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Jisc unveils digital elevation model for further education


Mark Say Managing Editor

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Jisc has launched a three-year strategy to support further education with an emphasis on a new ‘digital elevation’ model.

The not-for-profit technology services provider for further and higher education said the model has been developed to support providers review their digital status and will eventually be available as an online self-service tool for planning digital investments and initiatives.

The strategy has been developed from discussions that began late last year with sector leaders, including the Commission on the College of the Future, and has taken account of the Covid-19 pandemic’s effect on the further education sector.

Robin Ghurghurun (pictured), Jisc’s managing director of further education and skills, said: “While the pandemic has been hugely disruptive and stressful for many, it has given further education and skills providers a long overdue shot in the arm – the catalyst required to push the sector into a new era of technology enhanced education.  

“Since the day providers were forced to close campuses, those which had been slow to the digifest began to realise not just the potential of technology, but the necessity. These organisations were challenged the most at the beginning of lockdown but have hopefully emerged all the stronger for it.   

“My hope is that their staff are now equipped with new-found digital skills and confidence in online teaching and learning and their leaders are elevating investment in digital infrastructure and edtech further up their admittedly long wish lists. Simply put, those who fail to invest in the benefits of long term digital transformation risk failure.”

The digital elevation model has been designed for further education providers to assess their status in terms of the foundations in place, what changes they need to make and look at how learners and staff can benefit in the future.

It includes elements of leadership and governance, improving learner and staff experience, curriculum development and the providing a series of underpinning technologies.

This leads into Jisc’s plans, broken down into three one-year periods up to July. Notable elements of the first year include: developing a new further education online repository or licensed content; providing new online course templates and teaching and assessment support; and providing new products including a managed cloud service and remote access service.

Plans for the second year take in introducing augmented and virtual reality content, the launch of a digital capability benchmarking service, and setting up a managed IT service for further education providers, along with a scheme to obtain Cyber Essentials Plus certification.

Year three includes the provision of simulated assessment tools and the introduction of an infrastructure-as-a-service offering and a predictive analytics service.

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