Mark Alexander Williams

Reflections on policy review assignment

by Mark Williams

A question arose around "short-term, intermediate, and long-term outcomes and impacts regarding target audience behavior, awareness, attitudes and knowledge and whether there is anything in place at Falmouth University to track and observe these indicators that are specific, observable, measurable characteristics of changes that demonstrates progress towards the outcomes or impacts."

I think this sits within the wider picture of digital capability and how the Benchmarking tool can be used by the individual, group and institution. There is currently nothing in place at Falmouth University in strategy or policy that focusses on developing digital practice of staff, though there will be a series of one off events in 2017. We could certainly do with a benchmark of our own to look at indicators and measures.

Perhaps there is also an opportunity to look at the costs of implementing the policy versus the cost savings resulting from policy implementation?

I think implementing a set of benchmarks, should have little cost other than commitment of time. Particularly as regards the JISC/NUS tool as the key ingredient is student/staff partnership. Cost savings could be wide ranging; better and more efficient use of technology, greater wellbeing resulting in higher retention of students aswell as staff, travel costs lowered by implementing blended delivery where appropriate.

Accessibility and Inclusivity. You could have drawn out a little more explicitly how Falmouth University is engaging with this. Have a look at ideas and principles of Universal Design

On first glance, for a site advocating learning design, the UDL has a fair way to go with it's own material. What is did see on the front page of interest though is the link to the USA's 2016 National Educational Technology Plan , which looks like a worthwhile read.

I consciously steered away from focussing on Falmouth too much in my essay, as the University has only just started to focus on these areas, so there's not much to report back. I'm going to a couple of meetings on "DSA cut planning" soon, so hopefully will have more to add at this juncture.

Can you see where there may be some issues with this technology for students, such as requiring a social network account to use Periscope, the speed of streaming (especially located in some parts of Cornwall) and if frequently used without connecting to a wireless Internet network, the volume of data used on mobile phone contracts, when looking through the lens of equality, diversity and inclusivity? Is there any opportunity for funding for students for this?

For things like Periscope, you don't need an account to watch, but certainly streaming media is a widely felt issue within Cornwall; Penryn has only just started receiving sporadic 4G coverage and Superfast Cornwall may not even get here. You can create 4G networks on campus, which could encourage more people to engage using their own devices and JISC recently predicted the extension of the campus network to towns and cities. This should be a very real consideration for design of learning activities though.

The great strength of this is your knowledge of JISC in the greater HEI/Learning Technology arena and application of the policy to your own learning and teaching. I particularly enjoyed how referencing this policy in the teaching and learning strategy at Falmouth University would possibly help prepare students for the digital workplace and how offer insightful suggestions and examples for this policy to make a difference to student and staff life.

Don't forget to map your reflections against the UKPSF I think this one needs a future post!

2nd Marker Comments:

_This is a very thorough and pertinent choice of topic as related to the HE arena and also your MA research – as well as your professional role. The use of subheadings works well to keep the flow going and provides structure. It is a very detailed overview of the policy which I really enjoyed reading, though at times it lapses into outlining the policy rather than critically evaluating it. Are there any flaws? Have other institutions adopted it in better ways than your own HEI? Why? That said, you clearly integrate your discussion with a wide variety of sources showing your deep awareness of up to date scholarship in the area, as well as broader issues e.g. TEF in the current HE climate. You allude to the idea that the institution itself needs some clear strategic guidelines in our own creative context do you have any recommendations here? You might also like to consider some of these issues in the context of inclusive learning e.g. Ellis & Kent Disability and New Media and you might also enjoy Malina's report for the HEA