Here's a capture of my talk yesterday on practical cloud computing for the Loughborough Students Union Computer Society (LSUCS):

(see how quickly I recovered from the Beachball of Doom there :-)

In the last couple of weeks I have lectured this year's intake of Computer Science undergrad and postgrad students at Loughborough on Cloud Computing - the challenges it poses and the opportunities it creates. If you're interested, please see below for my slides. This blog post looks at some of the issues I raised in a bit more detail, and in a way which I hope will be interesting to both attendees of those lectures and readers from elsewhere on the net. Please do leave a comment and let me know what you think.

In this post I'll pull together the key themes that emerged in our "Cloud Learning with Google Apps" workshop at the ALT-C 2011 conference.

I was pleased that we had some 70 attendees express an interest in this session, making it one of the most popular parallel sessions at this year's ALT-C. Unfortunately we only had seats for 50 people, so my apologies to those attendees who had to stand, sit on the floor etc!

In this blog post I'll return to our project to "field test" the JISC Strategic ICT Toolkit, with a round up of results and recommendations. If you haven't come across the Strategic ICT Toolkit before, please see the S-ICT area on the JISC website, and the JISC toolkit itself.

To kick off, here's a Prezi which I produced for the programme meeting in August 2011:

I thought it would be interesting and fun to make my plenary session at IWMW11 a bit more interactive than simply me standing up and waffling in front of a bunch of slides. Here's a few words about what I did and how I did it, plus some feedback from the interactive parts of the talk, and a few observations about this year's IWMW event.

I'll be talking at the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW 2011) this week about institutional attitudes to "Web 2.0", i.e. social media, blogs, Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. As I've written before (about the iPad), the key question is: Are you progressive, or regressive? At Loughborough we are trying to take a progressive approach to Web 2.0 - taking in the feedback from an earlier crowdsourcing exercise.

This material first appeared as a guest post on the IWMW blog - thanks to Brian and Marieke for the opportunity to write for the blog, and to speak at IWMW.

"Institutional maturity" for Loughborough's IT Strategy

I've blogged in the past about a little project on IT Strategy that we are doing with JISC, exploring the potential of the Strategic ICT Toolkit at Loughborough. This is just to give people an update and pull out a few points that have come up during the course of this work.

In this blog post I'll spend a few moments looking at the institutional maturity self-analysis process (as illustrated above), and discuss some of the issues that this and the wider toolkit material have raised at Loughborough.

This post summarises some work that I have been doing to follow up PIPaL, our recent JISC project looking into Customer Relationship Management. PIPaL applied the JISC Self-Analysis Framework for CRM to our initial investigation of the potential for an institutional CRM facility. In this post I will pick up on areas where I felt that the Self-Analysis Framework could be improved or further developed. Some passing familiarity with the Framework (or an interpreter!) is advisable.

For the research supporting these conclusions please see my Critique of the JISC Self-Analysis Framework for CRM document on scribd.com. As development begins on the JISC Online CRM Handbook I hope this material will be timely. I'm afraid that the references are largely hidden behind academic publishers' paywalls, though :-(

This post is prompted by recent Twitter discussions involving some of my co-conspirators from the 1990s, back when I was a digital libraries researcher, web caching poohbah and some-time shambrarian.

We had a particular view that Internet search would (or perhaps "should") evolve along the same lines as the Internet itself - a many faceted distributed and decentralized networked organism, held together by a common web of protocols and interchange formats. This had worked pretty well for TCP/IP, after all, so why not take the same approach for finding stuff?

Bear in mind that WAIS and Gopher were still alive and kicking at this point...
I'm delighted to be able to report that IT Services at Loughborough University has been shortlisted for the 2011 Times Higher Leadership and Management Awards "Outstanding ICT Initiative" category. This is in recognition of our collaboration with Google to deliver a state of the art communication and collaboration suite for Loughborough students using Google Apps.  We'll know on June 16th whether we are the chosen ones :-)

I'd like to take this opportunity to thank current and former colleagues for all their hard work on Google Apps at Loughborough - in particular Chris Beggs, Garry Booth, Mike Cardwell, Nikki Doyle, Graeme Fowler, Kathryn Latham, Hina Mistry, Vishal Nathu, Lee Preston, Lynne Render and Ricardo Twumasi.

For the curious, I've appended a copy of our submission to the Times Higher Awards...  [Much of the text may be familiar if you have already read our Google at Loughborough Case Study!]

This is a follow-up to my talk at the UCISA 2011 management conference about the Google Apps experience at Loughborough University. For a quick overview of our project to implement Google Apps, please see the “Loughborough Goes Google” Case Study.

In this post I’ll look at using a tool called the Value Stream Map (see Rother and Shook's excellent book, "Learning to See") to help you analyze where and how much your existing business processes add value. I've chosen a scenario that illustrates the benefits of the move to Google quite nicely:

In this post I'll pick up on and amplify a few of the themes from the talk that Parmjit Dhugga and I did about the JISC Strategic ICT Toolkit at the recent JISC 2011 conference in Liverpool.  But first, a cheezy video that I made to introduce the toolkit... :-)

The Strategic ICT Toolkit is a new resource from JISC, developed by the University of Nottingham Graduate School in partnership with the Leadership Foundation for Higher Education. It follows on from a report by Duke and Jordan that identified significant variation on institutional approaches to IT strategy. Fundamentally the toolkit is an aide to reflective thinking about IT strategy, with a wealth of background material and case studies, and a self-analysis component that you can use to "rate your IT strategy".

In January 2011 I surveyed IT Directors in FE and HE on their approach to email filtering (scanning for spam, viruses etc) and archiving. The results of this survey will feed into a discussion at our IT Committee (IT governance body) later today. 33 responses were received, mostly in the first couple of days. 31 of these were from Higher Education institutions - so this is effectively a survey of mail filtering and archiving in HE only. Read on for an analysis of the responses, qualitative feedback from the respondents, and my conclusions.

At Loughborough our current approach is to use Google's built-in filtering for students and alumni, coupled with in-house filtering on our mail routers with SpamAssassin and ClamAV - and Forefront on our Exchange servers for staff. We also operate a locally developed archiving solution for staff which grew out of a JISC project on records management (see our EDUCAUSE 2007 talk on email archiving by Garry Booth, Graeme Fowler and Carys Thomas) and Kochi, an innovative solution to the problem of targetted "spear phishing" for users' passwords (see Graeme Fowler and Mike Cardwell's Kochi presentation to the UK Network Operators Forum).

Last summer I blogged about amplified events and using this blog for engagement, which is a topic I returned to for the recent Web 2.0 guidelines crowdsourcing experiment.  I've not had an opportunity until lately to try putting together an amplified event, but this has now presented itself in the form of the first Google Apps for Education UK User Group meeting.  We're hosting this at Loughborough's Holywell Park Conference Centre next month, back to back with the UCISA Cloud Computing Seminar.

Holywell Park Conference Centre at Loughborough