Customer focus (and a little magic)

Rachel Drinkwater
Senior Business Analyst
Coventry University

The Business Analysis Conference Europe 2018

In September, I had the opportunity to attend the much lauded Business Analysis Conference Europe in Westminster, London, courtesy of UCISA’s personal development bursary for those working in the education sector.
Following on from my earlier posts about convergence and creativity this blog briefly looks at another of the themes which was prevalent throughout the Business Analysis Europe Conference 2018.

Customer Focus

The importance of focusing on the customer journey and customer experience of a system and indeed the wider organisation was mentioned in almost every session at #BA2018 . For a while there has been a palpable shift towards genuinely building and designing systems by solving customer problems and meeting their needs. Andrej Gustin (CREA Plus) and Igor Smirnov (NETICA) opened their excellent half-day ‘Digital Customer Journeys’ workshop by stating that in 90% of cases a customer who has had a bad experience will not return, however a customer who has had a good experience has a good chance of becoming an advocate. As such it is imperative that we get those customer touchpoints – both system and people-based – right. As Clay Shirky discusses in his book Cognitive Surplus, in a world of social media and digital communities, customer advocacy is worth its weight in gold – prospective customers are significantly more likely to buy your product or service if someone in their network recommends it.
But for us Business Analysts, it’s not just about the end customer when it comes to considering customer focus. We have other customers, namely senior sponsors, the business, our stakeholders or perhaps a client. We need to be customer-focused in the ways we deal with these individuals and groups and we also need to think about their needs and expectations when developing our products – the deliverables – for them.
A number of speakers touched on the importance of avoiding ‘analysis for analysts’. Adrian Reed, in his highly entertaining ‘And Then the Magic Happens – What BAs Can Learn from the World of Magic’ session gave an excellent analogy drawing on the magician community. To be taken seriously by their peers in the field, a magician must use Bicycle-branded playing cards and Sharpie branded pens. However, the audience almost certainly doesn’t notice, or care, what brand of materials are used during the trick. What they care about is the experience of the trick itself and the outcome – ideally the trick working smoothly and a sense of awe, wonder and entertainment. Ironically, Bicycle-branded cards are slippery and not optimal for use in tricks and as such in seeking to impress other magicians, the magician is actually reducing the odds of meeting their customer – the audience’s – needs, as there is a risk he or she will slip and accidentally shower the audience in playing cards! Mapping this to the world of Business Analysis, it is important to remember why we are doing analysis and for whom. Nottingham Trent University’s Suzi Jobe advised delegates to accept that in many cases, business stakeholders are not interested in business analysis and our various tools and techniques – they just want to see the outcome and how it affects them. As such we may need to trade ‘perfect’ analysis models and techniques in favour of producing a deliverable that is of value and use to our end customer.
Finally, Reed advised BAs to be service-focused and to aim to make customers feel understood and cared for. Although the outcome and outputs of a project are important, the lasting memory will be of how the customer felt when dealing with you. As a magician once said, “It’s not just the effect, what they see, it’s also what they experience during the trick – and the way they feel when the trick is over.”

Coming Soon…

In addition to convergence, creativity and customer focus, the following concepts arose time and again at Business Analysis Europe 2018, being discussed and explored in the majority of the sessions I attended:
  • Empathy
  • Continuous Learning
  • Catastrophizing.
I will be posting about each one of these at a high level, then looking to explore some of these areas in more detail in future articles.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Lessons learnt from US institutions at Educause 2018

Richard Goodman
Learning Technology Manager
Loughborough University

 

 

Educause 2018 – day zero

As I mentioned in my opening post, this year, I was one of the very lucky recipients of the UCISA bursary scheme, which has allowed me to be in Denver for the 2018 Educause conference.
Today is the day before Educause 2018 gets underway in earnest. The Tuesday is characterised by a mixture of pre-conference workshops (additional registration required) and user group meetings. The workshops cover a diverse range of topics such as GDPR, digital storytelling, procurement, portfolio management and many more.
My day began with attending a CampusM user group meeting. CampusM are one of Loughborough University’s educational technology partners, supplying the Loughborough University mobile app to give students access to key information on their mobile, including the University VLE, lecture capture, digital registers and mobile timetables.
It was interesting to compare and contrast approaches to the mobile app with universities in the US who were in attendance, and the different drivers for using a mobile app with students. The supplier also shared some highlights from the product roadmap, and the audience were discussing some of the potential uses for the new features, as well as sharing stories and experiences from our implementations of the product. A very useful session and I hope that all of the international attendees found the unique chance to share experiences with very different institutions as useful as I did.
Following on from that I attended the Oracle Executive Summit. Oracle powers some of our key corporate systems, and this panel session featured experiences from a range of US universities, telling the story of how IT and business leadership collaborated to leverage the process of migrating key enterprise applications to the cloud to build their overall capacity for innovation and achieve substantive change. We heard what prompted the innovation, how they transformed their institutions, and some of the benefits that they have achieved so far. A number of US institutions appear to be moving away from on premise computing, so it was interesting to hear their cloud migration stories.

Oh, and if you’re wondering about that photo above, one of the meetings was held in a Denver hotel that was built inside the former Colorado National Bank. During the renovation, they added two new floors to the building, whilst retaining most of its features, including the three-story atrium with classical marble colonnades and 16 large murals depicting the life of Native Americans on the plains. Three of the bank’s massive vaults were also retained, including the basement meeting room where we spent some of the day. The thought of doing some kind of Ocean’s 11 re-enactment did cross our mind.
Tomorrow, the conference begins, with over 8,000 people here in Denver ready to attend. That number is just a little bit mind boggling, and it has increased by 1,000 since my estimate yesterday, as the official figures have become available…
This first appeared on the East Midlands Learning Technologists’ Group blog.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme. 

‘Braindates’ at Educause 2018

Richard Goodman
Learning Technology Team Manager
Loughborough University

Educause 2018 – Day Minus One

This year, I was one of the very lucky recipients of the UCISA bursary scheme, which has allowed me to be in Denver for the 2018 Educause conference. The Educause conference is something that has been on my radar for 20 years, and it’s no coincidence that it is celebrating 20 years this year. 
It is an absolutely enormous event, with around 7,000 attendees registered this year. That’s over 10 times larger than our very own ALTC, which is why they need a venue the size of the Colorado Convention Centre to host it. I’ve been seeking out advice from past attendees, and one common theme is “don’t be overwhelmed” as well as being prepared for very long days.
I’ve been in the city for a couple of days now, acclimatising (quite literally as the city is a mile above sea level) and combating jet lag by getting sunshine and fresh air. During this time I’ve been finalising my conference schedule, setting up ‘braindates‘ (a new feature at Educause this year), and getting ready for user group meetings with the suppliers that we work with at Loughborough University. Going back to that theme of long days, my first ‘braindate’ is at 7:30am on Wednesday morning. I’ve usually not left the house at that time of day on a normal working day.
Denver is a beautiful city with so much to see and do. Today, after doing the day job from my hotel room all morning, I was out exploring the city, and just happened to bump into this wonderful specimen down by the South Platte River, in beautiful October sunshine.
I’ve called today “day minus one” as registration has opened (handily in the hotel lobby) and the #edu18 hashtag has exploded on Twitter with lots of pre-conference networking happening and hints and tips being shared. The weather is currently a hot topic, as it was 25 degrees today, but will be closer to 0 tomorrow with snow in the forecast!
Tomorrow is day zero, with user group events and briefing sessions for first time attendees. I’m looking forward to getting stuck in to my biggest conference event ever. Look out for the next post tomorrow, and tweet me @Bulgenen if you have anything that you would like me to find out for you at Educause.
This first appeared on the East Midlands Learning Technologists’ Group blog.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme. 

From the old to the new in tackling information security

Haydn Tarr
IT Service Development Manager
The University of Chichester
Report provided to colleagues at the University of Chichester’s IT, Library and Customer Service departments

InfoSecurity Europe Conference 2018

Overview

UCISA offer a bursary to attend conferences in fields relevant to HEI support staff. I have always held a strong interest in attending InfoSec Europe and the bursary presented a perfect opportunity to attend this year. InfoSec Europe is an annual conference which holds a strong focus on cyber security technology developments. This report will disseminate my findings from the conference and draw relevance to the University of Chichester.
InfoSec was split into two formats:
My visit to InfoSec Europe focussed on the sessions it offered and discussing these topics with other visitors concerned with cyber security. There were a number of themes which were touched on regularly.

Theme 1: Cyber security prevention and training

There are varying techniques used for protecting company data from cyber-attacks. I found at the conference that commercial organisations have mainly focussed on preventative measures, e.g. firewalls, email protection, blocking users, etc. These measures do help to mitigate the risk of data breach and infection, but paradoxically reduces this workforce’s awareness of the type of threats and techniques used by attackers to exfiltrate sensitive data.
Organisations are now becoming increasingly aware that this is no longer enough, and the focus is now on training and building awareness amongst the workforce in a bid to reduce the likelihood of a data breach by exposing potential threats to staff. A general message surfaced from the seminars I attended, which was that the workforce can be the biggest asset in preventing cyber-attacks. Some organisations harness this by raising awareness and sustaining a culture where staff are encouraged to report breaches. From the opposite end of this view, other antiquated strategies are in place to prevent the workforce from even coming into contact with potential viruses and untrusted emails in the first place.
A personal takeaway is that a balance needs to be struck between the two, in which I personally feel that the University has an advantage. I observed in other organisations that training initiatives tend to be a temporary notion. Both prevention and training are a continuous development, which will adapt with emerging security vulnerabilities.

Theme 2: Blockchain

Many tech vendors in attendance at InfoSec Europe are associating themselves with Blockchain, and building this into their research and development plans for future protection technologies. In recent months we have witnessed the rise and fall in media coverage (and value!) of Bitcoin. Blockchain, which Bitcoin transactions operate upon, is a transferrable technology which can be adapted to other types of digital transactions in making them more secure.
One technology I found interesting and could offer some value in the future was the use of Blockchain to provide an improved assurance of personal identity. By using Blockchain as a way of decentralising identity, more control can be put into the hands of the individual in how they share their information with other individuals and organisations. These parties can then have more confidence that the holder of this identity, is who they say they are. This could also offer the individual complete power in what specific information that they share throughout various online services, institutions, government portals, etc.

Theme 3: The old tricks still work

Traditional exploitation techniques such as email phishing, SQL Injection and other attacks have been used for almost two decades and are continuing to grow in adoption by adversaries. The rise of IoT (Internet of Things) is partially to blame for this as the surface area of potential vulnerabilities continues to grow. These vulnerabilities could be considered as older consumer electronics, connected to the internet but using old software and firmware, are unlikely to be updated. This becomes particularly problematic in the critical infrastructure industry where I witnessed a live hack on a maritime GPS navigation system. Bringing this back to the local environment, the necessity to maintain a patching programme across the University estate with a growing number of connected devices, has never been more critical.

The University is protected in every area on the network by various prevention solutions. Despite these, there is still a risk of infection or data loss due to persistent attacks which could circumnavigate these techniques such as email phishing or social engineering. These methods are still the oldest trick in the book, and at the University with a growing number of staff, this problem continues and is generally acknowledged throughout commercial and other organisations.

Theme 4: Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning

These terminologies are often used to describe the next generation of learning ability in computer software. We are yet to reach the state where artificial intelligence achieves its true meaning. Machine learning, however has a big part to play in some of the advances in cyber security. Vast amounts of logging data is collected on a daily basis at the University and throughout other organisations. This logging data can be used for troubleshooting isolated technical issues and security events. Cyber security vendors are beginning to respond to this accumulation of logging data positively, by investing in machine learning R&D. Future developments could enable security technologies to learn behaviours and trends from the accumulation of collected logging data. This could help an organisation’s security posture to evolve in a more effective way to prevent and mitigate cyber-attacks. Vendors are advising that the sheer volume of data that is collected now, can be useful in the future – however, everyone needs to be mindful of GDPR.
Interviews with the keynote speakers from the conference are available along with presentations from the event.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Creativity at Business Analysis Europe

Rachel Drinkwater
Senior Business Analyst
Coventry University

The Business Analysis Conference Europe 2018

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the much lauded Business Analysis Europe Conference in Westminster, London, courtesy of UCISA’s annual personal development bursary for those working in the education sector.
Following on from my post about convergence, this article briefly looks at the second of the themes which were prevalent throughout the Business Analysis Europe Conference 2018.

Creativity

Perhaps due to the paradigm shift towards convergence, we may now be working with a different, more creative type of stakeholders: marketers, brand specialists and brand designers and within the technical fields, UX designers and app developers. Perhaps because of a focus on our customers and their journeys and experiences with our systems or the trend towards story-telling, we have a need to be more visionary in our approach to our roles as BAs. Perhaps it is a mix of the above, but it certainly seemed that exploring creative and innovative ways of eliciting requirements, solutionising and design thinking were rife across the sessions.
This was particularly illustrated in the Gamestorming session led by The Home Office’s Amy Morrell and Business Analyst Hub’s Rohela Raouf, in which delegates created concepts for systems solutions to case study problems using Lego, Playdoh and assorted craft materials. The working groups then went on to create a pitch for a branded box which represented the final system as a physical product. Whilst this was quite an extreme use of creativity for identifying areas for improvement and eliciting requirements and one that may require caution before unleashing upon more traditional business stakeholders, it certainly encouraged different, innovative and creative ways of approaching the problem. It was also an excellent opening session to energise the conference delegates and break some of the metaphorical ice!
In addition to these creative approaches, creativity in leadership, in stakeholder management and employing innovative mind-sets to disrupt your organisation and industry were discussed at length. Certainly today’s big players such as Amazon, Google, Uber and Facebook, enjoy their success in part due to the creative approach and innovative mind-set that they have applied to the industry in which they want to operate and in doing so have identified ways to exploit and disrupt the existing industry and its market environment.

Coming Soon…

In addition to convergence and creativity, the following concepts arose time and again at Business Analysis Europe 2018, being discussed and explored in the majority of the sessions I attended:
  • Customer focus
  • Empathy
  • Continuous Learning
  • Catastrophizing.
I will be posting about each one of these at a high level, then looking to explore some of these areas in more detail in future articles.
This blog was originally published at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/business-analysis-conference-europe-2018-creativity-rachel-drinkwater/
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Beyond lecture capture

Marieke Guy
Learning Technologist
Royal Agricultural University

ALTC 2018

At the Royal Agricultural University (RAU) we are a little behind with lecture capture (we don’t do it very often), but it now turns out that it isn’t such an issue as other institutions seem to be moving beyond lecture capture and focusing more on other uses of multimedia. I attended a number of sessions at ALTC 2018, courtesy of a UCISA bursary, on how we can take things forward and make multimedia use a more everyday part of our learning tech activities. I enjoyed a talk by a fellow UCISA bursary winner, Karl Luke from Cardiff University on ‘Studying learning journeys with lecture capture through Staff-Student partnerships’. His research has looked at how we can educate students in making the most of the tools available. So for example, if it’s not in YouTube why would students know that it’s in Panopto? Interesting to hear that students are increasingly watching lecture capture at home on their TVs in a self-created study space with physical materials at hand. Much more “screen real estate” than on mobile phone.
A talk from Stuart Phillipson of University of Manchester (available on video) looked at how they have used the Equality Act to enable them to record content (regardless of the opt in options) and share with disabled students using a 24 hour grace period for the academics. 85% of lectures are now recorded and shared with disabled students – these students are not allowed to share content more widely, that would be a case of academic misconduct. At the University of Northumbria, they have been successfully using Panopto to give video feedback to students , keeping their audience interested by releasing the grade at the end of the session.
The steps in video feedback from Northumbria University

 

 

 

In a more practical workshop, the University of Wolverhampton team looking at alternative uses of lecture capture , we played lecture capture bingo and shared our experiences. There were also some useful discussions on how we measure success. Is it viewing ratio: how many hours viewed versus how many hours recorded? Or are there other ways that we should be doing this? Also worth a look is Duncan MacIver’s pebble pad on the impact of digital learning capture on student study habits and the University of Wolverhampton article on ‘Flipping the learning experience for science students’.
Lecture capture bingo
More to follow on the noticeable themes and favourite moments at ALTC.
This blog first appeared in the ‘Digital Transformation at RAU’ blog.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

The importance of convergence

Rachel Drinkwater
Senior Business Analyst
University of Coventry

The Business Analysis Conference Europe 2018

Last month I had the opportunity to attend the much lauded Business Analysis Conference Europe in Westminster, London, courtesy of UCISA’s personal development bursary for those working in the education sector.
The 2018 event marked the conference’s tenth year and having been a business analyst for approaching fifteen years now, this conference has been on my radar for some time. Over the years I have watched longingly as more senior colleagues, freelance peers and even co-workers nominated for ‘Business Analyst of the Year’, have departed for London for three days of sharing ideas, networking and learning and returned positively sparking with inspiration. This year, my turn came and I spent much of the week before preparing and planning, determined to gain the most I possibly could from this experience.
I returned, somewhat exhausted, but brimming with ideas, inspiration and a newfound pride in my profession. As a blogger, I also have inspiration for articles and blogs to keep me and my readers happy until Christmas! Over the space of the three days, I attended fifteen talks and workshops and left each one more enlightened that when I walked in, from gaining a new nugget of information, a shift in my attitude and approach towards the BA profession, to learning an entirely new technique.
More detail will follow over the coming weeks, but in this article I discuss the first of a number of key themes that seemed to permeate the conference: convergence.

Convergence

Many years ago I completed a lengthy application process for an industrial placement with a global corporation and on my application form I ticked ‘marketing’ and ‘IT’ as my two business areas of interest. In the interview stage, I was quizzed for some time on what the recruiters perceived as a most unusual juxtaposition; how could a person wanting to work in the technical discipline of IT also harbour an interest in the creative field of marketing?
Marketing has been a career-long interest for me. I chose to pursue a career in IT, but have often tended towards marketing in my personal development, attending the occasional CIM training session, self-studying related online courses and eventually undertaking a Masters which comprised at least 50% marketing modules. But why, if I had chosen a career in IT? Well, firstly because I find marketing theory and customer behaviour fascinating and secondly, perhaps because I approached IT from the field of web design and running my own business in the early 00s, I’ve always mentally linked marketing with IT.
Unfortunately, my industrial placement hirer’s attitude was not in isolation. Throughout my career, many potential employers have been perplexed and in some cases even turned off by my multi-disciplinary set of interests. Given this, it was a great reassurance to find that a significant proportion of the discussion, theory and techniques at Business Analysis Europe had roots in or strong connections to marketing.
Technological innovations and developments have disrupted almost every industry. The pervasive use of digital devices and social platforms by the majority of the populace, certainly in the Western world, has led to digital becoming a primary channel for many companies to engage with their customer base; pushing communications to them, engaging them in two-way conversations, facilitating digital communities of like-minded customers and of course ecommerce.
These digital marketing systems and platforms require IT professionals, just as with any other system and as with any other project, business analysts need to understand marketing theory and strategy if they are to design, build and successfully implement systems to support organisations’ marketing strategy.

I draw on marketing as it is an area of personal interest and because it was indeed a key area of focus at the conference, but the same applies for all areas of business; sales, operations, asset management, HR and certainly customer service and PR, as previously explored in my earlier blog article ‘Blurred Lines’.  As Mark Smalley (@MarkSmalley) stated in his The Digital BA session: “In the digital enterprise, business and IT are converging and we <as Business Analysts> need to consider the consequences of this”.

Coming Soon…

In addition to convergence, the following concepts arose time and again at Business Analysis Europe 2018, being discussed and explored in the majority of the sessions I attended:
  • Creativity
  • Customer focus
  • Empathy
  • Continuous Learning
  • Catastrophizing.
I will be posting about each one of these at a high level, then looking to explore some of these areas in more detail in future articles.
This blog originally appeared at: https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/business-analysis-conference-europe-2018-rachel-drinkwater/.

Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

Planning to get the most out of FORCE2018

Alice Gibson
Research Publications Officer
Library & Archives Service
London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine

Preparations for attending FORCE2018

With under a week until I set off, I am greatly looking forward to attending FORCE2018 in Montreal as a UCISA bursary winner for 2018.
FORCE2018 is organised by FORCE11, a community of scholars, librarians, archivists, publishers and research funders that has arisen organically to help facilitate the change toward improved knowledge creation and sharing. Working individually and collectively, their aim is to bring about a change in modern scholarly communication through the effective use of information technology, and to maximise efficiency and accessibility to the communication.
I will be attending pre-conference workshops on 10th October hosted at Concordia University, including participating in Springer Nature’s roundtable discussion, to discuss metrics for open access books. From 10th – 12th October, I will be at McGill University attending sessions and presenting a poster.

Engagement

The theme of FORCE2018 is ‘engagement’, so as an attendee I wanted to set myself the task of organising an event on my return, where I can utilise the new knowledge and skills I hope to acquire while the event is fresh in my memory. The fruits of this labour will be an event for LSHTM’s extended open access week (#LSHTMopenaccessweek), running through October: our ‘Creative Commons Workshop’.
LSHTM’s Creative Commons Workshop’ builds on a blog post ‘Creative Commons outside of Academia’ that in turn expands on the poster that I will be presenting during the poster sessions at FORCE2018. My poster takes up the theme of ‘engagement’ and merges this with the intricacies of open access policies, specifically those concerning what licences scholarly works should be made available under. In doing this, I seek to suggest that encouraging active participation with projects that utilise Creative Commons licences outside of academic life can serve to demonstrate the purpose of some of the licences required within in it.

My Schedule

There are a wide range of sessions available across the three days and having been through the programme, I have already planned which ones to attend.
Of course, as a PhD student studying Philosophy and working in research support, I could not miss the opportunity to attend a talk concerning using Wittgenstein’s thought to consider how we can appeal to theory to help us overcome some of the challenges we face in scholarly communication, an event which will be happening in the morning on Thursday.
I am also particularly looking forward to attending the session run by the cofounders of Impactstory, Heather Piwowar and Jason Priem, on Friday. Their Simple Query Tool has made tasks that would be endless if done manually, straightforward and manageable in my daily role, and filled the void left by the closure of Lantern, the service that Cottage Labs ran to facilitate checking the open access status of articles.
The entire conference is full of fantastic opportunities to address my professional and personal interests and I expect some other highlights to be the workshop on blockchain in scholarly communication, the talk on open access journals in Latin America, and the workshop run by Jeroen Bosman and Bianca Kramer concerning envisaging optimal workflows.
Between all of these sessions, talks and workshops, I hope to have the opportunity to meet with some people who I have come across already in my work in open access, and to meet new colleagues and learn of innovative projects and initiatives to bring back to our team at London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine. As a note-making mechanism, I will record ideas and resources that I come across throughout the conference on the online tool, Padlet, which will be available for anyone to read here.
On a more personal note, I am very excited to explore the city having never been to Montreal (or Canada) before, and intend to make the most of the wonderful opportunity made available to me.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.

“We are really important to the future of education”

Marieke Guy
Learning Technologist
Royal Agricultural University

ALTC 2018

Last month, courtesy of being awarded a UCISA bursary, I travelled up to Manchester (the city of 100,000 students) for the Association of Learning Technology (ALT) Conference 2018. While it was my first ALTC, it was actually the 25th in the series and there was considerable reflection on changes to the learning technologist role and in learning technology itself.  In my posts about ALTC, I want to share some of the noticeable themes and my favourite moments.
The ALTC 2018 committee team launch the conference

I am woman

This year saw three inspiring women providing the ALTC plenaries, unfortunately, unusual enough an occurrence that it warrants comment. On day 1 Dr Tressie McMillan Cottom, Assistant Professor, Virginia Commonwealth University, gave a sociological unpacking of educational technology and explored the idea that context matters and learning technologies do not exist in a vacuum. Tessie suggested that the time is right for us to deconstruct learning technology and consider how we want to put the pieces back together. Learning technologies have (in the US) emerged as administrative units but would they benefit from being a unique academic discipline? She shared the example of the born digital programmes she has led on where “edtech is not just a set of tools but a philosophy about how we think about things” – offering opportunities to the non-traditional student.
On day 2 Amber Thomas, Head of Academic Technology, University of Warwick, gave a wonderful talk considering ‘Twenty years on the edge’. You can read a summary on her blog: Fragments of Amber.  Way too much good stuff to write about here but the main take away was a pat on the back for those of us working with learning technology in HE.
ALT’s 25 year anniversary playing card pack
Things aren’t easy – not only do we suffer from impostor syndrome when we do well but there is also a misapprehension that innovation is isolated to the commercial sector and that governments and agencies are blockers of change. Amber pointed out some of our collective work, from 3.5 million spent on MOOCs, to great collaborative projects and organisations including Ferl, Jisc and EU projects. However, change in universities requires patience and it is important that we listen to the mainstream, after all digital is really about people. We need to be ethical, respectful and useful, for we are “really important to the future of education”.
Dr Maren Deepwell, Chief Executive of ALT, gave the last plenary of the conference ‘Beyond advocacy: Who shapes the future of Learning Technology?’. She brought together the conference themes, a good dose of ethics (“equality is everyone’s responsibility”) and empowerment pants.
Amber Thomas presents her twenty years on the edge
She considered the difficulties learning technologists face in being both advocate and critic in a “risky business” where things often go wrong. Perhaps we need to get better at sharing our failings. Maren concluded with a personal reflection that “EdTech is a field of practice, not a discipline”. You can read Maren’s recent post on the state of Education Technology in HE on WonkHE.

Beetastic Manchester
More to follow on the noticeable themes and favourite moments at ALTC.
This blog first appeared in the ‘Digital Transformation at RAU’ blog.
Interested in finding out more about a UCISA bursary, then visit UCISA Bursary Scheme.