The Progression of Cloud Computing
in Further Education Colleges
Section 4.4
Employment / Business-Focused Applications in...
Detailed outcomes from Individual Projects
4.4 Employment/Business-Focused Applications in the Cloud
Needs and Opportuniti...
Outcomes
Similarities
There is less similarity between the experiences of these projects as they are addressing
different ...
Barking and
Dagenham College:
Google supplied and
hosted apps in the
cloud. Development
and consultancy
supplied by Damson...
Barking and Dagenham College: 2 e-Learning Apprentices worked in classes and in the staffroom
to support the roll-out of G...
e-portfolio.
Teacher Education assessors are using dual systems along with access to Moodle VLE.
Care assessors who are le...
Telford College of Arts and Technology:
“The private school we currently provide IT support to do not currently have a VLE...
With thanks to all project partners who contributed to the
development of this report and consultant Chris West

The Assoc...
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Section 4.4 employment business focused applications in the cloud

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Section 4.4 employment business focused applications in the cloud

  1. 1. The Progression of Cloud Computing in Further Education Colleges Section 4.4 Employment / Business-Focused Applications in the Cloud A study based on Cloud Technology projects managed by the Association of Colleges and funded by the Skills Funding Agency - 2012 - 2013 November 2013
  2. 2. Detailed outcomes from Individual Projects 4.4 Employment/Business-Focused Applications in the Cloud Needs and Opportunities Effective employer engagement by Colleges demands appropriate IT support systems. Employer engagement covers a wide range of activity including traineeships, apprenticeships, learning companies, enterprise academies and full cost delivery of tailor-made training and consultancy. Work-based learning requires seamless communication, assessment, recording and reporting across the workplace and College elements of programmes. There is a need for collaborative management and learning between all parties involved. There are challenges in providing flexible access to information and learning for learners in the workplace. Cloud computing has the potential to enable these challenges to be overcome. At the same time, cloud computing can support work-based learners wherever they are – on the move, at home, at work or in College. Another form of employer engagement is to enable small business to access College software tools and expertise at low cost. A further aspect is the use of cloud-based CRM to record and report employer engagement. The Projects Bolton College: This project involves the use of Chromebooks and a range of Google applications by work-based assessors, in a variety of ways, to support their learners. This includes direct access to proprietary cloud-based e-portfolios, access to College VLE (Moodle) and tracking progress and assessment and attainment via Google Docs templates. This project will be evaluated finally in November 2013. Work-based assessors from business and IT, construction, hair, beauty, care and teacher education have been provided with 3G-enabled Google Chromebook computers which use Google’s cloud-based operating system. The assessors are using the Chromebooks to access email, e-portfolios, Moodle VLE and Google Apps for education documents hosted in the cloud while attending and between work placement visits. The Training Services department are also using Google Docs to track and monitor work-placed visits. Barking and Dagenham College: This project has focussed on the use of Google Apps and docs in embedded learning primarily in eILPs. This approach is being used in learning across the College and specifically includes use of Google Apps by the College’s enterprise learners, being those who wish to set up their own businesses. Telford College of Arts and Technology: This project was developed due to the College’s observation of local businesses not being aware of what open source software could offer them for far less money. It involves a website which allows the use of open source software by local businesses backed up by technical staff who offer expertise in the configuration and use of this software. Gloucestershire College: Details of this project are given in the Student and other Stakeholders Relationship Management in the Cloud section of this report. It includes plans to embed Employer Engagement CRM activity in the new integrated website/CRM system. 1
  3. 3. Outcomes Similarities There is less similarity between the experiences of these projects as they are addressing different aspects of employer engagement. There is a common aim in using the cloud to provide good quality services to employers. Bolton College used it in the management of work-based learning, Barking and Dagenham College through Enterprise Projects and Telford College through business software and other IT support services. Both Colleges report significant impact on the provision of more flexible services to learners, staff and employers. Both Bolton College and Barking and Dagenham College report significant savings in both equipment and staff time. Both Bolton College and Barking and Dagenham College are using Google Apps and Google Docs via Chromebooks and netbooks to make applications available outside and within their Colleges. Both have had fairly straightforward project management experiences and have been quick to achieve a wide and impressive range of user benefits. Both experienced some telecommunications challenges which impacted to a degree on continuity of service. Differences Item Developement team Bolton In-house team Barking and Dagenham Google Partner + in-house, including apprentices Connectivity 3G problems at remote locations Discontinuity in JANET services Functionality Some problems with Google N/A functionality to handle certain types of document , such as merged cells. The Telford College project is significantly different as it uses a private cloud to support the use of Open Source Software in small businesses. Delivery Models Bolton College: Google supplied and hosted apps in the cloud accessed by Chromebooks. 2
  4. 4. Barking and Dagenham College: Google supplied and hosted apps in the cloud. Development and consultancy supplied by Damson Consulting, a Google Education Partner. Telford College of Arts and Technology: Cloud-hosted website. Supplier Relationships Bolton College: Some problems were encountered with 3G access at certain work-based locations. 3G connectivity via tablet devices is not yet on a par with mobile phone reception and some areas still have limited/poor reception. Google’s inability to convert documents which include merged cells impacted on the project. The Google Drive offline trial has identified potential issues regarding digital signature validation. Barking and Dagenham College: There were good working relationships with Damson Consulting. Connection via JANET to the internet was lost for around 14 hours and this made access to Google Apps not possible via the College internal network. Telford College of Arts and Technology: “We have liaised with respected FE consultants, Judges Consulting and AGM trading, to help advise on the suitability of e-learning software that could be pre-packaged and made available for our app store for the wider education community”. Project and Change Management Bolton College: The project has over-run original timelines due to a number of unforeseen issues, namely an internal audit which delayed the start of the project and the time it takes to ‘Googlefy’ existing Microsoft Word documents. This area was only identified after much frustration at Google’s inability to convert documents which include merged cells (something which almost all tracking and review documents contained). In addition there were problems with 3G connectivity for the Chromebooks and the knock-on effect this had on digital signatures, as an off-line version of Google Docs which was looked into. This did not provide evidence of different users accessing the system and “signing” the documentation. Achievements include: Chromebooks being provided to 20 work-based assessors 6 iPad minis distributed to work-based assessors as part of a Chromebook comparison trial Conversion of existing learner review documentation for 40 qualifications into Google Doc format 3
  5. 5. Barking and Dagenham College: 2 e-Learning Apprentices worked in classes and in the staffroom to support the roll-out of Google Apps, including the use of 16 Chromebooks and 60 netbooks. An augmented framework for BDC-customised administrative management for the effective delivery of the Google Apps (OBI 1 project) is now tested and working as planned and includes: automatically onboarding and off boarding of staff and student accounts which includes welcome and data migration emails integration with Google Cloud storage for easy search ability of alumni students’ past work Moodle integration the visual management tool called Flash Panel, a free service for managing Google Apps researching the roll-out to mobile devices for BYOD The area for developing teaching, learning and assessment (Transforming Learning) is now using Google Apps (Google Sites) to promote, deliver and record good practice etc. The Enterprise Zone is now using Google Apps to promote, share and manage projects. Telford College of Arts and Technology: Technical development proceeded smoothly. The main challenge has been business community engagement. The following activities were achieved: A website has been created to promote and offer the services Multiple software titles have been pre-packaged and made available to the app store working partnerships have been created to assist with any training requirements Liaised with Shropshire Chamber of Commerce and Enterprise to promote the services Worked with respected FE consultants to aid delivery of VLEs. Impact Bolton College: The Training Services department now see the real tangible benefits Google Apps can provide to their work. After an initial sceptical reaction the team have fully bought in to the cultural changes which are required in order to implement this much-improved system of tracking. In fact they believe the use of Google Docs will be so beneficial that they have already started talking to franchise partners about them adopting it too. One curriculum area has already adopted a cloud-based e-portfolio following the trial during the project. Business and IT assessors are using the Chromebooks and 3G to access existing e-portfolio systems in the work place and utilise this with their learners. Construction and Hairdressing assessors were using an electronic and paper-based version of existing documentation in tandem to assess the benefits and advantages of using the cloud-based system with both Chromebooks and iPad minis. Hairdressing assessors have now adopted the use of an e-portfolio which was initially expected to work with the iPad alone; however, this is now being used in tandem with the Chromebook due to the limitations of the iPad app for the 4
  6. 6. e-portfolio. Teacher Education assessors are using dual systems along with access to Moodle VLE. Care assessors who are less computer literate are currently using the Chromebooks and, having started to use the Google Docs, are expected to fully adopt its use from September 2013. Barking and Dagenham College: The Enterprise Zone is now using Google Apps to manage their projects including Google+. 10 Enterprise (real world) projects were successfully delivered. Telford College of Arts and Technology: The project has delivered its intended outputs by being able to offer open-source, pre-packaged applications via a website and the project outputs correspond with these detailed within the project. The College continues to promote and make software packages available via our app store during and after 2013. The College has successfully tendered and won three IT support contracts for: A private school A local community centre A local parish council Savings Bolton College: Savings will provided at a later date. Anticipated: “Staff time – streamlined, smarter working practices will reduce the amount of staff time required per candidate. Reduced visits – saving on travel time, travel expenses and reduced carbon footprint. Green process – paper-light documentation will reduce paper costs, printing and the need for physical storage requirements.” Barking and Dagenham College: This applies to the whole College use of Google. “To match what we have with Google we need to purchase the following at an estimated cost of: Video streaming and management (£5000) Image bank (£1000) Video conferencing (£2000) Document storage (£10,000) Websites (e-portfolios) (£5000) Mail with calendars with SMS notifications (£5000) Project management tools (£1000) Admin control and portal (£500) Blogging (£500) Financials (£1000)” 5
  7. 7. Telford College of Arts and Technology: “The private school we currently provide IT support to do not currently have a VLE and do not have the funds to purchase a server to host the service. We are currently negotiating a hosted service which negates the need for costly server(s) and can offer support for the software, whilst offering very competitive rates for training.” Sustainability and Expected Longer Term Impact Bolton College: The Training Services department now see the real tangible benefits Google Apps can provide to their work. After an initial sceptical reaction the team are fully bought in to the cultural changes which are required in order to implement this much-improved system of tracking. In fact they believe the use of Google Docs will be so beneficial that they have already started talking to franchise partners about them adopting it too. One curriculum area has already adopted a cloud-based e-portfolio following the trial during the project. Replicablity for the Wider FE Sector Bolton College: The Google templates which were created will be made available and the process which we went through to move to a cloud-based solution were shared during a presentation at the JISC NW RSC conference. Barking and Dagenham College: The College will develop a Google+ community and promote and share its sites for enterprise templates to the community. It has presented its whole College use of Google Apps to a range of conferences. 6
  8. 8. With thanks to all project partners who contributed to the development of this report and consultant Chris West The Association of Colleges 2013 2-5 Stedham Place, London, WC1A 1HU Tel: 020 7034 9900 Fax: 020 7034 9955 Email: projects@aoc.co.uk website: www.aoc.co.uk

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