Join us - in person or online - to immerse yourself in the latest innovation in learning, teaching and assessment, leadership and culture, and research. We are still finalising our programme and will be adding more sessions in the coming weeks.
Registration opens - exhibition open to explore
Welcome to day one of Digifest 2023
Heidi Fraser-Krauss, chief executive of Jisc, welcomes you to Digifest 2023.
Keynote speaker to be announced.
Morning break - a chance to network and explore the exhibition
Demonstration: Wales Virtual Hospital - an "educator first" immersive teaching platform
Speaker: Owen Crawford, digital education manager, Cardiff University
The Wales Virtual Hospital (WVH) is an immersive teaching platform used across HEIs and the NHS in Wales where educators and clinicians can create immersive experiences without relying on developers for content creation.
This session will be a demonstration of the platform, including a brief discussion on how it addresses some of the main challenges to the development of immersive learning experiences such as accessibility, flexibility, sustainability, integration, and scale.
Following the session, you will be able to try out a sandbox of the platform (for around 2 weeks) before it is released outside of Wales in early 2023.
Solving the teacher shortage through innovative and digital strategies
Speaker: Dan Pearson, principal and CEO, Unified Seevic Palmer's College (USP)
Through effective partnerships and leveraging the network effect, USP College share their journey from immersive rooms through to their new initiative gaining great traction, VR Campus.
Hear how the college has embraced and engaged in collaborative digital strategies with partners and like-minded colleges, to solve the teacher shortage and provide a multitude of opportunities for future proofing teaching and learning in the FE sector and beyond.
How green is your campus? Supporting a student friendly, sustainable hybrid campus
Speaker: Anne Robertson, head of EDINA services, University of Edinburgh
A presentation of simple and fast location data solutions that:
- Support students to find their way around campus, highlighting sustainable travel solutions and helping them find and book study spaces
- Enable estates colleagues to sustainably and safely manage the physical estate
- Assist with effective energy management, in a hybrid working world
Come to this presentation to learn about innovative, affordable, and straightforward solutions that don’t have to be part of a huge and expensive service. These solutions were developed at the University of Edinburgh in response to hybrid working and aligned with the United Nations sustainable development goals.
Lightning talks: Jisc Pathfinders initiative and Tool talks
11:45-11:55 Jisc Pathfinders initiative
Speaker: Caroline Ingram, head of Pathfinders, Jisc
Pathfinders is a new member-focused innovation programme inviting institutions to partner with Jisc to solve the biggest challenges facing education. The ideas we work on should be big enough to have a significant effect on the sector, but small enough to be manageable. Projects aim to rapidly move an idea from a line in your digital strategy to something tangible.
11:55-12:15 Tool talks
Speaker: Dom Fripp, head of discovery, Jisc
Ever wondered how to identify promising new problem spaces and opportunities? Lacking fresh ideas for new products and services? Let the Jisc edtech and codesign team inspire you with a quickfire selection of trusted tools, techniques and tips that are the beating heart of our innovation process.
Demonstration: Using virtual reality in teaching and learning practical skills
Speaker: Josephine Grech, biology lecturer and digital excellence leader, Cardiff and Vale College
A demonstration of how virtual reality is used in training learners for WorldSkills competitions, but also how it is applied in the classroom to increase engagement and learning outcomes.
Fireside chat: Digital assessment transformation
- Marieke Guy, head of digital assessment, University College London
- Mike Wilson, principal project manager (digital success plan for learning and teaching), University of Portsmouth
- Gwen van der Velden, deputy pro-vice-chancellor (education), University of Warwick
Covid provided many institutions with the opportunity to fast forward their digital assessment plans, perhaps bringing in a new digital assessment platform, or experimenting with new diverse assessment approaches. Such changes may seem to be the equivalent of the industrial revolution for digital assessment and teaching. But how do we know whether UK higher education institutions have stumbled into our own ‘brave new world’, or is digital assessment transformation becoming a positive and evident reality?
In this fireside chat the speakers will look at digital assessment transformation in their own institutions, describe their journeys so far, reflect on how effectively they were prepared for such transformational change and what opportunities digital assessment has offered for inclusion and accessibility.
Fireside chat: Building the future intelligent campus
Speaker: James Clay, head of higher education and student experience, Jisc
Universities and colleges spend billions on their campuses, yet they are frequently underutilised and are often a frustrating experience for students. In this session, James will describe the campus of the future. How does a traditional campus become a smart campus? What are the steps to make a smart campus, an intelligent campus?
The intelligent campus builds on the smart campus concept and aims to find effective ways to use data gathered from the physical estate and combine it with learning and student data from student records, library systems, the virtual learning environment (VLE) and other digital systems. We'll look at what data can be gathered, how it can be measured and explore the potential for enhancing:
- Student experience
- Achieving net zero
- Improving efficiency
- Space utilisation
James will also ask you to consider the ethical issues when implementing an intelligent campus as well as the legal requirements.
Building digital skills from the ground up
- Sarah Jones, head of academic services, library and learning resources, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
- Alison Harding, executive head of library and learning resources, University of Wales Trinity Saint David
This session will look at how the University of Wales Trinity Saint David established their digital skills provision (DigiCentre) for the whole of their university community, and beyond. Learning from the approach taken to the development of the institution's digital strategy, this was very much a collaborative and people-focused project, to ensure an ongoing and positive approach to the CPD of their community. Key considerations were around sustainability, embedding within existing academic and staff development functions, and how they measure impact and success.
Training workshop: Assistive technology update with Jisc and TechAbility
- Laura Hutton, subject specialist: strategy (accessibility), Jisc
- Kellie Mote, subject specialist: strategy (accessibility), Jisc
- Fil McIntyre, TechAbility manager and assistive technology lead, TechAbility
- Neil Harrod-Beck, assistive technology projects lead, TechAbility
Learn more about the potential of assistive technology in education, including ways to deepen your understanding and connect with the wider assistive technology community.
Lunch break - with time to network and browse the exhibition
Lightning talk: Coding for education with the Noteable service
Speaker: James Stix, service manager - Notable, the University of Edinburgh
Are you a decision maker at an educational institution, wondering how to provide tools for coding and working with data? Noteable computational notebooks empower you to create and share live code, equations and visualisations. Find out how EDINA at the University of Edinburgh has worked with learning technologists and academics to create the go-to platform for coding in class.
We will highlight the benefits of using Noteable to heads of IT, learning technologists and academics, and its provision of a uniform coding solution for education. You will find out about the time and cost savings to academics when making use of Noteable in the classroom, and how coding with Noteable provides invaluable tools for students to learn about coding and working with data, all integrated into your courses.
Keynote session to be announced
Panel discussion: Generative AI – embrace or shut down? a debate
Speaker: Michael Webb, director of technology and analytics, Jisc
GPT-3 and Chat GPT has created a flurry of interest and lots of opinions. How will this impact learning and teaching and particularly assessment over the next few years? Is it as simple as embracing or shutting it down? Or as often is the case, does the way forward lay somewhere in between? What are the concerns and opportunities? Join us for a panel debate where we will explore both sides.
Roundtable: First year micro credentials and diagnostics for student success
Speaker: Luke Millard, dean of teaching and learning, Abertay University
Abertay University has developed and implemented a suite of online credit-bearing microcredentials that are mandatory for all first-year students. The focus is a desire to enable students to build the academic and social foundations for a successful university career. Embedded within this is a formative diagnostic tool that all students take to reflect upon their perceived strengths, but also start to address the issues that concern them around attending a new university after a pandemic (which may have impacted their academic and social development).
This session will explore how students have engaged with the microcredentials, what has been learnt by the institution and how the approach has evolved. The conversation will enable participants to provide additional perspectives and share learning around how such an approach might be adopted elsewhere.
Student panel discussion: what are students’ expectations of digital?
As universities and colleges move from the pandemic pivot of remote learning to students being on campus, universities and colleges are redesigning the curriculum to integrate digital as a seamless part of the student experience. How are students’ expectations and experiences of using technology changed after their experiences of the past two years?
In this panel discussion, we will hear from students studying in further and higher education on how they are using technology to support their learning. Students will discuss how they are managing their digital wellbeing and also how they are developing the capabilities and resilience needed for a digital workplace.
Panel disccusion: Launch of the Research Estate report
Speaker: Lewis Dean, head of Wales innovation network, Universities Wales (Prifysgolion Cymru)
The UK’s research infrastructure assets include equipment, facilities, instruments and kit, and the laboratories in which research takes place. This report brings together perspectives focused on the contribution of the UK’s research infrastructure assets to a diverse, impactful, excellent and internationally connected research culture.
This panel discussion offers examples of innovation from across the UK and focuses on the challenges and opportunities for the optimisation of these assets, when considered collectively, and from a range of perspectives by experts from across the research and innovation sector.
Panel discussion: Supporting FE innovation with the digital elevation tool: user’s experiences
- Scott Hayden, teacher and digital innovation specialist, Basingstoke College of Technology
- Andrew Dewhurst, vice principal - chief information officer, Nelson and Colne College
- Jake Barnes, head of digital education, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
- Lee Chambers, deputy head virtual learning, South Gloucestershire and Stroud College
Jisc’s Digital elevation tool allows colleges to assess their current digital maturity levels and support their innovation journey in all aspects of college life: leadership, governance and culture, learner and staff experience, curriculum development and underpinning technologies. This panel discussion, made up of a range of users on different stages of this innovation journey, highlights how the tool can support that unique process of digital transformation and turn imaginative thought into real action. We will hear how new users of the tool are using it to strategise their intentions, how others are using it in unique ways and how others have embedded the tool into existing processes to enable innovation throughout the college.
Afternoon break - a chance to network and explore the exhibition
Lightning talks: Jisc product showcase
Jisc is developing a number of innovative research tools to help the research community in their day-to-day work. This session will showcase short demos of a selection of the research tools that we are building:
- Octopus - a new way to publish, collaborate and review research
- Monitor - allows HEIs to track research outputs, validate compliance with funder mandates, and manage related costs like article processing charges (APCs)
- Sherpa - helping authors and institutions make informed and confident decisions in open access publication and compliance
- Equipment data - a database of equipment across UK universities
Keynote: A core specification for student analytics
Speaker: Edward Peck, vice-chancellor and president, Nottingham Trent University
A call to action for education leaders to take advantage of the data they collect to support their efforts on student engagement and wellbeing.
Keynote: Inspiring growth from world class research
Speaker: Professor Will Drury, interim executive director: digital & technologies, challenge director: driving the electric revolution, UKRI (UK Research and innovation)
Keynote session by Lev Gonick
Speaker: Lev Gonick, enterprise chief information officer, Arizona State University
Join us for our drinks reception in Hall 3.
Day one closes
Day two opens - exhibition open to explore
Welcome to day two of Digifest 2023
Keynote: If I can do it, so can you
Speaker: Sue Black OBE, professor of computer science, Durham University
“If I can do it, so can you” is the inspiring and motivating story of one woman’s determination to succeed. 25 years ago Professor Sue Black was a single parent with three small children living on a council estate in Brixton. She is now one of the top 50 women in tech in Europe, received an OBE and is professor of Computer Science and technology evangelist at Durham University.
Sue talks about her passion for getting everyone excited about the opportunities that technology offers, how she brought her family out of poverty and built a successful career through education, and a determination to succeed.
Morning break - a chance to network and explore the exhibition
Fireside chat: Everyone's an innovator - facilitating the growth of digital confidence to realise new approaches to learning and teaching
- Rachel Bancroft, head of the learning and teaching support unit (School of Arts & Humanities), Nottingham Trent University
- Rosemary Pearce, learning development manager, Nottingham Trent University
There is growing discussion about the snap back to on-campus teaching, and the accompanying abandonment of the online learning developed during the pandemic. Without the pressure of emergency remote teaching as a catalyst, how do we foster a continued willingness to try something new?
We see continued signs of new growth and developing practice which was born during emergency remote teaching. In some cases, we're also seeing a mindset change as colleagues incorporate digital practice into their established learning and teaching identities.
This session will explore how we are finding ways to nurture a sense of curiosity in digital learning. Rachel and Rosemary will also give examples of how they facilitate the growth of digital confidence to realise new and innovative approaches to learning and teaching.
Panel discussion: Both sides of the coin: the Jisc graduate scheme
- Asha Taak, early careers partner, Jisc
- Luke Somerville Ford, IT graduate, Jisc
- Khateeba Ahmed, IT graduate, Jisc
- Kike Fatogun, IT graduate, Jisc
The Jisc IT Graduate scheme entails three nine-month rotations, working across a range of departments and directorates over two years. The graduates participating in the scheme have been involved in the research and development of new services and working with several different parts of Jisc delivering to the sector, including data and analytics, infrastructure and human resources.
This session is an opportunity for you to hear about opportunities for your students in coming to work for Jisc. You'll also hear from graduates about transitioning into Jisc as a workplace.
What does that button do? Shifting digital culture and growing innovation, engagement, and attainment at Nottingham College
- Richard Buckley, blended learning manager, Nottingham College
- Kate Whyles, learning technology coach, Nottingham College
The story of how a small but perfectly formed team of six is at the forefront of developing and promoting a culture of digital curiosity, innovation and increased collaboration to help drive up standards in teaching, learning and assessment in one of the UK's largest FE colleges.
Demonstration: From inspiration to reality: software prototyping for research proposals
Speaker: Pete Morris, software developer, The University of Manchester Library
The University of Manchester wanted to seek funding for a research project to create a harmonised data model for books imported in sixteenth-century England. Before this application could be submitted, it was important to assess the viability of the proposed project. This involved the creation of prototype software in an iterative approach, and as well as proving viability, also influenced how the project itself might proceed in the future.
In this talk, Pete will explore how the team took broad requirements and turned them into a minimum viable product (MVP).
Old dogs/new audiences: extending the value of digitised collections
- Stephen Brooks, product manager, Jisc
- Bonnie Latimer, chair, historical texts learning & teaching editorial board, Plymouth University
How do we ensure that research collections, digitised as much as twenty years ago, not only remain relevant to modern users, but also increase their utility and potential audience? This presentation will suggest one answer to that question, by looking at a project to add support for learning and teaching to Jisc's historical texts content service.
We will discuss how and why this project began, and the way in which it is owned and driven by the academic community. You will hear from members of the service team and editorial board who have helped build the pilot project, about how seeks to tackle thematic learning, pedagogy, and study skills, using an approach that is intended to be extensible and responsive to user needs.
Panel discussion: Making digital transformation achievable - critical foundations for success
- Paul Bartholomew, vice chancellor and president, Ulster University
- Susannah Quinsee, vice-president, (digital and student experience), City, University of London
Digital transformation of the higher education sector has been accelerated over the past two years. Taking a strategic and organisation-wide approach to adopting, implementing and developing digital technologies is critical in underpinning long-term success and sustainability of universities. Several key areas have been identified as being essential in supporting digital transformation including:
- The need to develop a shared digital vision
- Working collaboratively across professional and academic departments
- Developing the digital capabilities of staff and students
- Supporting effective digital leadership
In this panel session, we will hear from senior leaders on how they are driving digital transformation within their university.
From survey to successful intervention and impact
- Mark Langer-Crame, senior data intelligence team lead, Jisc
- Clare Killen, senior consultant, Jisc
- Kathryn Heywood, head of business intelligence, Jisc
- Rod Cullen, senior lecturer in learning and teaching technologies, Manchester Metropolitan University
- Kate Soper, technology enhanced learning advisor, Manchester Metropolitan University
We will focus on talking about how digital experience insights surveys and the combination of quantitative and qualitative data can inform strategic responses to current concerns. In real terms, organisations can identify areas for improvement in the digital experience of their students and staff, and monitor and track interventions over time using real-time data. For example, a common concern from students and staff in recent years has been a perceived lack of interactivity and engagement in online curriculum activities.
A significant theme within the survey is exploring how technology is used in the learning/teaching/research experience or the professional role. You will hear an example from one university who combined use of their survey data with other datasets to build a business case for the purchase, training and implementation of software specifically designed to improve digital interactivity and ultimately, enhance student and staff satisfaction, experience and confidence.
Student mental health analytics
- Professor Peter Francis, deputy vice-chancellor (academic), Birmingham City University
- Dr James Newham, senior vice chancellor’s research fellow, Northumbria University
A blueprinting curriculum design methodology
Speaker: Lydia Arnold, associate pro-vice-chancellor, Harper Adams University
This session shares the approach that Harper Adams University is taking to redesigning their entire suite of undergraduate programmes, as part of periodic refreshing. The method draws on programme-level planning and builds on the Jisc viewpoints methodology; it promotes team-level autonomy and has an emphasis on anticipatory design, conversation for development, and simple graduate attributes. The session will share the journey so far, with the highs and lows included!>
Smart, but not "smart smart": looking at academia from the outside in
Speaker: Joshua Mitchum, CEO & co-founder, Audemic
Everyone has the feeling of hitting a wall when it comes to learning. At some point we fork our knowledge and go into specialisation, and that works to further knowledge. But true innovation often comes from mixing two or more disciplines. Research is currently not accessible through its availability, its format and its language - how can open science and AI boost our ability to connect the dots at a high level? Not only for academics and researchers, but for the intellectually curious layman.
Fireside chat: Raspberry Pi the simple way to develop resilient and innovative students
Speaker: Christopher Manley, lecturer in computing and IT, NPTC Group
The Raspberry Pi is a credit card-sized computer with a deep rooted innovative history in the form of an 8 bit hobbyist famous for writing the computer game "Elite" (Dave Brubeck). His idea was to bring back that love of trial and error, experimenting and getting stuck into a problem. The students Christopher has taught over the years have ranged from those that wish to complete simple projects, to those that have looked to exceed this potential and found how easy innovation can be.
Such examples Christopher has seen include the Level 3 student who combines a motion sensor and camera to create a CCTV system “for fun”. The mature HND student aged 52 years old, declares and shouts out “excellent” when the temperature reading is being displayed as a scrolling text. There are exciting times ahead.
Lunch break - with time to network and browse the exhibition
Keynote panel discussion to be announced
FirstPass: discover more with open-ended questions
- Aftab Hussain, ILT and LRC manager, Bolton College
- Carys Swain, head of section, Bridgend College
- Martin Wheatley, independent learning programme manager, Leeds City College
As part of their formative assessment practices, teachers intuitively ask open-ended questions to assess their students' knowledge and understanding of a subject topic. However, they don't have access to digital tools that can support the mediation of open-ended questions.
FirstPass is an online platform that has been developed by Bolton College which aims to support students and teachers with the formative assessment of open-ended questions. The presentation will showcase the main features of FirstPass; namely, how teachers and other subject specialists train the platform through supervised learning and how students receive real-time feedback as they compose their free form text responses to open-ended questions. Colleagues from Bridgend College and Leeds City College will also share their experiences of using the FirstPass platform.
Roundtable: Hybrid teaching rooms: A reflective analysis
- Matt Turner, head of HEFi Digital, University of Birmingham
- Gabi Witthaus, instructional design consultant, University of Birmingham
This workshop will briefly present research carried out by staff and students from the universities of Birmingham and Nottingham.
The team looked into the experiences of students, academics, and AV/IT staff in planning, leading and taking part in hybrid teaching activity and designing hybrid teaching spaces.
Several key themes emerged including equality, diversity, inclusivity, and sustainability of hybrid teaching.
We will invite you to reflect on your own experiences of hybrid teaching (or other hybrid activity) and to consider key questions for the sector in any future moves towards hybrid teaching.
Building digital competencies for vocational curriculum
- Sharmen Ibrahim, group digital education director, Activate Learning
- Kim Blanchard, group digital education development manager, Activate Learning
This session will show how Activate Learning created a digital competencies framework and how this is linked to vocational curriculum. It also highlights the support mechanisms put in place to support staff and learners in their journey in developing their digital competencies.
Roundtable: Digital leadership and culture forum - who, what, where and why?
- Deborah Baff, subject specialist (leadership and culture), Jisc
- Mark Ayton, subject specialist, Jisc
- Allen Crawford-Thomas, strategic alignment lead, Jisc
Achieving meaningful change can't be done by a handful of digital enthusiasts. Instead, leaders will need to encourage the collective ability of stakeholders to create new ways of working that improve the experience and outcomes for all. One way we can participate in change on this scale is through collaborating via communities of practice.
Join us at the official launch of the new digital leadership and culture forum. This new community brings together the combined expertise of the former digital leaders community and digital culture community to provide a focus on supporting the advancement of digital leadership, culture and sustainability of impact.
The new community will provide a valuable vehicle for:
- Sharing ideas and practice
- Sharing and solving problems together
- Sharing knowledge and experience gained through practical action to improve the way we do things
- Be a source of mutual support
- A place to network and form stakeholder alliances
Afternoon break - a chance to network and explore the exhibition
Keynote: Intelligent automation: boosting business and making our world more human
Speaker: Pascal Bornet, author, keynote speaker and influencer
Officially coined in 2017 by IEEE, Intelligent Automation (IA) ushers in a new revolution: that of office work, automating “white-collar” work. Today, office work accounts for more than 80% of the job roles in our global economy, such as lawyers, financial controllers, or call centre operators. Consistently with the previous automation revolutions, I believe IA will have a significant impact not only on employment but more broadly on our society.
The main questions Pascal will answer during this interactive keynote presentation are:
- What is Intelligent Automation (IA)?
- Why has the use of IA been expanding so rapidly?
- What are the benefits it unleashes for people, companies, customers, and society?
- How can IA increase the resilience of our health and economic systems to safeguard people’s lives and livelihoods even in times of pandemics or crises?
- How have leading organizations been able to harness the full potential of IA at scale and generate massive efficiency gains in the range of 20 to 60%?
- How can IA save 10+ million lives per year, triple our global budget for education, eliminate hunger, or help protect our planet?
Digifest 2023 closes
All timings and hall allocations are indicative and subject to change.
Delegates do not need to pre-book the sessions they would like to attend.