programme will provide synergy across other JISC programmes, and explore solutions to issues and requirements around supporting the administration overhead that may be considered tangential to the core of those other programmes.

It is envisaged that work in this area will include using existing administration systems that support students both academically and pastorally to identify potential risks to retention and progression; the development of tools that can be used to allow staff, whose primary role is research, to link Virtual Research Resources to Virtual Learning Environments; the development of tools to allow agile management of student groups by individual lecturers, such as the ability to reschedule fieldtrips and tutorials (involving the joining up of module information and timetabling etc); and the development of tools that allow staff to integrate their research, teaching and management experiences into Continued Professional Development (CPD) portfolios that can be repurposed for use in a variety of situations, for example professional society accreditation, annual reviews, job applications or project/research submissions. The projects will address both technology and process issues (such as Intellectual Property Rights, Legal and Data Protection).

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