Open Thinkering


10 things I’ve learned since starting work for JISC

My 'official' JISC photo

I started working for JISC infoNet on 1 April 2010. It’s amazing how two jobs within education – Director of E-Learning and Researcher/Analyst – can be so different. More on that when I compare and contrast them in a future post. :-p

I’ve learned lots of things since joining JISC. Here’s my top ten:

  1. Virtually nothing is done on an ad-hoc basis. Things are planned, documented and rigorously organized.
  2. Despite the above, they’re flexible. Very flexible.
  3. As in any large organization, sometimes the left hand doesn’t talk to the right hand.
  4. “We’ve had a strong steer on this” means “someone insinuated something that I want you to crack on with.”
  5. Microsoft Outlook sucks. And not just a little bit.
  6. There’s a massive push towards openness – not just Open Source but things like Open Access and Open Educational Resources (check out the draft OER infoKit I helped produce!)
  7. JISC is well-funded (well, at the moment anyway…)
  8. Many things that I thought were innovative in schools are standard practice and well-known in the FE and HE sector.
  9. Wikis are by far the best way to organize internal documentation and plan stuff. Really. (JISC infoNet uses PBworks)
  10. Consultants aren’t that bad. In fact, they’re pretty necessary actually.

So there we are; more updates as I learn new stuff. As I mentioned above, once I’ve settled in a bit more I plan to compare and contrast my work in schools with my new role. There’s pros and cons for both. 😉

7 thoughts on “10 things I’ve learned since starting work for JISC

  1. It’s always interesting to move to a new organisation, whether it is another school, authority, business or something else! The most valuable opportunity it affords you is to evaluate your own practice with your previous employer.

    I’d be interested if you could expand on

    8. Many things that I thought were innovative in schools are standard practice and well-known in the FE and HE sector.

    1. Well, for example:

      -Wikis seem to be used extensively for in-house and cross-institution

      – There’s money available to buy Premium version of Web tools like
      SurveyMonkey, so the question is not whether but *how* you use such

      – People really know how to manage projects (I’m really playing catch-
      up with this one!)

    1. 5. Outlook sucks because it’s the most unintuitive, quirky (in a bad way)
      and resource-hogging piece of software ever.
      6. Thanks – got a URL for that yet? :-)
      7. I know you’re joking, but JISC has lots of tenders open for bidding to!

  2. It’s really interesting to follow your career transition Doug. I found your analogy about ‘leaving the circus’ really chimed with thoughts I have had about the profession. I would be very interested to read about your decision to change direction.

    Also, totally agree with you re: Outlook!

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