As with Marmite, there's two opposing responses to the start of each new year. Some look forward to it, excited about new opportunities. Others may feel apprehensive about the challenges of the future.
The early part of the year is absolutely the right time for us to hold our annual digital festival - Digifest, which this year will be celebrating the power of digital.
As in previous years, this year’s programme has been designed to address the most pressing, controversial and exciting topics in edtech so that we can help managers in further education (FE) and higher education (HE) to tackle 2016 – with all its opportunities and challenges – head on.
Whether you want practical advice and help, a look at the best of what’s happening now, or a heads-up on what the future holds, Digifest is the place to be.
If you haven’t registered to attend Digifest yet, it’s time you did.
My session picks
Here’s my lowdown on five sessions that you shouldn’t miss:
Protecting your organisation against cyber security threats
During 2015, cyber security was rarely far from the thoughts of technology professionals. Whether it’s the nightmare of data compromise, the challenge of keeping defences up to date, or the ever-present threat of distributed denial of service (DDoS) attacks, there is plenty to think about.
Thankfully, 2015 was also a great year for knowledge sharing and collaboration between organisations that depend on safe and secure digital connections.
In this surgery Mark Siddle from our CSIRT - computer security incident response - team, fresh from our own DDoS attacks late last year, will be available to help you trouble shoot any challenges you’re currently facing and to help you manage the risks.
The case for learning analytics
The emergence of next-generation learning analytics is game-changing and the UK is taking a leading role in implementing the technology. Learning analytics offers great promise of focused efficiencies, deeper operational intelligence and improved student experience yet there is still a measure of controversy and uncertainty around the field.
In this timely talk, our learning analytics consultant Niall Sclater and director of technology and analytics Michael Webb will make the definitive case for learning analytics by exploring what it is, how it works and how it could support your institution to work smarter.
Unpicking the open access lock: supporting institutions with implementation
It’s now pretty much given that open access (OA) to research publications brings with it significant benefits for institutions, researchers and research funders. Yet, after several years of concerted effort to implement OA, we are all still learning about what works and what doesn’t.
In this workshop, we will present examples of good practice to support OA implementation from our nine OA good practice pathfinder projects.
Facing the challenges of a college merger – gems of wisdom from Northern Regional College
In the face of forthcoming area reviews, FE colleges face a number of key challenges to make efficiencies, collaborate and share services.
In this workshop, Steven Walls from Northern Regional College will give a pragmatic view of what to consider when merging IT functions across partner campuses. He’ll describe the challenges his own college faced, what he might (with the benefit of hindsight) do differently, and how our services can be deployed to reduce the pain of this complex process.
The Janet network: your digital utility
Our Janet network is one of the world’s most advanced networks, supporting research and education across the UK. Through participation in GÉANT it provides global reach, supporting key activities such as transnational education (TNE) and access to global research facilities.
Our director of strategic technologies Jeremy Sharp will look at user requirements and how these shape the continued evolution of the Janet network to ensure it continues to provide the flexible, reliable and secure network needs of our members.
Stay up to date
And there's going to be more – lots more. Take a look at the full Digifest programme for information on session times. Make sure you keep an eye on it over the coming weeks so you have the latest information.
Look out for more blog posts on Digifest developments. You can also take part via social media by following us on Twitter @Jisc and using #digifest16; or tell us you're coming by joining our Digifest 2016 Facebook event.