Monthly Archives: July 2010

Post from Kate Chadwick, Joint PG Lead for Radiotherapy – Experiences so far

As a pilot for the T-SPARC project, myself and my colleague Clair Brackstone have been implementing some of the new technologies in the approval process for our proposed MSc in Radiotherapy.  We used a flip camera to record a meeting with clinical Radiotherapy colleagues from across the Midlands to document their views on which proposed modules would be viable, what content they would like to see in the modules and any areas we haven’t covered which could become new modules.  We gave the clinical staff members the opportunity to refuse to be videoed but no-one did.  We did experience some teething problems, such as our suboptimal placement of the camera due to our concerns over the sound quality, but we found that we could place the camera at the opposite end of the room and still capture voices in good enough quality to be heard once transferred to the computer.

We have also found the free website Survey Monkey to be an invaluable tool to collect similar information from our clinical colleagues nationwide and this has given a far better response rate than the back-up paper copies we also distributed.  This website also has the facility to analyse data (for a small fee) which will drastically reduce the time we will spend converting the information into a more useable format.

Currently we are in the process of sending a VOXUR unit out to our local clinical departments to gain feedback from radiographers so watch this space for an update on their usefulness…!

Kate Chadwick

Co-Authoring of Blogs with Pilot Course Teams

We recently discussed the idea of publishing a monthly e-bulletin to notify pilot course teams on progress and project updates. After giving it some consideration, we realised that the e-bulletin would probably contain similar, if not identical information to that which is published on the blog. We then had a eureka moment and thought, why not co-author the blog with relevant stakeholder that wish to collaborate (instead of notify) with us through regular blog contributions? This approach would be more closely related to our philosophy on stakeholder engagement (a copy of the table can be found here) and would allow stakeholders to collaborate in an open forum, as a partners of the the project.

The first stakeholders that came to mind were the course teams that are piloting the T-SPARC approval methods and technologies. As the MSc Radiotherapy team have been very enthusiastic to engage with all aspects of the project, I approached the Joint PG Lead for Radiotherapy, Kate Chadwick, who was keen to work with us and contribute towards the T-SPARC blog. After a brief conversation, Kate agreed that this collaborative work would be something she would be keen to engage with and offered to author a blog post on her experiences so far (which will follow this post).

This innovative approach will add a new dimension to the T-SPARC blog and will hopefully give blog readers, as well as the project team, a better insight into the workings of the project and updates on progress from independent stakeholders perspectives. Other pilot course teams will also be approached in the coming weeks and given the same opportunities to collaborate with the project team on the blog.

Comments welcomed.


Update on T-SPARCs VOXUR Unit Data Protection Act Statement

Data Protection Act 1998

The Project Team sought guidance from the Information Manager and his Deputy on writing a customised Data Protection Policy for use with the recently purchased VOXUR Units. After a discussion last week, the Information team have authored a bespoke policy that the team are extremely happy with. It captures the essence of what the project is trying to achieve through its stakeholder engagement activities, in a concise and comprehensible statement. After some discussion, we decided that a fairly generic approach to the statement would be beneficial, allowing us to re-purpose the statement for additional use with the Flip video cameras:

I, the user and stakeholder consent to my video contribution being used for the purpose of developing educational provision at Birmingham City University, subject to the statement below:

The University appreciates the input of respondents as stakeholders, who will thereby have enhanced opportunities for influencing the development of educational provision; video footage will be treated as the stakeholder’s personal data as defined in the Data Protection Act 1998. The Act demands that such personal data will be held securely, solely for the purpose described above, and disposed of in a timely fashion (the University does, however, reserve the right to re-visit this data over a reasonably lengthy period as part of the exercise). The University may also share your video data with various other educational institutions (e.g. universities, Further Education institutions and JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee) so as to maximise the effect of your valued input.

The T-SPARC Project continues to become increasingly stakeholder focussed and we feel that the new Data Protection Policy emphasises this recurrent theme of the project.

One of the areas in which we wanted to emphasise clarity in was the ability to re-visit data in the future, ensuring we (the University) have the option to re analyse / evaluate video data collected during these exercises at a later date if deemed appropriate. This objective was satisfied as the statement gives the institution consent to re-visit the video data over a reasonably lengthy period of time, and the option to share video data with various other educational institutions (e.g. universities, Further Education institutions and JISC (the Joint Information Systems Committee).

We have been assured the Information Team that this data protection statement falls well within the defined boundaries of the Data Protection Act 1998.

So… Next step………………………… Lets get recording!


Student Services, Accessibility and VOXUR units

The project team had a meeting with Student Services this afternoon to discuss criteria for usage of the VOXUR units. It was suggested that researching student induction processes (and induction as an ongoing process) has some close synergies with curriculum design – an area that the team will be keen to persue in the future. After a demonstration of the VOXUR units, Student Services are entheusiastic about engaging with the project team and could see some massive advantages and uses for the VOXUR units that we had not fully envisaged.

  • Students with hearing difficulties – the use of sign language on VOXURs
  • Students with dyslexia
  • Students with visual impairments

After discussing the usages of VOXURs, Student Services offered us some useful pointers on accessibility and how they can input into projects such as T-SPARC. Some of the main points listed below:

  • Include a ‘resource pack’ on disability and module / course design in T-SPARCs One-Stop-Shop that is in the process of being designed.
  • Could we use ‘German Film’ to produce some tactile work-flow diagrams for use by visually impaired stakeholders?
  • General advice on accessibility and the DDA (Disability Discrimination Act)

All in all, a very interesting afternoon that has raised some serious points, and generated some interesting solutions that we will certainly be using, and discussing in more detail in the future.


VOXUR units and the Data Protection Act

This morning, the Project Team headed off for a meeting with the Information Manager and his Deputy to discuss the Data Protection Act (1998), and how we might interpret it whilst writing a bespoke Data Protection Policy for use with the recently purchased VOXUR units. The meeting highlighted some very interesting points, and also pitfalls.

  • Will a ‘one size fits all’ approach be appropriate, or will different groups of stakeholders require different policies?
  • How long will we be storing the video footage for?
  • What purposes may it be useful to use the data for in the future?
  • How will footage be moderated, and by whom?
  • Will staff moderate their own footage, and who would (if anyone) moderate this?
  • Will users (who set the questions and analyse the data) have to sign any documentation to inform them that they cannot edit the footage?

The more we discussed it, the more questions it seemed to raise, and the more solutions we had to generate. The Information Manager is now in the process of authoring a bespoke Data Protection Policy especially for the T-SPARC team to use in conjunction with the VOXUR units.

We are also hoping to re purpose the material that they produce for use with the Flip video cameras and SONY audio recorders. This will most likely take the form of a consent form / disclaimer.

Please leave comments / advice below if you’ve had any experience of writing Data Protection Policies for use with video recording equipment. Did you overlook anything in the early stages of development that you could warn us about?