Friday, 23 May 2008

Nadine and Louise

Two very helpful conversations, one face-to-face with Nadine, one by telephone with Louise. Both gave us great tips for developing and embedding the resource, and we're very well-positioned to move on with the project. One thing that both emphasised was the embedding of the resource in the new Faculty structure, where there will be five semi-autonomous units that will need to engage with the resource. It would further this end to have on our "envelope team" (which I was calling the "core team" in other documents today) representatives from each Faculty - these can be gathered from (1) personal invitations onto the project, and (2) the general trawl for interested parties in advance of June 24th. It would also be good, says Louise, to talk to the Faculty PVCs this autumn, advertising the resource, saying how their Faculty would benefit, and how (hopefully) someone from their end has already been involved.

Nadine was very persuasive about the need to respect disciplinary thinking, and to design a resource that anyone can use. Her point was that people like us were lateral thinkers, happy to make connections between different academic spheres and disciplines; but users of the resource might be much more discipline-focused, and wanting the relevance to them highlighted and double-underscored. We might in time want to develop tutor-facing guides tailored to different disciplines, even if the differences between them are largely cosmetic. Along with this subtlety in emphasis, we should also offer a variety of navigational structures around the resource, providing different ways in to the same things. Finally, Nadine suggested factoring in some re-design time, or at least an extended design process from January 09 onwards. LeTS projects need to have plenty of time set aside because they're complex and professional products, and it's worth thinking that through when you talk about responding to how users are engaging with a resource, and ways in which it could be made better. All very good advice, and that, coupled with a productive writing session this morning and a helpful green light from Louise on certain key issues, has made it an extremely positive day.

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