Is austerity in Higher Education driving my decisions towards google?

An alternative title for this post might be, “Ok, lets check Google first”

As budgets are tightened and software licenses are re-visited we are facing some interesting challenges to provide services such as lecture capture in a robust, sustainable and scaleable manner. This is a particular challenge given my view of piloting a tool to pilot the education benefit. Therefore, it is not simply developing a business case for a School or Institutional roll out for only a few people, while we still need to develop wider buy-in for the service. A good example for this is lecture capture. Yes, there are many examples of the benefits of recording lectures. However, within UCS we haven’t those experiences to draw upon to help steer the effective use in Teaching and Learning. These local experiences would help break down incorrect perceptions from staff around the educational benefits of the innovation.

Given budgets are tightening the scope for exploring innovative opportunities becomes more difficult. However, an interesting observation is within this current climate I am tending to automatically look to Google in the first instance. For instance, an issue with licenses has caused the removal of a number of screen capture tools on institutional machines. So when approached by a lecturer around the wish for lecture capture, our first strategy was to look for a Google solution. Very pleasingly, they offer a wonderful solution of Hangouts On Air.

This brings some challenges in terms of managing the content, managing access, supporting staff, and the much broader issue around the role of internal and externally provided services. These will need to be picked up. However, an interesting observation in how we are starting to react … lets check Google first.

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