Productive PRINCE2?

Dominic Tinley – A little PRINCE2
You can understand why the Civil Service likes PRINCE2. There are 45 separate processes each of which warrants several pages of description in the manual but only one of which actually involves producing anything. I wonder if the ratio of Civil Service efficiency is in fact somewhere around 1:45?

Quitting Google

UnGoogled: A Week of Discovering Alternatives For Google’s Services
The other day, when I came to know about Google Dashboard, I thought I’d check out just how much of my life is in Google’s servers. I was shocked with what I saw. I was practically living my life with Google. And the revelation set my brain in motion – that maybe… just maybe, I’d become a Googaholic. I started wondering whether I could survive being off Google’s services for an entire week. And thus started my week-long quest to look for free, functional alternatives to most things Google.

Texting in class, templates, HE admin, graduation

Professor Textblaster 
Many of Todd McCann’s students suffer from a chronic disease. Call it CRS: Can’t Remember Squat. Now they have no excuse. Mr. McCann, an English instructor at Bay College, in Michigan, is deploying students’ own favorite technology to burn away the memory fog. He blasts his classes text-message reminders using Broadtexter, a free software program used by bands to create mobile fan clubs. Rather than texting tour dates, he keeps the phones in students’ pockets buzzing with regular reminders like “Paper 4 is due tomorrow.”

50 time-saving Google Docs templates
Google Docs templates make life just that much easier by providing the bare skeleton of a specific document, spreadsheet or presentation – all you have to do is fill in the blank bits with your information.

What’s in a name? Nothing good, AUA members argue
There are three problems with the Association of University Administrators’ name. Some members are not sure about the “association” part; opinion is divided on the “university” element; and there are serious doubts about the term “administrators”. … For anyone who struggles with higher education’s litany of abbreviations and acronyms, the list of suggested alternatives may send a shiver down the spine. They include the Universities Professional Staff Association (Upsa); the Institute of Higher Education Managers and Administrators (Ihema); Higher Education Managers and Administrators (Hema); Managers and Administrators in Higher Education (MAHE); University Managers and Administrators (Uma); and Managers and Administrators in Universities and Higher Education (MAUHE). However, abbreviation-phobes can rest easy – a name change is unlikely.

York Minster not an option for graduation
The University of York has cited a diverse range of faiths among the student body as the main reason for graduation ceremonies to continue to be held in Central Hall, as opposed to York Minster. Much attention has been brought to the issue by the fact that York St. John University students hold their graduation ceremonies in the Minster, something that many University of York students view as unfair.

Feedback

Rosie Waterhouse: Save us from the tyranny of student surveys
Over the next three months, final-year undergraduates at British universities will be encouraged to take part in the National Student Survey commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council. The NSS is just one of an ever-increasing number of surveys and forums by which students are invited to give “feedback” on their university experience.

HE records, vagueness

Records Retention in HE Introduction
JISC infoNet is pleased to announce the launch of the new Business Classification Scheme (BCS) and Records Retention Schedule (RRS) for Higher Education Institutions. The 3rd iteration of this highly regarded resource is the result of extensive consultation within the sector plus significant additional research both undertaken for JISC infoNet by Emmerson Consulting.

Book of the week: Not Exactly: In Praise of Vagueness
In an increasingly complex digital world, it is tempting to get sucked into the precision – often a wholly spurious precision – that seems endemic to this culture. I recently caught myself doing it, despite my own distinctly analogue leanings. When asked for the time at a bus stop last week, I found myself replying “Seven forty-eight” – instead of the answer I would usually give: “Just after quarter to eight.” I put this momentary lapse of good taste down to early morning low blood sugar and the disabling effect of public transport, but it is a symptom of something much bigger – a subject that has captured the (not insubstantial) imagination of computer scientist Kees van Deemter.

Records management

Records management
Government has a duty to manage its paper and digital records effectively – to support ongoing business, and to preserve the record and memory of government. Government departments, and other organisations within the scope of the Public Records Act 1958, are responsible for selecting records to be permanently preserved and keeping them in proper conditions. The National Archives’ chief executive is responsible for co-ordinating and supervising the work of selection.

Records Management InfoKit
Records management is an established theory and methodology for ensuring the systematic management of all records and the information they contain throughout their lifecycle. The core concept underpinning records management theory is that of the lifecycle, which sees records having a series of phases from creation to final outcome ultimately resulting either in their controlled destruction or being retained on a permanent basis as an archival record. This infoKit is based around the well established concept of lifecycle management and how it should be specifically applied to the management of records.

Kinky fraud

University Registrar offered bogus degrees in return for spanking sessionsTimes Online
A university registrar offered bogus degrees in return for spanking sessions in a hotel, a court was told yesterday. Karl Woodgett, 37, former registrar at the University of Surrey and the University of Bath, already had a lucrative sideline selling degrees to African women when he came up with a way of satisfying his sexual desires at the same time.

Update – 18/01/2021

That link’s broken now, but I couldn’t resist finding another.

University registrar offered forged degrees to women if they let him for spank them for ‘pain research’Daily Mail
Karl Woodgett, 37, told two African women that he was working on a ‘pain management study’ before taking them to a hotel room where he filmed himself smacking and caning them. Woodgett, who was senior assistant registrar at the University of Bath, initially paid the women for their services in cash but later offered them fake university qualifications instead.

Mindfulness

Be Mindful is a campaign, by the Mental Health Foundation, raising awareness about the benefits of mindfulness
Mindfulness helps people change the way they think, feel and act. It helps them to break free from a downward spiral of negative thought and action, and make positive choices that support their wellbeing.

Data gov

Data.gov.uk versus Data.gov – Which wins?
Back in May last year, the US government launched Data.gov as a statement of transparency, and the Internet rejoiced. After the launch, excitement kind of fizzled with the actual Data.gov site. Then just a couple of weeks ago, Data.gov.uk launched, which brought me back to the US counterpart. How do the two compare? Here’s my take.

Computing’s pioneers

Computer pioneer interactive family tree
BBC News is running a series of articles about pioneering British computers and computer pioneers. To find out about the contribution British scientists made to early computer development and how they were linked, click on the project names below.

computings-pioneers-1

Disappointment, digital design

Why are you so terribly disappointing?SF Gate
What happened to my bonus? What happened to my job? What happened to my country? Why can’t it all go the way it’s supposed to go? You mean having a kid won’t solve my marriage problems? Why don’t these drugs make me feel better? Where’s that goddamn waiter with my salad? Have you seen the stupid weather today? Is this really all there is?

Making digital content on the mobile phone physically graspable – Infosthetics
The weight-shifting method allows a phone to communicate to users where to walk by dynamically changing its gravitational center along two axes. The shape-changing method is able to convey where more information is located outside of the screen by changing the thickness of a phone at its corners. And lastly, the ‘living’ method allows a mobile phone to display emotional states due to a continuous heartbeat and breathing-like motion that can be felt ambiently in your trouser pocket.