George Dafoulas: Middlesex University

Interview with George Dafoulas, Middlesex University

Most satisfying aspect of the project?

It gave us an amazing opportunity to talk to people who we haven’t been talking to in the past.  I’m an academic so I’ve been involved in various aspects of course design and curriculum development but it gave us, especially from stage one, the opportunity to talk to people from marketing, our learning strategist, executive from Registrar’s, every single part of the university that might be involved with course data. 

What has been the biggest benefit of running the project for your institution?

It gave the opportunity from our perspective, because we’ve been involved with several Jisc projects in the past, because we’ve developed several applications, using XCRI-CAP and course data.  It gave the opportunity for various parts and services and other departments of the organisation to see what there was already there and also to identify the possible applications and benefits of utilising course data in a way that we didn’t do before. 

What’s going to happen in the institution post March 2013?

We are, at the moment, in discussions of using some of the applications for things like validation procedures, career service, possibly some marketing aspects as well so we would really like to see some of our outputs to be utilised.  And hopefully to disseminate further what we have already achieved.

What’s been the biggest challenge with the project?

The biggest challenge for the project was initially to find a way of getting the important people together to talk to each other at stage one.  Once we managed to deal with the teething problems, the challenging aspect was to deal with the long term it takes to introduce change and issues such as setting up the cool uri website, being able to collect course data in the form that we want.  Some technical aspects as well.

Has there been a Pandora’s Box effect?

We knew from the beginning, we knew what we were expecting to come across so, in a sense yes, we’re going through a process of debating whether this is in line with the KIS initiative, finding out how much time we can get from certain people to help us with the application for our tools, it’s an ongoing situation but we can survive. 

What’s been the most interesting innovation in the project?

Our project is the MUSKET project, I know people cannot see but we’re all about muskets and musketeers…!  The main innovation of our project was that we did not just create an XCRI-CAP feed but we can generate XCRI-CAP feeds from a Word document apart from the website or the various systems, so in a sense we used the Jisc resources provided to us to create an application actually a set of applications that can be used virtually by any university in the country.  So hopefully our sustainability is to the highest level.