Summary: Investment and capital infrastructure workstream
This workstream identified how Investment and capital infrastructure might enable all providers within the FE system to use Learning Technology (LT) more effectively and support learners. Key themes include:
– Ensuring that each FEI has sufficient bandwidth for its needs and a robust, backed-up connection;
– Exploiting opportunities for low-cost collective licence, shareable online content;
– Standardising IP agreements for FE & Skills sector to develop innovation.
- Common principles for a common purpose: Government, Agencies and FE providers should agree principles for investment in learning technology and ensure that investment is aligned to the wider development of the sector. Investment should only occur where these agreed principles are met
- A case for investment: ICT-related FE projects requesting public funds must set out how the investment will enhance teaching capability and how the investment will be implemented (milestones, personal accountability etc); ICT investment must also require that teachers and support staff understand how to get the best out of the new equipment and software
- Fast and robust: Each FEI should have enough bandwidth for its needs and a robust connection. Dependancy on the Internet for education and all aspects of business use is increasing, as is demand for greater bandwidth. Both aspects underpin the sector’s ICT
- SMT and Board of Governors members must be personally accountable for the high-quality delivery of all aspects of their institution’s learning technology. ICT must be recognised as an essential part of all aspects of each FE institution, not simply as a ‘bolt-on’ but is an integral part of all developments
- Past their shelf life: ensure regulatory rules for capital investment keep pace with technology. Rules on the use of capital funds are outdated and do not reflect technological developments. For example, cloud computing and online software (such as Office 365) are not being fully exploited due to current rules, irrespective of value for money
- Licence to Thrill: exploit opportunities for low-cost collective licence, shareable online content
- Standardise IP agreements for the FE and Skills sector to enhance innovation. IPR is complex and legal advice is costly. Developing standard sets of agreements and advice could de-mystify IPR and make significant savings and lead to greater commercialisation of ed tech (increased exports and/or inward investment)
- Avoiding derailment: TSB/JISC to collaboratively deliver greater support to ed tech innovation to address the poor track record in the UK of commercialising ed tech. Focus on the ‘valley of death’ stage between innovation and monetisation. Get FEIs to drive ed tech innovation by asking ed tech businesses to identify tailored solutions to their specific problems
- Snow Days: FEIs and other providers to allow sufficient time for key staff to think creatively about using LT. Increasing ICT use imposes demands on ICT support staff and may limit their ability to keep abreast of new technologies or to think strategically. Could JISC’s RSCs coordinate interested organisations and discuss ideas with providers setting aside term days to address this
- Building on these proposals, what specific changes to investment and capital infrastructure are needed to make the biggest difference to you?
- Can you suggest any good mechanisms for achieving these recommendations?
- Are there other issues relating to investment and capital infrastructure that should be considered?
Rate the investment workstream:
In your opinion, how useful are these draft recommendations on investment ( 5 = very, 1 = not at all).