UAL Tech Brainstorm

Transcript of brainstorming requirements / wish list for a UAL wide Online Technical Resources representation in a ‘brave new future’ of the UAL digital landscape:

I would have liked to indulge myself a bit more with a few diagrams I have in my mind but I ended up spending the evening inducting Jennifer and now I’m home tiredness is fast overtaking me. Hopefully though these bullets will give you some good ammunition to add to your pitch.

In many cases the joint technical resources online project have already gone part way to achieving aspects of my ‘wish list’ here, for example the first point about a technical audit has been somewhat undertaken across the colleges but rather in the manner one renders a model into increasingly high resolutions I believe what we have done is really just a crude image compared to the level of detail and accuracy / useful representation that could be achieved, particularly with a more unified solution / purpose in mind.

I suppose looking down the list I see that there is a vague chronology to these ideas too. Audit and schema would preceed the actual resource and its integration into the universities online and curricular landscapes. ​

The other thing I realise (or re-realise as this isn’t the first time I have thought this) is that the core resource is in a sense a simple thing. You know that saying – if an idea is any good it should be possible to explain it simply in a sentence to someone. The Technical Resources Online project has had that covered for a long time. We know what we want at the core of this:

To accurately document and represent our technical resources online in a way that displays and cross references the key information sets in an economic and elegant fashion to make way finding, rich media content and booking accessible to staff and students.

…and the project thus far has somewhat delivered, but as you requested, here I’m looking not just at that core (although as you can see below I do believe there is refinement and expansion needed to make it the resource it should be) but also at the surrounding environment and how it links / integrates with it.

Also note I have taken the ‘no budget limitations’ mandate very much to heart 😛

So here we go:

  • Full UAL wide technical resources and services audit and rationalisation. (As a precursor to digitising our provision)(Yielding information sets documenting staff, locations, opening times and availability, departments, safety and induction requirements, processes, equipment, etc)
  • ​Achieving an agreed / common schema and language to define, understand and represent technical resources. (Categorisation / Information sets / streamlining information / lexicon or thesaurus)
  • A single centralised repository for all technical services information across UAL.
  • A VLE external solution designed to ‘plug in’ to the VLE. (So staff building the online components of courses can select the resources they want to  embed in their course pages from a simple drop down lists)
  • ​Resource booking (currently handled by seperate orb.arts.ac.uk site) directly embeded and handled on the resources page and managed by the same site – integrated into the calendar.
  • ​Colleges fully (interactively) mapped with resources overlaid (so students can physically see where equipment and staff are located)(LCC)(LCF are looking at including all room facilities information in lcftech)
  • ​Technical video, image and document (manuals, inductions, handouts) library expansion and rationalisation. Funds and technical staff hours made available to build a comprehensive resource of interactive / multimedia documentation of core practices in a UAL house style.
  • Solution should be offered as a cross platform mobile app experience, possibly with blue tooth / wifi proximity technologies employed to improve access.
  • Information architecture design consultancy employed to ensure an ultra responsive intuitive experience.
  • Training and support for technical staff to provide rich content for their areas.
  • ​Training for administrators to maintain the site and respond to user queries.
  • ​Support staff provision to assist academics and course admin in using the site.
  • Create cross college communities of practice for technical disciplines (eg 3d studios) to improve provision and give parity of services (and student expectation)(also enabling cross college collaboration and access to resources).
  • Acknowledgement of technical services at a high level in the online landscape via inclusion as a ‘main’ destination on the myarts portal and similar.

PLUS Additions (post responses from MS and OF)

Taxonomy! Yep – that’s the challenge! Should read schema / taxonomy.

…and the MAM – lol there’s something we haven’t talked about for a while.

+ as you say – ownership / IP is the last part of the puzzle.

The question of process arts is an interesting one. I feel it does stand apart from the TRO project (and indeed library, business and estates resources) because of its unmoderated mode of publication and the nature of the content… its more of a platform that a resource.

However it prompts me to think back also to the more forum styled model of online technical resources that has been proposed (and we have opted not to pursue) in the past – creating conversations around our processes and service provision that included students would extend the communities of practice aspect of the project I mentioned.

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