Friday, 15 July 2011

Changing Track

For the third interview we changed track slightly, we were dealing with a member of staff with limited knowledge of XCRI. We decided on sending an early email with the website links and an offline version of the framework, giving the option to fill it in before the meeting or doing it on the day. They turned up with a few items printed out from the email (we pointed them to particular resources on the site) and the worksheet (uncompleted). Our feedback from this session was interesting as this was the first member of staff who had been given this approach. The feedback on the framework was very similar to the first two interviews, however they did have more to say about the online support. This was felt to be very fragmented, with case studies difficult to find, text too small and navigation (breadcrumbs) perceived to change at will making it difficult to navigate back. I have yet to analyse the answers to the framework in comparison to the those given in the first two meetings, however as Director of Quality Improvement the feedback was on raising their awareness of how systems & processes are perceived and understood. They also noted that as an experience it was better to use the interview approach rather than either workshops or trying to fill it in on their own.

Monday, 27 June 2011

Reflections of a second experience

After reflecting further on our first interview, and on the time commitment needed from staff in completing the framework, we have completed the second interview on the XCRI-CAP SAF based on the format of the first interview. This ensured we captured first impressions of the framework. The interview was with the Director of Academic Policy and Development, who had more of an overview of XCRI rather than the working knowledge of our Director of Information Services. By doing it this way we managed to make the framework feel very informal, and open discussions around the questions to more in-depth thought than the framework may of originally intended.
The feedback we got from our Director of APD was very similar to that given by the Director of IS. Could this be a sign of things to come? Rather than repeat that feedback I have added the further feedback we got during this interview.
  • Question one for institutional strategic policy assumes you have a course marketing policy
  • Some questions felt like they were more about perception - and would depend on your position as to how they were answered. (This reflects on the question I asked at the end of process, do you feel you should complete this as a group or individual - see below)
  • Definition of terms would be useful - what someone might consider authoritative might not be for someone else in the institution
General feeling was the value of finding out if the university was red/amber/green was immaterial as the business case would/should out weigh the effort involved in getting ready to support /actually doing the work involved for XCRI-CAP.

Monday, 13 June 2011

First Interview Complete

Today we had our first interview for the Self Assessment XCRI (AKA SAX) project. This is where we assess the Self Assessment for XCRI form for its usefulness in finding out how prepared the university is for implementing XCRI-CAP. It can also be used to help devise an implementation plan for those who choose to.

Our first guinea pig was the Director of Information Services, he was chosen as he already had a working knowledge of XCRI and had been involved in previous XCRI work at the university so would be familiar with the terminology and what state we are in if we wished to move towards implementing XCRI at the university. Our first step was to complete the form offline - as the first stage interviews where organised at short notice we decided to go through the questions with the Director of IS so we could discuss the questions, how appropriate they where and how relevant they were from the start. We printed out the excel spreadsheets (each stage was on a different page) and a 'key' sheet with the different dropdowns. I kept the questions and the Director of IS was given the 'key' sheet and was asked looking at answer set A with regards to this question... This method took approx 45mins to complete the four sections, with discussion.

The feedback we got was as follows:
  • Questions with 'and/or' in them where difficult to answer i.e. we have a CMS system but in the process of buying a DMS - a 'Don't know' would have been useful.
  • Previous involvement in XCRI work at the university meant that the results of the questions was not a surprise and did not take anything into account that hadn't already been considered.
  • Some questions assumed a high level of commitment already to moving down the XCRI path
  • XCRI drivers felt at this level to come from above, without which there often is little motivation to moving towards some of the work mentioned in the form. It would be useful to have these drivers acknowledged in the form rather than have them assumed.
  • Under Planning The Output question 3 mentions 'all of the proposed sources' it was felt you would need a policy in place which would implement this before you could be brave enough to say yes to this - and even then it would be difficult to say yes without a lot of investigation.
  • Management Implementation had a number of queries; Question 4 seemed to be very context specific with XCRI implementation, where it was felt it would be just as useful to ask if processes changes had been highlighted to manage course information (which could then lead to being used for an XCRI implementation). Q9 was felt not to be very meaningful and Q10 needed to include the option 'a combination of in house experts and outsourcing'
For our next set of interviews we will be asking those completing the form to compete it before we meet, with the form as an Excel Spreadsheet and with some links to the XCRI knowledge base ( This way we can focus on the value of the assessment form rather than the answers to the questions.