Making the most of JISC outputs & outcomes

A rich quantity of information, guidance, advice and resources are available from previous JISC funded projects and publications.

JISC projects and services aim to create and provide material that is applicable for use by the wider sector. However, there are issues associated with this aim, which will affect teams in institutions who are trying to affect change in order to build capacity. In part these surround the ability of a project’s outputs to be re-used in another context; projects in the Building Capacity programme repeatedly found that it was rare to discover a “ready made” artefact that could be used or re-purposed; rather learning, ideas and processes were likely to be the reusable outcomes.

How do I find what I need?

The starting points for a search of previous JISC outputs should be the JISC website. Using Google and adding ‘JISC’ to your search terms will also throw up a wealth of links to resources, and if you are not familiar with JISC and its structure then this may be more fruitful.

The JISC Advance Services, such as JISC infoNet have series of online guidance with links to relevant outputs, and dependent on the nature of your query may be an excellent place to start since some of the review needed may already have been done.

The Higher Education Academy’s EvidenceNet is a further useful collation of resources, and allows them to be searched by discipline, and pedagogic theme, many of which relate to institutional aims, such as those surrounding student engagement or assessment and feedback.

How do I make best use of what I find?

The following tips have been a collected from the portfolio of projects funded through the Building Capacity Programme:

    1. Decide which institutional strategic aim you are addressing.
    2. Ensure buy-in from senior management for seeking to address the particular institutional strategic aim. This may require you to provide evidence of institutional need, which in turn should indicate the types of JISC resources and information you will require to help address the strategic issue.
    3. Initially, develop a picture (mind map, list) covering broad to specific issues in relation to the strategic aim or Iinstitutional priority you are considering.
    4. Use the map as a framework in which to categorise and store potential outputs, information and resources; that way even if something does not seem immediately relevant it is still stored in case the parameters of the project change.
    5. Do a brief initial review and read around the subject – sometimes a resource may have been used in another context but may be directly transferable to be applied to your institution’s issue; compare relevance and utility against clarity and quality of the available outputs to help you to assess which are likely to be worth following up.

“It was an extremely worthwhile process… we got a solution that wasn’t even on our roadmap yet it already appears to be having a big impact and we’ll be using it for years to come.” (University of Bradford)

    1. Your review of the literature should aim to synthesise previous outputs and outcomes rather than collect them, as things may need to be collated in order to be applied to your context.
    2. Seek out previously written guidance, briefing, study or survey documentation surrounding your issue, as these may lead to shortcuts to resources of relevance.
    3. Undertake a targeted review of the resources you think will be most applicable in your context
    4. When you find a project that may have relevant resources, contact the people involved, this has been proven to help in understanding how to re-contextualise a project’s outputs; sharing experiences may result in unexpected and useful outcomes.

“Projects we have spoken to have been very helpful in sharing their experience” (University of Bedford)

“Use events networks and other opportunities for contact with project teams to augment the information collated… For many projects the relevance was enhanced by the commentary provided in interim reports.., blog posts” (University of Cardiff)

  1. Be clear and focused about the types of materials / resources / outputs you are looking for, and concentrate on a limited range of key resources. Additional resources can be added to the core set as the development progresses.

Other useful resources

Some of the Building capacity projects produced publicly available literature reviews; their results may be applicable to your context: