The DLS team got together last Tuesday for the annual team day. This time we thought it would be good to spend the day away from everything digital and to try something new to all, so we decided to have a go at pottery and started the day early in Peckham, at The Kiln Rooms – a wonderful open access ceramics studio based at Peckham Levels.
The staff at The Kiln Rooms were incredible – great artists, teachers and people too – and they helped us quickly get from a handful of clay to not so perfect but still functional pots.
Catering was provided by Wildflower Cafe – super yummy and a must go, especially if you are vegetarian/vegan!
Process.arts, was a grass roots web2.0 open educational environment for sharing day-to-day arts practice and research of UAL staff, students and wider communities of practice. Developed in 2012 the platform straddled the institution/educational (formal learning) environment and the social (informal learning) environment by creating an ‘experimental’ space for open educational practitioners to develop and define a new language for open edu-social practice without conforming or being influenced by pre-existing academic structures and processes.
Now, several years on, we have decided to retire the platform. It is now provided as an archive to the rich and varied content that was contributed over the years but is no longer running as a dynamic and interactive site. The decision to archive this platform was partly based on the fact that it needed a major upgrade that would have required a lot of redevelopment of the custom features. The platform also wasn’t fully meeting users requirements for collaboration with external partners, and evolving practices across UAL in working openly and flexibly beyond the boarders of UAL.
Rather than try to rebuild Process Arts, the Digital Learning team are now considering leading a discovery project to work with interested parties to examine the many ways across UAL in which staff and students are engaging in open practice and how the digital can best support these ways of working.
Moodle, MyBlogs and Workflow were first introduced over 6 years ago. In that time we have not removed any content or student accounts. We have now reached a point where the amount of content accumulated on each platform is causing a number of issues that we need to address.
The sheer amount of content is now putting pressure on the performance of our platforms and particularly with Workflow, growth in the amount content is at constant risk of exceeding our capacity to provide sufficient storage space.
One of the core principles of New General Data Protection and Retention rules is that personal information should not be kept beyond the life of its original purpose. We need to ensure that we are not retaining personal data on our platforms beyond its intended purpose.
Alongside these needs to manage the amount of content on each of our platforms we do recognise that there are some teaching contexts content and resources are collated and used iteratively and progressively by both staff and students supporting numerous communities of practice, many of which continue to exist beyond a student’s study at UAL. The Digital Learning Services team will work with course teams to look at how such teaching resources might be supported over the longer term.
Principles for managing data in our DL Platforms
Over the past few months the Digital learning Services team have been working with colleagues from Assessment and Quality, IT Services, and Records Management to agree the following core principles that will inform our approach to managing student accounts and associated content in Moodle, MyBlog, and Workflow.
Digital Learning platforms only need to hold onto content for assessment/exam board purposes. QL/SITs holds long term and definitive data on grades.
A student account and all associated content will remain on the DL platform for the duration of the student life-cycle. (i.e. from offer acceptance through to exit from UAL).
Student accounts and associated content will be removed to an archive facility 150 days after the user’s course end date as per use of email facilities specified within IT Regulations.
A student account and any content associated with that account will be deleted from the Digital Learning Archive after 1 year following a student’s exit from the University.
Students will be formally advised to export their content / work from a DL Platform prior to their exit from UAL.
There may be some teaching scenarios where there is a requirement to keep student generated content beyond the life-cycle of the student at UAL, for example, as exemplars and resources to be used with other students, or where students have collaborated with an open, or on-going project. Where explicit consent has been obtained, content will be retained in accordance with the terms that have been agreed with that user (if technically possible).
The Digital Team will work with the Legal team to review Terms and Conditions of use for each platform in light of new GDPR legislation.
What will happen next?
The next stage will be to work out processes for putting these principles into practice.
We will prioritise Workflow as this platform is the most demanding in terms of storage requirements.
The team in the Exchange will work with course teams to draft out various teaching scenarios for us to carry out tests of deleting content and accounts on our dev environments. This will enable us to assess the wider impact of deleting content and users from shared resources before we removing any content or accounts from the live envrionment.
We will design and develop workflows and procedures that enable us to remove and delete content and accounts whilst retaining the integrity of that platform within identified, and specific teaching contexts.
Here you will find information to keep you up to date with the work we are doing to develop and maintain the digital learning platforms. Use the Categories and Tags on the right hand side to navigate the information and check out the Platform Enhancements page to see the more minor improvements made.
We welcome your thoughts and feedback – on areas we do well, as well as the things you want us to do better. You can leave comments on each blog post, or click the link at the top of the page to leave feedback.