The Jisc Kit-Catalogue Pilot

6 Nov

The Centre for Engineering and Design Education, Loughborough University, is working with the Jisc to pilot the use of Kit-Catalogue in 10 other UK HEIs.

The pilot will take place over a two year period (Aug’14 – Jul’16) with ten institutions. We will explore if Kit-Catalogue can:

  • Make it easier for institutions to achieve efficiency savings through sharing facilities
  • Deliver demonstrable progress against the Research Council UK’s (RCUK) strategic goals in this area
  • Stimulate and facilitate new collaborations, both within HE and with industry.

We will also:

Together, these databases now include details of over 10,000 items of high value equipment being shared with research and industry.

For more information please visit our project page: http://www.kit-catalogue.com/projectpages/community/jisc-pilot/

Paper given at the 19th Annual INSPIRE – International conference for Process Improvement, Research and Education

30 Apr

I recently presented a paper at the international conference for Process Improvement, Research and Education in Southampton.  This annual event was organised by the British Computing Society in conjunction with the software quality group and the e-learning special interest group.  The paper outlines why there is currently an urgent need for innovation in the way that educational technology is evaluated in terms of evidencing the impact that it has on education, the organisation itself, as well as the staff and student users of the technology.

My slides can be seen here on slideshare.

 

Next year I will be a Co-Chair for the conference and it will be held here at Loughborough, in CEDE in the Keith Green Building.  I shall be encouraging contributions from as many learning technology staff as possible!

Kit-Catalogue project to provide an annual subscription package

15 Jul

At the request of many organisations, we can now provide hosting as part of the annual Kit-Catalogue Project Subscription package.  A year’s subscription will provide the following benefits:

  • A hosted Kit-Catalogue installation at http://kc-your-organisation.lboro.ac.uk. (Your local IT Services can help you get a more localised domain name for it, e.g. http://equipment.your-domain.ac.uk.)
  • The same hosting infrastructure as our own equipment.lboro.ac.uk.
  • Best efforts at 24/7 up time – as with all universities, there are regularly scheduled JANET/network maintenance downtimes, but these are usually out of office hours and will be communicated in advance.
  • Support from the Kit-Catalogue team via the email kit-catalogue@lboro.ac.uk.
  • Secure nightly back-ups of all your data.
  • HTTPS SSL encryption for signed-in users.
  • Seamless upgrades. As Kit-Catalogue updates are released, we’ll check with you to find a convenient time to upgrade your own catalogue.
  • If required, connections to your local Active Directory authentication.

For more information on prices, please visit our website. http://kit-catalogue.lboro.ac.uk/project/projectpages/subscription.php

If we are already hosting your catalogue, you will need to sign up as a subscriber, so please get in touch with us at info@kit-catalogue.ac.uk.

A Kit-Catalogue case study for the latest efficiency report to BIS

20 May

Making the Best Better – UK Research and Innovation, More efficient and effective for the global economy

A new sector report has just been published for the Department of Business, Innovation and Skills (BIS), Making The Best Better.  It has been produced by Sarah Jackson and contains contributions of effective practice from across the sector and we are extremely proud that Kit-Catalogue has been included as a detailed case study.

It reports on efficiencies in the research base and contains a number of strong case studies, which are already being used by colleagues within BIS as part of the evidence base to highlight the good practice across the sector.

Key highlights include:

  • The evidence collected for this report shows a strong, ten-year track record of institutions delivering both operational and productive efficiencies, which is improving research and teaching. This strong link between driving efficiencies and improving student experience and better research is increasing investment in skills, knowledge and human capital in the economy.
  • Capital budgets are being utilised more effectively, primarily through creating clusters of excellence and sharing equipment. This is delivering better kit, new science and better equipment and expertise for business.
  • The increased effectiveness of the system is delivering both greater outputs for science and research, and also greater impact in the global marketplace: generating new knowledge, leveraging private investment in R&D and increasing the quality of human capital in the economy.

Download the full report from here.

Kit-Catalogue Version 2 now released

24 Apr

We’re pleased to announce the release of Kit-Catalogue v2.0.1.  Thanks to all those that have contributed ideas and suggestions to this latest version, and to those that made the trip to our User Group meeting last week and made many more suggestions there.  We’ll be posting more information on the outcomes from that meeting soon.  You can download the new release here:

http://kit-catalogue.lboro.ac.uk/project/software/latest/

IF INSTALLING – Please setup your web server, unzip the software, and follow the installation wizard by browsing to http://<your-site>/install/

IF UPGRADING – The database needs upgrading in this version, and there are some other major changes, so please browse to http://<your-site>/install/  and follow the upgrade wizard carefully.  The wizard contains some detailed notes on how things have changed in the Kit-Catalogue, but the main things to watch out for are:

* MySQL Access : By default, Kit-Catalogue now uses the MySQLi PHP extension for database access, although you can revert to using the older and soon to be deprecated Mysql extension by changing your config.

* Organisational Tree Structure : Kit-Catalogue now supports a hierarchical organisational tree structure, where you can model your institution’s organisational units.  Your existing Organisation and Department entries will have been updated to this new format, but you may want to edit the tree and adapt it to your institution’s needs.  While you work on your tree, you can temporarily revert back to the old organisations and departments by changing your config.

The tree structure brings some added benefits and will be the basis for new features for the “departmental admin” roles, and longer term we’ll be removing the old organisations and departments, so please do make the switch to the tree structure when you can.

Other major improvements in this version include:

* New menu options available (disabled by default).
* New item editor roles, and finer controls on editing permissions.
* New inventory report builder.
* Improved import wizard – supports all fields, and can cope with missing columns, or in any order.
* Improvements to the public API.
* Support for adding a data licence to your catalogue.

There are new configuration options available for some of these additions, so please check  app/config.php  for any options you wish to add and/or override in your  local/local_config.php file.

You can read more in the  docs/changes.txt  file, or online at:
http://kit-catalogue.lboro.ac.uk/project/software/downloads/v2.0.0/changes.txt

We’re working on updating the user manual and hope to have the new additions documented soon.

Kit-Catalogue short-listed for a THE Award

26 Sep

The 2012 Times Higher Education awards short-lists, released two weeks ago, revealed some fantastic news for all of us involved in the Kit-CatalogueTM project here at Loughborough University.

The project has been short listed in the ‘Outstanding ICT initiative for the year’ category which is awarded to a project that has demonstrated ‘an innovative, strategic and potentially far-reaching use of ICT in support of the goals of that institution’.

Read more on Loughborough’s official press release here.

Version V1.1.1 of Kit-Catalogue System now released

14 Sep

A new release is now available, Kit-Catalogue v1.1.1.  It is available for download from the usual link.
http://kit-catalogue.lboro.ac.uk/project/software/latest/

If you’ve already installed v1.1.0, then you need only unzip the new download and overwrite your existing installation.  If you haven’t installed yet, or are yet to upgrade from v0.9.8 or below, please read the rest of the information in this email.

IF INSTALLING – Please setup your web server, unzip the software, and follow the installation wizard by browsing to http://<your-site>/install/

IF UPGRADING – The database needs upgrading in this version, so please browse to http://<your-site>/install/  and follow the upgrade wizard.

Major improvements in this version include:

• Improved the search results – hits in key fields (e.g. title, manufacturer, etc) are ranked higher than those in other fields (e.g. category or custodian name).
• Added a log of who updated what item, and when.
• Added new item fields.
• Added public API (disabled by default).
• Added new enquiry form options.

There are new configuration options available for some of these additions, so please check  app/config.php  for any options you wish to add and/or override in your  local/local_config.php file.

You can read more in the  docs/changes.txt  file, or online at:
http://kit-catalogue.lboro.ac.uk/project/software/downloads/v1.1.1/changes.txt

Now v1.1.1 is released, we’ll be working on updating the user manual to take into account the new features.

As usual, thanks for all your feedback and suggestions, and a big thank you to everyone who contributed to our recent User Group meeting.  It was a very informative and productive day, and has really helped flesh out the roadmap of developments for the coming months.  For those who couldn’t make it, we’ll be circulating information from the event soon.