Expression of Interest – Evaluation and Support

The Trialling of Collaborative Online Tools for Business and Community Engagement Project (BCEct Project)

The overall project aims to enhance the use and awareness of web technologies in collaborative practice undertaken by BCE practitioners across Further and Higher Education. The project is funded by the JISC BCE Programme, and runs from 1st July 2008 to 31st July 2010.

1. Evaluation (Max. Funding Available £8,000)

JISC infoNet  would like to commission an evaluation of the BCEct project following guidelines (evaluation handbook 2007) provided by JISC .  The project team expect the evaluation project to:

  • Analyse and, where appropriate, suggest amendments to current project documentation e.g. the stakeholder analysis, project plan.
  • Design and provide an appropriate methodology in agreement with the project team for carrying out an evaluation of the project.
  • Gather appropriate evidence from across the project and provide an analysis of the evaluation data gathered.
  • Provide an evaluation report, including an executive summary and PowerPoint presentation.

An overall evaluation framework exists for the BCE Programme and any successful bidder will be expected to work effectively with both the programme evaluator(s) and project team.  The project team estimate this work to take approximately 15 days (111hrs).

Where applicable the project team will be willing to support reasonable travel and accommodation costs (outwith maximum funding given above), however we envisage most of the work to take place remotely.

2. Supporting Trial Projects (Max. Funding Available £6,000)

The BCEct project includes eight trial projects  from across Further and Higher Education in the UK.  JISC infoNet would like to commission an organisation to support each trial project in the evaluation of their individual work.  The project team envisage this support in the form of one day workshops.  Workshops will:

  • Provide each trial project with guidance on effective evaluation practices.
  • Support each trial project in a practical start on their evaluation.
  • Provide an initial synthesis of lessons learned so far across our range of partners.

The project team estimate this work to take approximately 10 days (74hrs).  The project team will support travel, accommodation and facilities where applicable (outwith maximum funding given above).

Deadline and Submission

The deadline for expressions of interest is 12th February 2010.  It is envisaged that bidders will be notified of the outcome of the marking process by 19th February 2010 and that work will commence on or around 1st March 2010.  JISC infoNet will accept one overall proposal for the above areas of work if an applicant wishes to combine them.  Proposals should be submitted to jiscinfonet@northumbria.ac.uk using the subject line ‘BCEct EOI‘.

JISC infoNet may require clarification on your bid and therefore require contact during the week commencing 15th February 2009.  A template for submitting your proposal is available for download here:  Expression of Interest Template.

Structure of Proposals

Proposals will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • Relevant experience in the area of project evaluation.
  • Credibility/Track record, it would be favourable to include recommendations where possible.
  • Project Management.
  • Feasibility of approach.
  • Value for money.

Spotlight On …….Knowledge House

Knowledge House

Knowledge house recently developed a questionnaire to identify the procedures required to effectively tailor KHIS2, their web-based collaborative project tool used by Knowledge House and the five North East Universities to manage Third Strand revenue generating projects. This was completed by potential users and a draft training manual completed.

One of the major issues the trial project faced was losing its original trial partner; this happened not long after the start of the project. As a result, Knowledge House identified two potential new trial partners and held meetings to discuss the benefits of the trial. One North East’s (ONE) Inward Investment team have now come on board and Rachel Armstrong and Paul Cranner will now be working with closely with them to get a technical specification together for the customisation needed to be make KHIS suitable for their work.

Over the next few months the trial project will commence the training of ONE Inward Investment personnel then commence and monitor the trial.

Spotlight … University of Huddersfield

University of Huddersfield

The University of Huddersfield have identified the support needs of the trial project through internal trials and the two pilot online meetings held with the JISC Advance and BCE project partners. They have also carried out the successful recruitment of Senior Computing Officer Chris Parkin to support the project. Chris joined the team on 3rd August 2009. The project undertook some Elluminate sessions to familiarise staff with the software.

An early challenge was that Jane Aldred, Project Director, retired from the university so Brian Hackett, Head of Computing Services stepped into the role. This has insured as little disruption to the project as possible. Joanne Charlesworth is on maternity leave and Chris Parkin is acting as project coordinator.

From September 2009 project will move into phase 2. This will entail enabling collaborative activity across the partnership and working with a partner to use the tools to facilitate interaction with students for meetings.

Spotlight on…University of Glamorgan

University of Glamorgan
The University of Glamorgan recently held their launch event on 22nd July for the “G-Blog” http://g-blog.glam.ac.uk/ and was attended by 50 people. The ten local businesses recruited for the trial project were involved and one of the guest speakers highlighted some Web 2.0 networking tools for businesses. The trial project has invited ten SME’s to join with them in the hope of creating a vibrant and useful blog.
The local Rhondda Cynon Taf (RCT) Business Club had been very proactive in publicising the project and given great support towards the launch. In spite of the RCT Business Club having an almost complete change of personnel, the result has been close co-operation and a very successful partnership.
The trial project also took part in an Elluminate session with the BCE project team and found it very useful. As a result they are now considering using it as a permanent communication tool within the project.
Looking further over the months ahead, the ten businesses will be given their login details and make their first posts and G-Blog activity will be monitored with interaction from Academics from the Business School. The trial project will also look to recruit additional 15 SME’s to participate and recruit more academics from across all faculties.

Spotlight on…. Northumbria University

Northumbria University

Since February 2009 The Open ICT Tools trial project has been working on a number of outcomes, commencing with the detailed planning of stage one and establishing evaluation criteria. They also attended the start-up meeting along with the other trial projects and have dedicated time and effort developing a risk assessment tool. The project website has been launched with publicity across Northumbria University.

Alongside these achievements the trial project has visited three potential project partners as well as moving collaborative tools onto a new server hosted by Northumbria University. This server has been commissioned to facilitate collaborative work with external business and community partners. For this project, Plone has been installed. Another development initiated by the project was a trial of VoIP such as Skype on the main Northumbria University network.

The pilot phase has already begun, earlier than scheduled. 70 students are involved from Northumbria with four people involved from Intel ( based at Oregon, Portland (USA), San Francisco, California (USA) and London (UK)). There are 11 groups, each with its own space on Plone. Students from two different courses are involved; ‘Interactive multimedia design (IMD) + design for industry (DfI) ’ exploring ‘Future of mobile computing’. It will be interesting to review how each uses the available space on Plone; the IMD group may well stretch the system!

A successful teleconference was held re. ‘Working with Intel, Portland, Oregon’. Further remote events are planned. Each group will have teleconference (10 minutes each) with Intel, after which they will develop the group project brief. Additionally two staff from Intel will visit Newcastle to work with the students on their briefs. Finally 9 students will be chosen to travel to the States to present their work.

There are various areas of work planned over the next six months and one of the core areas is working with key stakeholders to undertake an evaluation of stage 1 of the project and plan preparation of recommendations for stage 2 delivery. Following this there will be dissemination of the 1st stage project outcomes on the project website.

Spotlight on…. University of the Arts London

University of the Arts London

The University of the Arts London have been developing their project titled: OPEN-i: Developing an Online Community of Practice for Photojournalists and they have achieved much since the projects inception in March 2009. One of the first tasks was to recruit a Project Administrator and set up and initial editorial board for the project. The OPEN-i community website launched on the Ning platform at the end of June 2009 and had been a great success. As of 11 October 2009 membership stood at 409 with a variety of members from academic, industry, practitioner and student levels. They have now held 2 very successful webinars with 100 attendees in total plus a substantial number of people who have viewed them in the archive, 15 other events and 29 discussions.

Another of their activities was the setting up of project management wiki, which has proved to be a very powerful tool for running the project and communicating/collaborating between the project team who are not based at the same location. The project director has attended major industry events and conferences to help disseminate concept of OPEN-I and gather assets for the network such as video interviews. This has been instrumental in raising the profile of the project.

Over the next six months the project will continue to develop and maintain the network allowing for membership to determine the agenda and direction as well as holding regular webinars and attend industry events and conferences to promote network and gather more assets for it.

Spotlight on…. New College Swindon

New College Swindon

The title of New College Swindon’s project is: Using CRM and Collaborative Tools with Business and Community Enterprise and the project commenced in December 2008. They have faced a number of challenges since it inception, one of which was the establishment of project team to include members of Business Services. This was made more difficult as the main contact of Business Services left the college and it took some time to employ a replacement. This increased the pressure on other members of that team and resulted in a delay in re-establishing a project representative. The problem was overcome by sharing the responsibility of this project across three members of the team.

Initial contact has now been made with local small businesses and a list of Training Providers have been supplied. There was also an initial investigation into the use of the NING platform carried out by the team.

Further ahead the project hopes to finalise the online conferencing tool and either purchase or download for use as well as evaluating Facebook vs Ning and setup accounts for use with partners. They will also be looking at organising an ‘online’ conference for partners and present the advantages of using social networking in business.

Spotlight on…. Birmingham Metropolitan College

Midland Health Academy (Led by Birmingham Metropolitan College)
The project reported that the development stage had been completed and that all the Midland Health Academy partners had agreed to be involved in the project.
It was decided that Moodle would be used and training has been arranged for all the partners involved. Elluminate has also been chosen as the collaborative tool for the project. There were some problems relating to licences and support so Birmingham Metropolitan College are now making the most of the JISC Advance (what we used to call JISC Services) licence that JISC Netskills manage.
Project partner meetings have also been held and the priorities agreed. Stage 1 consists of online meetings and blogs. Stage 2 involves collaboration and discussion through forums and shared folders, with Stage 3 focussing on workforce development and knowledge exchange. In Stage 4 the project will look at product development, possible CPD modules and other courses developed to meet workforce development needs.

Looking further ahead the project hopes to complete the curriculum mapping of all courses and training offered by the partners, as well as starting to define the progression pathways for NHS staff training and development. The project also hopes to share workforce development plans for the Heart of Birmingham tPCT and build on the successes already achieved.

OK – hopefully you will have noticed that the change in name! Sutton Coldfield and Matthew Boulton College have merged.

Web2practice

JISC Netskills are producing a range of short web2practice guides for new users of web2.0 technologies and social software. Five preview animations are available now, explaining how social media, RSS, microbloging, podcasting and collaborative writing can enhance your working practice. More will be released this summer with each guide consisting of a short, animated video explaining the key concepts, supported by a more in-depth guide for download and printing.

The guides are contextualised for researchers, teachers and administrators. However, their generic nature makes them suitable and useful for a wider audience (including BCE). Let us know if you use these guides as part of your BCE Collaborative Tools Project Trials!

To find out more, visit the web2practice website: http://web2practice.jiscinvolve.org/, read the news article on the JISC website or watch the slidecast below.

View more documents from Steve Boneham.