Investigative assignments

As part of its Foundation phase, the Digital Transformation programme team is exploring a series of potential changes that Oxford could introduce in the future. Investigative assignment teams (comprising a small number of colleagues and some external consultants, where needed) are analysing less well-understood ideas to recommend how the University could go about developing and implementing new solutions in the near future.  

During Hilary term 2023, each investigative team is engaging with colleagues in divisions and departments (as well as colleges and functions) to make sure their investigation work accurately reflects the richness and complexities of everyday work and life at Oxford. This is an opportunity for all colleagues across Oxford to provide their input and help shape the digital future of Oxford. If you are interested in providing your input, please email us and we will point you to the relevant colleagues: 

Progressing the Digital Education strategy

Assignment name and IdeaScale (SSO Required)  Context of investigation What is being investigated? For more information contact 
Online Course Partnership and Platform  Several local teams have been driving online courses to support a wider group of individuals taking part in Oxford's education community Possible platforms for online courses and the appropriate business model for a new platform Jeremy Welch
Course Information Ecosystem review Staff and students continue to highlight the issue of consistent access to course information across the University

The current systems for timetabling and other course related information in use across the University and how the pain points of the current systems can be addressed. Student requirements and benefits for a centralised system 

Austine Kho
Assessment End-to-End Process Review  Current assessment processes are inefficient and mostly conducted manually. The continued growth in student numbers and rising assessment case work could jeopardise the integrity of assessment   Oxford's end to end assessment process (marking, evaluating, feedback and appeals). The existing limitations and their impact across the university  Cat McKay
Student Lifecycle and Outreach  There is a growing call to effectively manage and record Oxford's engagement with students across the entire student lifecycle from prospective students through to post graduate Possible solutions for the effective management of student outreach for the entire student lifecycle Jenny Lister

Improving the Research environment

Assignment name  Context of investigation What is being investigated? For further information contact 
Research Data Storage An externally commissioned report recommended that the governance of Research data management (RDM) should be coordinated across Oxford The wide range of RDM solutions in use across Oxford, the data stored in them, their cost and any future requirements  Rowan Wilson
Next Stage Research Computing Research computing is computing capability that cannot be reasonably provided by desktop and laptop computers due to scale or complexity of the data involved  Research computing needs across the whole University, followed by investigation into 'the art of the possible' relating to data centres and research network capabilities Brian Marsden
Trusted Research Environment
(Phase 1)
Trusted research environments are a secure space for researchers to hold sensitive data  How Oxford can create the trusted research environment, what is currently available, how to get started and best practice for the trusted research environment  Brian Marsden
Critical infrastructure and security 
Assignment name Context of investigation What is being investigated? For further information contact
Mobility: Device Mgmt. and Support It is widely recognised that there is a need to improve information security, user mobility and collaboration across the University as we work towards creating a secure hybrid work ecosystem  Proof of concept and feasibility of a centrally provided virtual device management platform  Sam Rendell 
Identity Management  Throughout the University there are challenges when managing internal and external relationships and identities The complexities of business processes for different identities across the University. How simplification will support identity management transformation project  Brendan Donnelly
Review IT and Environmental Sustainability A growing concern around the impact of IT on environmental sustainability and how the impact is monitored has been raised at the University The IT environmental impact model developed by the IT Services and the appropriate process for use of the model  Austine Kho
Future-proof Wi-Fi (5G) Users across the University experience performance and access issues with the University's current Wi-Fi network   If 5G is a suitable Wi-Fi carrier for Oxford and the feasibility of a private 5G network across the University  Roger Coombes
University Information & Data management
Assignment name Context of investigation What is being investigated? For further information contact
CRM - Internal Communications Across the University various CRM tools are used to communicate with staff, students and prospective students. The range of current systems is considered inadequate due to poor governance, functionality and monitoring abilities.  Detailed requirements and potential solutions for a single CRM system that meets the whole University's needs. Longer term trends for information dissemination outside of email Lindsey Booth 
Risk management The current IT risk management process used across Oxford is a potential liability because multiple processes, systems, manual interventions and alerts are used to manage risk. An appropriate risk management IT solution for the University  TBC
External Communications (Web publishing) Web publishing currently sits across Mosaic and Sharepoint but neither system is providing an acceptable or customisable public facing website   Internal work that has taken place on Oxford University Intranets and the possibility for future solutions  Eileen Cole
Affiliation data modelling There are currently multiple sources of organisational data leading to confused governance and low data quality How data about resources is linked to Oxford's organisational structure data. The use of data by key stakeholders both centrally and locally and what outputs could support this use. Potential changes that may be needed to redesign organisational structure data Israel Essein
Equality, Diversity and Inclusion (EDI) Data analysis EDI data is used across the University and there are increasing demands for consistency of data The current status of data needs and quality for the University to meet external compliance  Israel Essein
Oracle Financials to Cloud Assessment There is a need to improve the efficiencies of financial operations, processes and data management across the University to reduce over-processing, errors and the manual workload of staff  Oxford's current financial landscape including non-Oracle applications that could be moved onto an a Cloud platform and the level of transformation required to support a move to a Cloud platform Katherine Gardiner
Improving general user experience
Assignment name Context of investigation What is being investigated? For further information contact
Student Hub Feedback from users across the University has emphasised that it should be easier for users to find personalised information and services from a single source  The requirements for a student hub applications, and the 'off the shelf' options that are already in the market that will meet Oxford's requirements Jenny Lister
Approaches to Design (Usability)  We receive continued feedback from users that some systems do not have easy-to-use interfaces or a good user experience   Oxford's process behind user interface decisions and any immediate work to improve user experience  Heidi Hunt
Accessibility Review  There has been considerable feedback from stakeholders for the need to invest and improve organisational structures to better support digital accessibility Oxford's current capability around accessibility, compare our capability against similar HE institutions, and make recommendations on areas for improvement, including a structure for the future management of accessibility across the University. Nigel Emm
The hybrid workplace
Assignment name Context of investigation What is being investigated? For further information contact
Physical Teaching Spaces Oxford has been updating its physical teaching spaces locally to support hybrid teaching this was accelerated during the Covid pandemic  What updates (space/AV equipment) are required to ease the pain points of teaching and IT staff. A strategy that looks at planned stages of upgraded physical spaces across Oxford  Peter Haban
Space booking and utilisation  Space booking and the use of small work space, has been identified as an issue across the University, with a number of workarounds were used during the Covid pandemic The user requirements for space booking, assessment, and utilisation monitoring at Oxford Austine Kho


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