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The Joint Information Services Committee (JISC) – A UK Success Story

In many ways the JISC is a real UK success story in the field of Information and Communication Technologies (ICT). Its remit is to support the innovative use of ICT in further and higher education (and more recently the Adult and Community Learning sector). It funds the SuperJANET network which provides secure and reliable broadband connectivity, making e Learning possible throughout the UK. The JISC makes available the largest national educational online collection of resources in the world (including 250,000 images, more than 5,000 journals titles, newsreels, videos, sound, national mapping data and satellite imagery, and much more). It funds a range of support and advice services which serve the sectors in all aspects of the provision of ICT. Furthermore, central to the government’s intention to see a coherent e Learning strategy for all sectors, the JISC is in a unique position to facilitate all aspects of e-Education.

In this edition I will highlight just some of the services initiated and supported by the JISC to illustrate how the UK is currently achieving successful outcomes in the field of Information and Learning Technology (ILT) -

1. JISCMAIL is a mailing list sponsored by the JISC. It provides opportunities for real time peer-to-peer discussion and collaboration as well as an archive service where you can search to see if anyone has previously posted the same issue. JISCMAIL hosts thousands of lists on a wide range of different subjects. To check out JISCMAIL and join a list go to www.jiscmail.ac.uk. There is an active Blackboard User Group list, which, like all lists, is only enriched by a wide user base – so join it now if you are not already a member.

2. The JISC TechDis service is for everyone interested in the issues of inclusion
and accessibility – and that should be all of us. TechDis aims to improve provision for disabled staff and students in the further, higher and specialist education sectors through technology. If you haven’t done so already check out the advice and resources available on the TechDis website.

3. JISCinfoNet provides a range of services covering key topics relating to planning and implementing information systems. The main resource is a series of ‘infokits’, a set of online resources which have been designed to provide help to staff in the further and higher education sectors involved in the planning and implementation of any information system. The cycle covered by Infokits is illustrated below:-

JiscInfoNet

Infokits which are currently available include:-

Project Management
Records Management
Creating a Managed Learning Environment

In addition to the infokits, JISCInfonet organises regional workshops on topics such as Project Management and Freedom of Information. To see if any events are being planned in your area visit the events page.

4. JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service

‘A sophisticated system to detect cheats is being considered by 140 universities, including Oxford and Cambridge, as new research reveals that more than 90,000 students regularly plagiarise essays.’

This was the opening sentence in an article entitled ‘Universities go to war on cheats’ in the Observer (20th June, 2004). The service being referred to here has been developed by the JISC Plagiarism Advisory Service based at the University of Northumbria in Newcastle. It works by checking students’ work against 8.5 billion web pages and is automatically updated with every journal, abstract and newspaper articles printed.

For a fuller description of these and many more services visit the JISC website
www.jisc.ac.uk

 

Author: Cathy Ellis

29 June 2004

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