Tuesday, 17 May 2011
Hopefully, the early bird really does catch the worm and we'll see an increase in the number of applicants converted into full time students at the start of the new academic year.
Monday, 9 May 2011
For some time now we've been working closely with the tutor for BND Media Production (Radio) and his learners to broadcast some of their radio recordings and podcasts around the College.
The first challenge was how are we going to do this without spending a small fortune on high maintenance, expensive broadcasting equipment; without setting ourselves up as an illegal pirate radio station taking up valuable radio bandwidth or interfering with air traffic control at Southend airport!
Fortunately, the answer was simple! We'll build a dedicated radio station site, place it on C_Space (our intranet), upload the recordings of the shows and podcasts and stream them across the network to the learners on demand.
To get the message out there we set up a number of forums so that the Radio students could advertise their shows, ask for requests and gauge interest in their productions. The news spread fast and it was clear there was a huge demand for the shows. Learners would no longer need to whistle while they worked but instead plug in their headphones, choose a show which interested them and rock away to their heart's desires, all with their tutor's consent of course!
To stay on the right side of the law, we've purchased the appropriate broadcasting license and to get the ball rolling we started airing the shows in Scoff our student refectory. Again, simplicity is the key and we've merely hooked up a laptop to an LCD screen positioned on the wall in Scoff and the shows play via i-Tunes. So far the reaction has been great and the shows are certainly more popular than the derivative MTV drivel we used to pump out of the screen!
Now the site containing pre-recorded shows and podcasts is live and learners can stream the show of their choice at tghe click of a button.
If the site is successful we can allow the learners to upload their own podcasts and radio broadcasts without our direct involvement and perhaps allow other learners to rate their favourites. We can also use this idea across the curriculum and work with other tutors and learners to showcase their work by uploading it to a dedicated site on our intranet which they can control. This will not only give the learners ownership of their own intranet pages but also allow them to demonstrate and showcase the work they do. We can allow our learners to create content for each other which is relevant and make the online environment really work for them while their studying with us. This notion could completely change the face of our intranet and the way in which we think about content control and content creation.
There's definitely something in the air and its signalling a clear change in the way we think about our intranet and the ownership of the content it contains!
Friday, 6 May 2011
Working in a distributed environment, it's important to keep in touch with colleagues who are either based in a different location, or frequently on the move between sites.
At South Essex College we have 4 dedicated Video Conferencing suites spread across the 3 main campuses, a mobile unit and a number of desktop clients and HD webcams. Having access to these facilities means that less time and money is spent on travelling between locations, and also eases the difficulty of bringing together large groups of people that work on different sites.
Thursday, 5 May 2011
Enrolment time is creeping up on us again, and it’s no mean feat to ensure the smooth running of such a large operation across 4 locations.
Enrolment involves the deployment and use of
- over 100 pcs
- 14 printers
- 15 photocopiers
- 17 water coolers
- 4 video conference centres
- 21 deskphones
- 7 tills
- 7 air con units
And that's just the basics!
Once again we will be using Audrey, our custom built queue management system. Audrey is directly connected to our Student Information Systems, and to our courses database. This means that when an applicant arrives, we can straight away allocate them to see someone directly related to the course they wish to enrol on, minimising their overall waiting time.
Once again we have Single Sign On (SSO) working again for our students. This means that once students are logged into college systems, they can access their Outlook Live email inbox without having to enter a second username and password, thus upholding our ‘log-in-once, access-everything’ principle. Continuously having to enter usernames and passwords to navigate from one resource to another is a serious hindrance to the learning experience, and we’re committed to making resources as accessible and highly available to students as possible.
Students also have available to them:
- 25gb of free, online storage via skydrive
- access to Microsoft Office Web Apps