Thoughts on Shared Services Meeting November 2010

It started out about privacy, but ended up about sharing.

In terms of BCcampus events, the Friday, November 5 date was initially scheduled for the FIPPA (Freedom of Information and Privacy Act) event to explore the impact of FIPPA on educational technologies such as Learning Management Systems (LMS), media and other hosting. Unfortunately for those working diligently to organize this requested event, it ultimately was postponed due to provincial guidelines that are still emerging. The postponement of the FIPPA event though was opportune timing to schedule a shared services meeting in its place, particularly so as it fell on the heels of the ETUG Fall Workshop.

There wasn’t a lot of time to organize the shared services event. The last BCcampus sponsored shared services meeting was in May, 2009 though, so a follow up meeting was overdue with many important issues for the agenda. A review of the current institutional educational technology usage and participation also suggested the need for a meeting and that a different format than past meetings might be appropriate. Rather than concurrent discussions of the individual shared services, we thought that many institutional representatives might be interested in several shared service options and so scheduled the discussions serially throughout the day.

Even with a short time frame and rushed organization of the shared service meeting, the turnout was great with representatives from most post-secondary institutions as well as other organizations such as the Commonwealth of Learning. Interest in developing a broad framework and business model for shared services, participating in existing and new shared services, and evolving and improving shared services was apparent with ensuing discussion. Broader support for user communities was also discussed, and follow up meetings for individual shared services were suggested and will be scheduled. A wiki for shared services was created for those attending the meeting to continue the forum and access relevant resources. And a proactive leadership role in which BCcampus shares leadership with institutions for shared service initiatives was discussed.

All in all, a good meeting to continue the conversation on shared service initiatives. Next meeting – Fall, 2011 associated with the Fall ETUG event once again.