So, day 1 of EUNIS 2017 in Münster and I packed a lot into a very busy but great day!!
It started with a brisk walk from my hotel to the University of Münster campus, made all the brisker through a slight error of direction on my part. No problem, I just got to see a little more of this beautiful city than I’d bargained for at that time of the morning. That said, it was worth reminding myself to be mindful not to get run over by the hundreds of cyclists whizzing around in “the wrong direction” 🙂
Following an early registration session, we were straight into the programme at 9am with the conference’s opening addresses from Professor Johannes Wessels, the Rector here at University of Münster, EUNIS President Ilkka Siissalo and Dr. Raimund Vogl the IT Director and CIO at University of Münster.
Prof. Wessels set the scene nicely for those of us unfamiliar with Münster. The university, he tells us has 45,000 students and approaching 8,000 staff! That’s a bit bigger than I’m used to at Leeds Beckett, (for reference we suggest we have approximately 30,000 students and 3,200 staff). The University of Münster has a not unsubstantial €610M budget, 15 departments and 238 buildings which make their claim of “The City is our Campus” seem not far off the mark. See the campus map
Ilkka Siissalo is the CIO at Helsinki University as well as current EUNIS President and made reference to the state of a growing EUNIS community. He also identified upcoming EUNIS events including 2 analytics workshops in Lisbon this December and a Rectors conference due to take place in Porto next spring.
Dr. Vogl opened his address with a look at the University of Münster’s IT Governance which has been in place in some form since the 1990s. A diagram of this can be found below:
Key points of the IT Governance structure are that:
- The IT commission acts as a parliamentary institution (a larger body with members nominated by the senate of the university). It also allows them to obtain wider feedback inclusive of the student point of view.
- IT steering decisions are formed within the IT Board which previously acted effectively as a commission CIO but;
- A CIO position was recently created and subsequently filled by Dr. Vogl alongside his position as IT Director.
Keynote 1: NMC’s Higher Education Horizon
Eden Dahlstrom – Executive Director at the New Media Consortium (NMC.org)
Eden offered some very interesting insights into the findings within the ‘NMC Horizon Report’ detailing the developments, trends, challenges and anticipated time to adoption of technologies within higher education over the next 5+ years. The report can be found here with additional related resources here:
I suspect we all recognise that actively making change within organisations can be very difficult, Eden referenced a quote by Dr Peter F. Drucker which seemed only too fitting “Culture eats strategy for breakfast”. Get the attitudes and everyday principles right and the intended changes can become easier.
No paper available
Keynote 2: Digital Humanities
Dr. Torsten Hiltmann – Associate Professor at the Institute for Medieval History, Münster University
I understand that this was a late addition to the EUNIS 17 agenda but you wouldn’t have recognised it, Dr. Hiltmann certainly proved that he knows his area of specialism well. Now, Digital Humanities or Digitale Geisteswissenschaften as I believe the locals call it is new to me but I certainly feel like I came away from this Keynote having learnt something.
Digital Humanities is “the use of computer-based tools and methods to answer existing questions to elaborate new questions in the domain of Humanities”. It is believed to have all started as far back as 1949 with data being transferred onto punch cards before making the transition onto magnetic tapes in 1955. Prior to the digitisation of information, projects had to be digitised in order to be able to be processed. Now, however a large portion of material is already accessible in a digitised form and thus making it much easier, quicker and more efficient to use.
Dr. Hiltmann went on to cover the importance of some of the methods in Digital Humanities with reference to mediaeval coats of arms. Understanding that there were over 1 million different coats of arms in the Middle Ages, it’s important to recognise and understand the differences. Dr. Hiltmann very knowledgeably broke down the anatomy of a coat of arms and identified the importance of a standard to describe them.
No paper available
Parallel Session 1: Leadership & Management – Building a Digital Roadmap for Greater Engagement and Success
Chris Bridge – ITS Director Queensland University of Technology
This was quite literally a standing room only session…
Queensland University of Technology (QUT) is another substantial university by students and staff numbers with over 47,000 students and nearly 13,000 staff and in 2013 it’s IT strategy had expired. Chris informs us that there was an appetite for change having recognised a shift in the sector and QUT took a new strategic approach to digital leadership.
QUT positions itself at the forefront of technology and innovation and identified that it needed to be agile in order to respond effectively to new challenges. It was therefore decided to build a new Digital Roadmap to ensure its competitiveness in the HE market. Their Digital Roadmap focused on three key areas; Students, learning and teaching; Research and innovation; People, culture and sustainability.
Chris referenced that the successes of the Digital Roadmap have been the improved alignment between IT investments and business strategy, funding now better balanced between innovation, strategy and BAU also common and well understood business language has been adopted across the roadmap in place of technical language ensuring that all parties understand it clearly.
A link to Chris’ “Building a Digital Roadmap for Greater Engagement and Success” paper can be found here
Parallel Session 1: Leadership & Management – Digitalization of Higher Education from a Student’s Point of View
Anne Thoring – Centre for Information Processing, University of Münster
Anne and colleagues at the University of Münster have undertaken qualitative interviews with small groups of students to gather information on service requirements. The 3 categories identified as priorities for students related to IT were: study organisation, online literature and software provision.
Interestingly (although potentially not too surprisingly), findings from the interviews identified that students most important requirements from IT solutions are that they offer integration and standardisation with existing university services. Additionally, students identified that IT Services should simply enable them to focus on their studies and ensure that relevant resources are easily accessible. The study also asked students to rate services and systems such as Münster’s e-learning platform, exam administration system and 3rd party provided cloud based services on a positive, neutral or negative scale whilst allowing them to pass additional comments. It became clear that students are keen for IT departments to utilise services such as those available from Microsoft and Google as opposed to bespoke in-house offerings. The overall findings though allowed Anne and colleagues to make an assessment that students are taking a more pragmatic view on digitisation developments than has been suggested by a range of professional parties.
A link to Anne’s “Digitalization of Higher Education from a Student’s Point of View” paper can be found here
Parallel Session 1: Leadership & Management – Essential IT capabilities for a Successful Digital Transformation in Higher Education
Pekka Kahkipuro – Chief Information Officer at Brunel University London
In order to successfully complete a digital transformation in HE, Pekka proposes a 3 layered capability model for structuring the required IT capabilities.
- Basic capabilities – current best practices in traditional IT form the foundation for digital transformation.
- Standard capabilities – needed to maintain competition with other HE peers.
- Advanced capabilities – institutions looking at using digital business as competitive advantage.
Pekka illustrated the typical IT function using Gartner’s “Four Futures of IT Organisations” model as below and recognised that whilst undoubtedly, we work within all four quadrants, we commonly focus more regularly within the bottom left “Engine room” as in Figure 2. In here we are too commonly internally focused around operational activities (BAU) and in order to successfully complete a digital transformation it is important to look outside of this quadrant (Figure 3).
Digital transformation provides different options for different institutions and so, no two implementations will be the same. At the advanced capabilities level, however is where the main differentiation will occur. These may be related to elements of the institution and not simply IT but if you get it right here you can maximise the competitive benefit.
A link to Pekka’s award nominated “Essential IT capabilities for a successful digital transformation in Higher Education” paper can be found here
Parallel Session 2: ICT Infrastructure & Security – Achieving a Trust Relationship Model in eduroam – The Case of an RadSec Pilot Implementation in Portuguese Higher Education Institutions
Pedro Simoes – FCCN, Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT)
Now it would be very fair to say that this was a technical session!! Not one my expertise are specifically aligned with, however I thought it would be useful to learn more. In truth, this may have been a technical step too far for me… read the paper linked below if you don’t believe me, Pedro knows his stuff 🙂
Eduroam originated as a service in 2002 and spread rapidly across 85 countries allowing students, researchers and educational staff free, secure wireless access at any participating institutions. Pedro and colleagues have been piloting RadSec (Secure RADIUS) in Eduroam.pt amongst a subset of Portuguese institutions. They have taken a heterogeneous approach across the piloting institutions as a model for best practice for adoption nationally. Alongside this they’ve also been trialling Radiator, FreeRadius and RadSecProxy for authentication.
To really get to the depths of the study without the limitations of my understanding I would recommend checking out the paper as below.
A link to Pedro’s “Achieving a trust relationship model in Eduroam – the case of an RadSec pilot implementation in Portuguese Higher Education Institutions” paper can be found here
Parallel Session 2: ICT Infrastructure & Security – Device Specific Credentials to Protect from Identity Theft in Eduroam
Bernd Decker – RWTH Aachen University
As I always seem to personally be interested on the scale of an institution, here is RWTH Aachen University by numbers:
- Approximately 45,000 students
- Approximately 8,500 international students
- Approximately 9,000 staff
- Approximately 540 professors
- 9 faculties offering 152 courses
This study was initiated due to the threat / possibility of Eduroam credentials being retrieved by a man in the middle attack. Mobile devices were identified as particularly vulnerable due to them persistently trying to find known WLANs and with the ever-increasing growth of the Eduroam userbase combined with the fact that account passwords are too commonly used for none university accounts, it was deemed a valid objective at RWTH Aachen University.
A web app was developed that allowed students and staff to create unique device based credentials. It was highlighted though that the drawbacks of this, whilst more secure, would require a uniquely generated username and password to be applied at the point of connection to the Eduroam service. This method allows devices to be granted/declined access to Eduroam and through a web interface, devices/location/time logs could be accessed for the last 14 days connections where it was possible to revoke access.
This was certainly a new method of Eduroam connection to me and whilst the security aspect was certainly improved, it left me with concerns (rightly identified by Bernd) that it was not intuitive and that students / staff would find it complicated to configure. It is certainly one for the security vs usability debate and whilst I, as a techie may come down on the secure side of the argument, being pragmatic I suspect it might be a tough sell to students, staff etc.
A link to Bernd’s “Device specific credentials to protect from identity theft in Eduroam” paper can be found here
Parallel Session 3: Parallel Session 3: Sponsor Track – Panopto: Using Video to Enhance Informal, Formal and Blended learning approaches
Denis Staskewitsch – Area Sales Manager DACH, Panopto
Adrien Bourg – Account Executive at Panopto
The focus of this workshop was on the use of video with Panopto when used as a capture tool to enhance the formal, informal and blended learning approaches in HE. The session was low on attendees but this allowed for greater interaction between those of us that were present. At this session, and indeed as it has felt throughout the conference so far, I was one of a few representing institutions from the UK. Scandinavian institutions seem to be here at EUNIS17 in quite some number and this was evidenced by 75% of those at the session representing institutions from Norway and Finland.
Video is becoming a standard which our students are you expecting or even demanding. Within the next 3 years, 80% of all internet traffic will be video content online. YouTube as an online social video sharing platform now has more than 1 billion users and over 300 hours of video content being uploaded to it every minute. To scale Panopto, it hosts more than 2 million videos within their cloud offering and actively streams more than 100 years worth of video every month. They also serve more than 5 million end-users all around the globe. This is clearly a growing market and not one that we within HE should sidestep.
Panopto have conducted a poll which identified over 90% of its users use the service to enhance their overall student experience. They recognise that it enables them to engage with distance learners (43%) and also see it as a tool to help increase student recruitment and retention (33%). Given how students use the service, it was also recognised by nearly 50% that it helps them improve their grades and can be used to train staff and enhance CPD (24%).
A breakdown of how it is being used in universities offers some interesting insights:
When students were surveyed regarding those views on technology to enhance their learning, 89% agreed that technology helps them improve their ability to learn. 75% had used an online platform such as YouTube or Vimeo to learn a new skills. Another interesting finding was that students felt almost in equal measure, that a formal and informal mix of learning approaches was most desirable:
I certainly see the use of video for educational delivery, whether via a lecture capture service alone or complimented by other means, continuing to grow and given some of the findings discussed, HE institutions would be wise to invest and reap the multitude of benefits.
No paper available
Parallel Session 3: Sponsor Track – Inspera: Digital Assessment in Norway – A Case Study from the University of Bergen
Sofie Emmertsen – Executive Education Consultant, Inspera
So, as it turned out I didn’t know I hell of a lot about digital assessments, at least not on the scale that seems to be commonplace across Scandinavian HE institutions. Sofie referenced that there are currently very few UK HE institutions that have taken up the digital assessment offerings from Inspera or any of their competitors. That said, I was advised that fellow EUNIS17 speaker Pekka Kahkipuro has encouraged / supported the adoption as CIO at Brunel University in London.
A case study of the University of Oslo in Norway referenced that 6,000 students sat digital assessments in 2014. This figure rose to 45,000 in 2017. It is certainly a fast-growing market within the HE sector.
What are the benefits??
- Markers and moderators have fast and secure access to all submissions
- Reviewers and externals can be easily included in the assessment process
- Markers can offer better feedback
- Students use a media that they are used to during assessment exams
- Student satisfaction is increased
- Administrative work hours are reduced
- Management have better control and insight into the assessment process
The University of Bergen, faculty of Maths and Science have gone from 48% of assessment digitised over 7 disciplines in 2015 to 55% of the assessments digitised over 35 disciplines in 2016. They also have the aim to have 100% of assessments digitised by the end of 2017. Bergen are seeing very swift movement in the Department of Molecular Biology and Biology whilst the Department of Maths are slower to take up the digital assessments. This in part was referenced as being due to the mathematical workings being commonly made by hand on paper and requiring of inclusion within the assessment. So, there are some limitations/challenges (namely those in red below) but please note the faculty strategy to overcome them below:
Find out more: http://www.inspera.com/
No paper available
Keynote 3: Digital Campus Management and Student Information Systems – A Customer’s Perspective
Dr. Malcolm Woodfield – Global Vice President and Head of the Higher Education and Research Industry at SAP
Björn Kemmoona – Director of Marlin Consulting
Eva Mundanjohl – Head of the Department for Academic and Student Affairs, University of Münster
Unfortunately, I was tied up in conversations with other conference delegates and so did not make it to this session however, a summary of what was covered is outlined here
Keynote 4: Maximizing Productivity and Learning Time – Fundamentals and Requirements in the Usage of AV Technology
Frank Boshoven – Sales and Key Account Manager at the Crestron (Germany) & Crestron EMEA Education Program Manager
Now, I had wondered if Frank was coming to sell us a particular brand of kitchen appliance but it turns out he’s a bit of an AV evangelist so I quickly got over that and focused on his keynote… Sorry, getting the obvious jokes out of the way first 🙂
Frank started out in the AV business back in 1982 as an R/F technician but subsequently moved into sales. Crestron are big players in the AV market and with their headquarters in New Jersey and a range of global offices in over 90 other countries. As a company they were established in 1969 now employing over 4,000 staff and have had the same management team for 40 years. Frank went on to offer us a journey through Crestron’s innovative company history. Since the first graphical programming language and colour touchscreen control panels were introduced in the early ’90s, through with the integration with PDAs, tablets and computers in the early ’00s and more recently the distribution of scaling of 4K / 60 content.
Crestron have taken on the challenge of combining different manufacturers products and platforms into a centralised AV management solution. Crestron Fusion is intended to maximise productivity and reduce overall costs through remote monitoring and management and control of all classroom AV technology. Live data feeds into Fusion allow relevant parties to identify room occupancy and through appropriate power management seek to offer maximum energy-efficiency / environmental gains.
A typical installation in a lecture theatre was suggested to consist of more than 30 power supplies, a multitude of connections and the requirement for time and effort to be spent programming devices. It was referenced that this places unnecessary expense on the business. Standardisation in hardware and configuration is the way forward to obtain maximum efficiency and usability.
Frank summarised the challenges within a professional AV business as below:
No paper available
Civic Reception – Historical Town Hall, Münster
It was a very enjoyable end to a very busy first day at EUNIS17. The event opened with some short speeches and allowed to delegates to mix whilst enjoying a little food and drink. The location could not have been more beautiful in the Historic Town Hall in Münster. This is the location that the “Peace of Westphalia” was signed in 1648 ending the Thirty Years’ War and marking the beginning of a long period of peace in Europe. We were even fortunate to be offered a formal tour of the building to gain some real insights into the history that it held.