Bristol summer “school”–day 1

Bristol Sunny

Despite the glorious weather our first day got off to a bit of a slow start due to a range of travel disruptions. Nevertheless, it’s been an absolutely jam packed day with lots of interesting conversations and connections. After an introduction to what Jisc is and the student projects themselves, participants were asked to take part in a networking activity which recorded links between everyone in attendance.

To do this we used a tool developed as part of last year’s summer of student innovation: GraphDocs. It essentially creates nodes for each individual and project from which people can begin to build connections based upon a pre-defined set of interactions e.g. “spoke to” or “would like to collaborate with”. The image below provides a snapshot of the output but the tool also allows for statistical analysis. So you can begin to see who the social connectors are within the group, who might be on the fringes and require more support, or who else you should seek out based upon existing connections.


We then moved onto a World Café exercise where we allowed students time to explore different topic areas e.g. project management, institutional embedding, and technical. I was on the “project management” table and I must say Matt did an excellent job of trying to balance a wide range of queries from projects that were at very different stages of their life cycle. A couple of support needs arose from that session for me that we might be able to cover on day 2:

  • How a project might go about outsourcing if they have no technical expertise
  • How to run effective pilot programmes
  • Developing a clear project plan or work-breakdown structure
  • Web development
  • Defining your business model

At the end of the day projects were given the chance to meet their mentor who will work with them throughout the whole process. The role of the mentor is twofold: to provide support and guidance throughout the process providing the students with a sounding board; and to help each project realise its vision, or at least reach a major milestone on that journey.

I’m wary these posts are simple updates at this stage. Over the course of the three days I’ll be trying to think through what resources we have around that might be helpful to our student projects (and others) to try and smooth their journey.

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