Tag Archives: The New Ladok

Students Envisioning the Future of University Studies – Paper presented at the Frontiers in Education Conference 2016

This paper that was presented last week at Frontiers in Education reports on a study addressing how students can be included as critical stakeholders in the systems and services provided by a university. We view this as an element of institutional democracy, and investigate how insights from the computing disciplines can inform this discussion.

The paper can be found here. 

I still remember how I had planned quite a wild didactic  idea about making the students act their future scenarios in a role play for each other. I was in charge of the student group, and worked together with my PhD student Thomas Lind on this. I was not sure about how the students would like this approach to presenting their visions, and I had had little time to prepare it. On my way to the vision seminar sessions the very morning of the role play my car broke down completely. I needed to call Thomas Lind,t  and say that unfortunately I would not show up. So I left him with the quite role play idea , and he was completely unprepared. Good thing he is excellent at improvising, and he made the best out of the situation. 🙂

When the paper was presented by Thomas Lind it was especially appreciated that the students were involved in the work, and that they were collaborative partners when the visions of the future were developed. There were other groups of users too, such as study administrators and study administrators.

The paper is written collaboratively by a whole group of people:

  • Thomas Lind, Åsa Cajander, Bengt Sandblad & Mats Daniels from Uppsala University
  • Marta Lárusdóttir from Reykjavik University
  • Roger McDermott from The Robert Gordon University
  • Tony Clear from Auckland University of Technology

In order to address the whole student experience we engaged students and employees at a large Swedish university in a vision seminar process to elicit how these groups envisioned an ideal future version of the university, and the necessary changes to technology and organisational structures required to achieve this ideal version.

The vision seminar process entailed six four-hour workshops with four groups consisting of six participants each. A survey instrument was used to follow up on the participants’ experiences of participating in the vision seminar process and their thoughts on the future of the university.

The results from the survey show that the participating students had a more positive view of the future in comparison to the university employees. The students envisioned systems to be harmonized at an interdepartmental level, as well as a seamless integration of a variety of services into one technical solution provided by the university.

For university employees the future work was viewed as being very flexible, made possible by information systems capable of providing excellent support whilst not hindering pedagogical and organisational development.

Finally we discuss the broader implications of these differing visions on the future of university education, and how such a visioning process may be successfully adopted in other institutions.

The New Ladok System will Reshape the IT Landscape at Swedish Universities

The magazine Ergo had an article on our work with the establishment of a new study administrative system at Uppsala University. The Health Technology and Organisations research group collaborate with the university administration and we have further developed our vision seminar method in this project which has resulted in a submitted application by Thomas Lind and will soon be the core of his PhD thesis work. We have also launched a usability coaching program, since our experiences are very positive when it comes to the effects of such a program.

My research group has a long tradition of doing action research, and we collaborate closely with different organisations. Action research has one goal to improve society in one way or the other, and one goal to spread knowledge about the change. Previously we have had projects together with the county council of Uppsala and a large number of government organisations such as CSN, Skatteverket, Försäkringskassan and Migrationsverket.

The New Ladok is the ICT system which is the heart of university study administration. And replacing it is like a difficult piece of heart surgery that requires skilled professionals and careful planning. The system will be introduced at 39 universities in Sweden. At Uppsala University the system will be introduced in 2018, and it will affect about 45 000 people in the roles of course administrator, teachers, director of studies, program managers, counselors, all our students and graduate students.

During the fall we will do a study where we investigate the existing digital work environment of study administrators. The study is run by Gerolf Nauwerck, and as a part of it we will look at and compare the existing methods for organisations to incorporate work with digital work environment in their routines.

We will also do a pilot at the Department of Information Technology regarding development of processes and procedures for study administration. These will work together with the common goal which has been developed in the vision seminars. The idea is that the department of information technology’s pilot work will serve as a support for other departments in the transition to the New Ladok system.
You find the Ergo article here