1. Minutes of previous meeting, actions, matters arising
  2. Date and time of next meeting
  3. Discussion of possible changes to our requirements in the medium to long term. For example, the impact (or non-impact, or possible impact) of:
    1. Changing patterns of use of laptops, tablets and other mobile computing - future of the desktop?
    2. Virtualisation
    3. Gesture computing
    4. Video use
    5. Telepresence
    6. University's new storage arrangements
    7. Increasing student numbers
    8. MOOCs


Present: Tim Colles, Michael Rovatsos, Dave Robertson, Alastair Scobie, Perdita Stevens

Apologies: Neil McGillivray

Minutes and matters arising

We agreed the previous minutes.

Action carried: PS to make the right thing happen re Learn front pages, by consulting PA and NMcG [Neil said: it's under control. Check: was it actually done? Yes, DONE]

We discussed ECDF and agreed to invite Jim Bednar and Liz Elliott to our next meeting to discuss it further.

Action: PS to invite them (DONE)

We discussed the nascent "So you're teaching a course" page. This should stay in wiki draft form for now (at least until NMcG has had a chance to comment) and then be turned into a proper web page and handed over, perhaps to the ITO, for maintenance.

Action: MR to add list of minimal information that lecturers should ensure is on their course web page (DONE).

Date and time of next meeting

Wednesday 6th November 2013, 2pm-3pm

Action: PS to book room and announce(DONE)

Strategic discussion

We had a wide-ranging discussion, trying to concentrate on changes we see coming in the 3-10 year window but sometimes falling back to matters of more immediate concern.

We discussed the impact of students bringing their own equipment e.g. laptops, and doing coursework on it. One benefit is that it reduces load on our labs, particularly important when student numbers rise. It is possible that the increasing popularity of tablets may actually decrease the number of students bringing machines they can effectively work on. We don't want to require students to bring laptops, but it would be a good idea to offer some guidance of the form "IF you are buying equipment to bring with you, THEN you might like to bear these guidelines in mind". We discussed timing of sending out this information. PS felt it would be inflammatory to send it out before the 2013 cohort arrive, as many may already have bought equipment and might be upset then to get guidance that they might read as saying they should have bought something else. We'll concentrate on making sure the 2014 cohort gets guidance well in advance.

Action: PS and MR to draft a short paragraph (DONE).

(PS comment: and maybe run it past the class reps for comment before sending it out.)

Part of the pressure for server virtualisation is energy efficiency. We have servers that are apparently underused, originally bought on research grants, consuming electricity and generating heat; this is not very green. In principle they could be virtualised and the machines either turned off or made available more generally. However there's a cost to that (in effort if we do it and/or money if we buy a service from elsewhere) and we are not sure how much benefit there would be. Low-hanging fruit would be to make sure we ask, e.g. at the end of a grant and then annually, whether each machine needs to be on still. At the same time we could gather input concerning how useful a virtualisation service would be. More generally, we should have a grant decommissioning process and it seems we do not. It should ask whether there is data that needs to be archived and what should happen to project web pages, as well as asking about equipment.

Action: PS to talk to NMcG about this and, if appropriate, write a process for portfolio managers to carry out (CARRIED).

We discussed use of videos in teaching, the relationships with MOOCs and the impact of MOOCs on computing provision more generally. It is very unclear where this is going; much will depend on the (non-)emergence of a credible business model. Currently there is not much demand for us to make provision beyond the university facility in AT and what people can support themselves on Macs and Windows machines. We will keep an eye on it.

Student numbers: it is uncertain where we'll actually go, and there do not seem to be foreseeable implications not already under consideration.

Telepresence: Simon and Steve have a facility on Level 3 but we don't have anything communal. We can't afford a really high end solution but something better than Skype might be welcomed. We should watch the FARR installation that the medical people are planning, and consider whether we want something similar.

The university's data storage will apparently be core funded; this is welcome.

We note the Student Systems Roadmap paper recently presented to ITC.

-- PerditaStevens - 05 Aug 2013

Topic revision: r8 - 12 Mar 2014 - 21:30:59 - PerditaStevens
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