Reviews of the WVN

In 1999, the United Kingdom Education and Research Networking Association (UKERNA), now JANET(UK), was commissioned by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) and the Further Education Funding Council for Wales (FEFCW), now the Welsh Assembly Government’s Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS), to undertake a detailed study covering the use and potential uses of videoconferencing across the Higher and Further education sectors in Wales ( Welsh Video Network ).

UKERNA recommended the establishment of a Welsh Video Network (WVN) and during 2000 the WVN service was commissioned by the Funding Councils supported by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF).

Since 2000, there have been three independent studies of the WVN, 'Review of the Video Services Network' (2005), 'Welsh Video Network Looking to the Future' (2007), and ‘The Future of the Welsh Video Network Support Centre’ (2009).
 


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‘The Future of the Welsh Video Network Support Centre’ (2009)

In February 2009, OldBell3, in association with Dateb and Enid O’Shea, was selected by HEFCW and DCELLS to undertake a study to investigate the impact, strengths and weaknesses of the WVN Support Centre, recommend whether a service should continue to be provided and recommend models for future service provision, if appropriate.  The consultants used a combination of desk-based research, document review and fieldwork to reach twelve recommendations, which were published in their report.  The final report was completed and presented to the funding bodies in June 2009.

The key recommendations for the Network were:

DCELLS and HEFCW should make a commitment to providing on-going core funding for the WVN Support Centre for the next three years, with an option to extend for a further two years

DCELLS and HEFCW should work with the PSBA’s Benefits Realisation Team to bring the WVN Support Centre under the auspices of the PSBA as soon as practicable

DCELLS and HEFCW should work with the PSBA team, the WVN Support Centre and Local Authorities to assess the resource implications of extending the service currently provided to HEIs and FEIs to all schools in order to come up with an indicative three year ‘core funding’ allocation for the WVN Support Centre

The WVN Support Centre should be charged with advising institutions on the most appropriate videoconferencing solutions for them

The report ‘The Future of the Welsh Video Network Support Centre’( Old Bell Report ) is available for download in Adobe® Acrobat® pdf format by clicking on the name of the report.


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'Welsh Video Network Looking to the Future' (2007)

In December 2006 the National Foundation for Education Research (NFER) was commissioned to prepare a report based on up-to-date data collected from further and higher education institutions in Wales about the current and potential future use of videoconferencing.  This research was commissioned by UKERNA, at the request of HEFCW and the Department for Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DELLS)* of the Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).  NFER delivered its report early in 2007.

NFER used face-to-face interviews and focus groups to collect data, along with an email survey.

NFER draw a number of conclusions, including that:

The studio equipment should be updated, with the studios being retained and additional functionality being added

Videoconferencing was beginning to develop as a means of providing courses through the medium of Welsh

The role of the WVN Support Centre was central to the smooth running of videoconferencing in Wales

The work of the teaching and learning advisors, although at an early stage, was having an impact by raising its profile and developing staff capacity

The use of videoconferencing was developing where senior managers were committed to its development

The report ' WVN Final Report 2007 ’ is available for download in Adobe® Acrobat® pdf format by clicking on the name of the report.


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'Review of the Video Services Network' (2005)

At the beginning of 2005, five years after the commissioning of the WVN project, HEFCW and Education and Learning Wales (ELWa)* commissioned NFER to carry out an independent evaluative review of the WVN. In May 2005, NFER delivered its final report to the Funding Councils.

NFER convened focus groups and carried out face-to-face interviews and e-mail surveys to gather the views of representatives from the Higher and Further education sectors throughout Wales. In its report, NFER identified the key benefits of the WVN and also the main factors that led to the current usage pattern.

NFER concluded that:

The WVN facilitated meetings very effectively and had the potential to impact further on teaching and learning

The use of WVN has confirmed the anticipated demand for the technology

The compatibility of all its studios underpinned the success of the WVN

The move to IP videoconferencing would continue to offer cost savings for institutions

The establishment of a WVN Support Centre managed by UKERNA had been crucial in ensuring the robustness of the network

The report, ‘ WVS Final Report 05 ’ (PDF review), is available for download in Adobe® Acrobat® pdf format by clicking on the name of the report.


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* Now the Welsh Assembly Government's Department for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills (DCELLS)