Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Progress in Information Gathering at SoTC

A series of ongoing meetings has been taking place with the intention of engaging the FD Construction team. The information regarding their policies on course management is rather diffuse, to put it mildly. There is no formal straegy for information exchange; paper is mailed out from the Uni only when demanded by employers. This appears only to happen when the learner is in difficulties. There is no data driven information repository at all, unless the Uni staff keep this - the main contact here at the College is unaware of this. Has anyone else had to offer some quid pro quo authoring/training support to foster engagment?

Anyway, progress at next meeting: The colege cintract has been persuaded to contact employers formally asking thenm to participate. I haev offered to do any techie type of talk that is needed.

Wednesday, 9 May 2007

Meeting the Marketing

Last week I had a meeting with the marketing department to find out what methods they are adopting in promoting the college courses and to get their views about the portal.

They are using the college website to promote courses to employers and do a small campaign in January of every year for Higher Education qualifications. Employers are also approached by external advertising with the local radio, newspapers, direct emails and in-house published brochures promoting Higher Education and Work-Based Learning courses.

The marketing team showed a satisfactory interest in the portal, but they were not sure how we are going to convince the employers to use the portal. However later in the conversation, after they recognised the additional functions the portal will support e.g. tracking students progress, they admitted that this is a new service in its kind which will be very useful to the employers.

They pointed out that employers will be interested in having web links to Chamber of Commerce, colleges, documents about the latest up-to-date legislation, government funding and other relevant regulations. They also highlighted the fact that the employers do not understand what is happening in education, because the literature from the government body contains too much jargon.

We agreed to show the prototype to employers who are the key players in this project to gather their feedback which will help our development team to customize the artifact as appropriate.

Thursday, 26 April 2007

Get the Brokers involved

Yesterday I had a meeting with the college brokers team leader David Bullock (his job entails meeting local employers in order to explain what the college has to offer and persuading them to use the college FT- PT courses and work-based learning courses to enhance the skills of their employees as a route to improved business performance.

I went through the goals of the project with him and briefly demonstrated the lifeRay prototype to him; he was very interested in the portal and envisaged this gateway could potentially be an additional marketing tool for promoting the college courses and services. As he is in regular contact with employers, he is aware of the employers concerns and he has approved of most of the designed functions.

He pointed out that the college has not yet published a prospectus for work-based learning courses, but they do have various lists of courses available from the college faculties. He suggested that the employers should be able to search for work-based learning courses grouped by location/subject on the portal.

He mentioned that the portal should have a link where employers can suggest a course to SURF colleges.

The broker team leader agreed to alert more employers about WBL WAY portal in his future meetings.

Wednesday, 4 April 2007

Meeting with Complementary Therapy

Last week I attended a meeting at Staffs Uni with tutors from FD Complementary Therapy faculties and IT delegates from Cannock, Shrewsbury, Newcastle and Stoke colleges.

The tutors were interested in having an online system where they can share their learning materials, experiences and practices and collaborate effectively.

The following suggestions were made:
  • Portal could be an ideal solution for their requests once implemented, however they were looking for a quick fix to support their students at the present time
  • One of the colleges could host all the course materials and give outsiders access to their VLE
  • Create a shared area on blackboard where they can upload their materials and exchange ideas and practices
Issues concerning the tutors:
  • On how to use Blackboard properly
  • The organisation of the materials on Blackboard
  • Who would be responsible to decide which materials should be used?
In the end, it was decided that Blackboard could be the most appropriate solution, as every tutor/learner has theoretically a login account on it.

It was agreed that a meeting with an IT Staffs team member would be very useful. This will be arranged and we will have a demo of Blackboard at the next meeting.

Sunday, 25 March 2007

Co-ordinating work with Tanya

I have been in contact with Tanya from Training Solutions in the last month. we needed to obtain the completed employers questionnaire as soon as possible as she mentioned that the last day of submitting the questionnaires to Aim Higher was the 20th March.

During this time I put lots of pressure on the FD tutors who passed this on to their students who in turn pressurised their employers for the return of the questionnaire in order to meet the deadline

luckily I received a sufficient number of completed questionnaires from various employers with a variety of industrial fields and have forwarded them to Ann at Aim Higher on time.
Below shows the emails that were sent between Tanya and myselef:
Thanks that is brilliant, Ann can you keep an eye out for them

Tanya 01384 877600

From: Badenjiki, Hamza [] Sent: Thursday, March 15, 2007 11:35 AMTo: tanya@trainingsolutions-online.comSubject: FW: Employer Feedback

Hi Tanya

Referring to employer’s feedback, I was heavily tracing FD faculties this week for that I have received feedbacks from 4 faculties so far, I will wait till Monday for any more and send all documents first class to Aim Higher as advised

Kind Regards

Hamza Badenjiki-SURF
Learning Materials Developer
B 20 - Burslem Campus
Tel: 01782 208 208 x 3112

From: Badenjiki, Hamza Sent: 15 March 2007 11:08To: ''Subject: RE: Employer contact details

Hi Tanya

I have used the attached questionnaire in the classrooms, asking students to fill them and then I used to have an open informal discussion with them and taking notes

I felt this friendly approach worked well with them

Please let me know if this is any help to you

Feel free to call/email me for any further issues

Kind Regards

From: [] Sent: 12 March 2007 11:33To: Badenjiki, HamzaCc: RE: Employer contact details

Hi Hamza

I am confirming points we discussed over the phone
Completed employer’s opinions need to be with us by the 20th March so we can complete an executive summary for Fleur.
Return to
Ann Brownless
Aim Higher
West Midlands
Wolverhampton Science Park
WV10 9RU

Hamza a copy of any questions you have asked students already would be handy as we will start working on focus groups for students in the next 2 months.

As I said over the phone thank you for your contribution the more responses we can gather the better for all to programme a better portal which meets everyone’s needs.

Anne, please can you ring me at your convenience to discuss.
Tanya 01384 877600

From: Badenjiki, Hamza [] Sent: Friday, March 09, 2007 1:57 PMTo: tanya@trainingsolutions-online.comSubject: FW: Employer contact details

Hi Tanya

Referring to Fleur email please let me know how we can co-operate together

Kind Regards

Hamza Badenjiki-SURF
Learning Materials Developer
B 20 - Burslem Campus
Tel: 01782 208 208 x 3112

Contacting the Employers

Most of FD tutors were reluctant to give me the employers' addresses. i gathered that the main reason behind this was political as they fear for the security of their jobs. However some of the tutors were outspoken and more supportive and I received some contacts names from them. Others suggested that their students would pass the Employer questionnaire to their employers/line managers and return them back to me.

From the names I have received I have started contacting the companies trying to arrange appointments with them. It has not been as simple as expected. I have had different responses from several employers, one said that the person responsible is away on a business trip and will let me know when he is back, a few said that they were too busy at the moment to arrange any meetings and asked me to post to them our questionnaire which they will complete and return to me.

I managed to arrange an interview with Aspire Housing company, I will publish the full interview at a later date

Referring to the responses i have received as mentioned above, i decided to post my questionnaire to all of the named employers from the tutors. I therefore sent 9 letters ( enclosing pre-paid envelops) i received only one reply which was from the NHS

As I did not receive the response I was looking for, I started to disseminate the questionnaire through the employees (learners) so that they will in turn pass them on to their employers.

Tutor Feedback

I have completed the questionnaire with the tutors of FD faculties across the college. Their requirements were collected and comments highlighted.

In general, FD tutors were interested in having a subject-oriented discussion board facility to share practices and experiences between SURF colleges.

The idea of login once "One stop shop" attracted their attention. Tutors found it very efficient and effective as they only have to login to a portal to view the modules they teach and also to see the learners who are enrolled on these modules.

Improving the communication between themsleves and the employer/mentor was their main issue. They hoped this will be achieved by the portal, as they will be able to co-ordinate works with mentors and also engage the employers more with the development of FD materials.