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Summary of Academic Departments' concerns

Interim Summary of departmental top concerns. (Mary Stott, Head of Service Development.)

Starting in June 2011, I have had a series of meetings with departmental heads and/or administrators to discuss their top concerns, related to IT service provision. The meetings are on-going and I will update this page in the light of the issues raised and developing IT Services responses.

I have itemised the areas that were raised by more than one department and have noted any activity related to the issues.

Issue Status

Support for student administration– several departments expressed concern for the difficulties they face in a number of student administrative areas. These include:

a. Processing and presenting assessment and examination marks

b. Attendance monitoring

c. Timetabling

d. Administration and tracking of staff/student interactions.

e. PG applications can be slow in the centre and the perception is that the department has lost good applicants as a result. Some niggles with the system (BPM).

a. Review of Module Mark collation and publication to identify areas for improvement to determine difficulties with current provision. Pursuing EMU interface changes with Tribal and communications and training issues taken up by ARO.

b. Proposed departmental PG admissions process review, involving central PG Admissions. Stats about turnaround times at different stages of the process available from PG Admissions.

c. 'my department' development initiated July 2012. Launch meeting 6th August 2012, 10am, PS128. Now known as 'Tabula'.

Delivery of teaching and learning– a number of departments are either using or exploring the use of Moodle to supplement the delivery of teaching they already provide using Sitebuilder tools. One department is also investigating Blackboard. One compared the ease of access to information Moodle provides for external examiners compared to the Warwick experience, largely paper-based.

How can tutor-led developments in the T&L area be adopted more widely?

Moodle implemented 'enterprise wide for opt-in departments'. ULCC selected as hosting partner June 2012. Worked on look and feel and integration with student data and web sign on. Update notice to depts, from August 2012. See go/moodle for more information.

Working with LDC to develop a community of Elearning practitioners; developing a register of eLearning projects

Availability of Wireless access– This is not available in offices used as teaching rooms and the costs of provision of sufficient hotspots can be prohibitive, depending on building architecture. The issue is related to funding rather than a technical issue.

Bid, approved by IPSC, went to the 11/12 planning round to provide wireless access across campus. The campus has been surveyed so there is detailed knowledge of current wireless coverage. If a department has an immediate need, they can contact the Network team, via the Helpdesk, to discuss the provision of wireless hotspots under the current charging model. Work underway to implement.

Support and use of MACs–They recognised there was some support but felt MAC users were ‘second class’ compared to PC users. The use of MACs is not simply personal preference but due to the superiority and availability of MAC software for some subjects areas.

A proposal outlining improvements to MAC support service is to be considered by the ITS Service Review Board in February or March 2012. Improved MAC support now offered. See details here.
Communications –How can staff find out what is available? The issue of the difficulty of finding all the relevant information was raised and an information portal proposed, aimed at Heads of Department, Research Directors etc that gave them access to all the relevant information on the Warwick web site. The question of how departments can know about and influence IT Service priorities and decision-making was raised. With the Estates Office, we have appointed a Communications Officer, Sam Boulby, who is reviewing current communications channels, the requirements of various interest groups and the types of information available. Regular emails to Heads of Department have been trialled; ITS eZine published every 2 months.

Staff development – Can IT Services help with staff development of IT staff in departments?

IT staff put in touch with relevant IT Service service owner.

Repositories/Storage –Requirements for storage and curation are increasing as number of images, videos and sound files used increases. Need to have an ‘image bank’ and move away from storage on CDs etc. Need to be able to catalogue files, tag them for searching and search the databank.

The Library Repositories manager is looking into this area.

Interdisciplinarity. Given the support for this and its importance in the University strategy, how are such courses best marketed and presented on the web site? How should they be modelled in information systems?

Following this up with Comms Office, Teaching Quality and IATL. Interdisciplinary courses can have their own web site, independant of a department's web site.

Would you like to add to this list or discuss any of the issues raised? Please contact your IT Service analyst or Mary Stott, Head of Service Development, mary dot stott at warwick dot ac dot uk .

A number of other issues were raised – storage for scientific devices throwing out 3-4Tb per week per device, research file organisation, equipment disposals, access for external users, current access to storage on H: and shared drives but these have been dealt with by relevant staff.