JISC’s plans for the coming year, include the investment of some £80m in capital spending over the next two years to support UK education and research. The plans include an £11.5m programme to support elearning strategies.
The funds, awarded by HEFCE, will significantly enhance the UK’s digital infrastructure and bring a wide range of benefits to the higher education and research sectors. Among the plans for the next two years announced by JISC include:
Repositories – a £14m programme to establish a network of digital repositories; national structures to develop the Information Environment supporting repositories, including cross-searching facilities across federated repositories; matching funding to support institutions in developing a critical mass of content; establishment of a national support service for the development of repositories.
Network – almost £28m of extra funding to support the transition to the next-generation SuperJANET5 network; further development of the UK’s optical network for research communities – UKLight – and its integration into SuperJANET5.Digitisation – a further £6m investment in the digitisation of important scholarly resources; in collaboration with partners, the development of national digitisation and e-content strategies.
Elearning – an £11.5m programme to support, with the Higher Education Academy, the implementation of national e-learning strategies, including the establishing of a national e-learning advisory centre for the HE community; projects to explore the potential of e-learning, particularly electronic portfolios, electronic assessment; and personal learning environments, with a focus on their use to support lifelong learning.
Electronic research – a further £10m to continue development of the national e-infrastructure in support of the research community and of the DTi’s ‘Science and Innovation Investment Framework 2004 -2014’ and to ensure the UK's position in the forefront of world research.
User Environments – a £6.75m investment in the development of User Environments to support researchers in globally distributed research teams in all disciplines; the integration of personal environments, social software, and mobile and wireless technologies to provide a more coherent and personalised information environment; the exploration of new and emerging technologies to ease the administrative and management burdens of those engaged in teaching and research.
JISC also launched a new publication on Learning Spaces, which offers advice to senior managers in colleges and universities on new thinking in the design of technology-rich learning spaces.