OUCS has undergone the largest restructuring in 20 years, has revised priorities which are reflected in the new Mission Statement, has a new departmental structure representing its new areas of focus, and enjoys improved connections and interactions with the University.
After re-focusing, refining its mission, and setting new priorities, OUCS has embarked upon defining its future vision. The forthcoming issues, challenges, and anticipated technical, legal, research, teaching and learning changes have been discussed in this document.
OUCS recognises that the services it provides are part of an overall ICT provision for the University. It is committed fully to working closely with support staff in the departments and colleges, and with other University ICT providers (Oxford University Library Services, Management Information Systems, Institute for the Advancement of University Learning, Telecommunications, Department for Continuing Education and the Director of Distance and Online Learning) to produce an optimal ICT service for users. OUCS understands that there will be an increasing need for Quality of Service to the user to be defined by the University ICT providers, but appreciates the complexity of the implementation challenge.
In developing its future vision, OUCS must maintain a dual focus. It must continue to improve and develop its ‘user directed’ services, whilst in parallel, it must facilitate ‘technology transfer’ of new services, ensuring effective and timely application of leading-edge technologies in the support of teaching, learning and research. Services must be operated to maximise performance and quality across the University, while being as cost effective as possible. Furthermore, OUCS must provide, in close collaboration with IT support staff across the University, and with other University ICT service providers, a full, connected and effective IT support infrastructure.
OUCS will continue to build key strategic partnerships with centres of IT-related activity in the University, focusing in particular on the implementation of University-wide facilities. The underpinning of e-Science through the Grid, and the concomitant security challenges (digital certificates, authentication, authorisation, registration) are foreseen as a key future challenges for the department. Greater standardisation (in solutions and standards for interchange) will be necessary in the administrative systems which support the University's teaching and research. A key area of expansion and focus will be ‘Open Standards’ and ‘Open Source Software’, as these will provide the ‘glue’ that interconnects the loosely coupled IT services across the University.
OUCS will pilot and develop, in cooperation with other service providers within the University where appropriate, new technical solutions for data curation, wireless and mobile computing, IPV6 and convergence of data and voice, and for the new VLE, MLE and portal services. The Learning Technology Group, as the main e-learning centre in the University, will play an increasingly important rôle in teaching and learning across the University, in developing education best practice, and in ICT training.