Snook are part of an exciting new project at the University of Bolton. Since connecting with @myderbi and @dwrgi we have been hoping an opportunity for us to collaborate would arise.

The JISC Relationship Management Programme projects run for eighteen months from March 2011. These projects are focused on improving the student experience in two areas:

The audience will be university staff from various adminstrative departments, such as alumni, student services/support, IT, business, research etc rather than teaching staff.  They are being asked to use service design techniques to help in two areas:

* Student retention, progression and completion – i.e. if a student is at risk of not completing the course, how do we know?  What can we do to monitor the situation and how can we help?  Of course, there will be some occasions when a student does have to leave their course, but we need to try and help those who are struggling, feeling disenfranchised or unhappy with the university processes, etc.  Some of the projects will be looking at IT interventions to help in this area – but they need to find out where the problems are first.

* Alumni – How can a university make the best use of it’s alumni and what services can it provide to them?  Suggestions include alumni mentoring schemes to help undergrads, entrepreneurial advice and guidance, systems to give discounts to past students who wish to undertake another course at the same institution, ensuring engagement (via social networking software?) with the institution, etc.  Some of the projects will be IT based and will focus on the social networking aspects, others will be less IT heavy.

In both cases, the majority (bar one or two projects who were also involved in last year’s Relationship Management projects – including Jean Mutton at Derby Uni) will have had no experience of service design or even what it is.

Derby have produced a basic guide to service design – this has been a helpful way to provide a basic introduction to service design to their team .

I will be delivering a half day introduction to Service Design, mentoring the projects teams and giving feedback on project deliverables.

I can’t wait to get started!