Bedfordshire County Council is thought to be the first Local Authority to deploy an integrated extranet to manage its adult learning resources. The extranet will provide the Council’s Adult & Community Learning (ACL) Service’s part-time, Visiting Lecturers with direct access to most of the information they will require to carry out their roles.
It will help the Council optimise education delivery by immediately equipping over 500 tutors and staff with the ability to update course and skills information in real time, by interfacing with the Learn Direct Classification System (LDCS) and the Council’s Active Terms course database.
Initially the project was conceived as a “simple” extranet - to allow direct communication between the central ACL Service and the Visiting Lecturers, most of whom have other employment and only work an evening or two each week. However, David Fraser, Head of Lifelong Learning for Bedfordshire County Council, with direct input from public sector web specialists Nemisys Enterprises, saw the short- and long-term potential of further integrating the extranet with the comprehensive hierarchical system of the LDCS.
David Fraser explained:
“Every Visiting Lecturer has a unique array of skills – many of which are likely to be extremely specialised. Allowing access to the LDCS via our extranet will equip individual trainers and lecturers with the ability to update their particular skill sets directly into Bedfordshire County Council’s system. This will provide us with an accurate portfolio of our county’s training potential and help us plan for the future.”
With such precise profiling, Bedfordshire County Council’s Lifelong Learning Group will be able to efficiently provide and evolve its educational offerings with the confidence that it is fully aware of its skills and capabilities. By pin-pointing individuals’ specific skills, via the LDCS, the Council will also be able to target its Visiting Lecturers, currently totaling 500, with person-specific information and news, further enhancing communication between deliverers and those who manage the service.
Additionally, the system will be integrated with Active Terms course management system – a system which has been adopted by a number of other authorities across the country - to provide potential students with web-based course information.
Dr Mark Smith, Chief Executive of Nemisys Enterprises, added:
“Integration with Active Terms will allow course trainers and managers to add and modify information on courses instantaneously, so that candidates can view important developments, such as new courses, accreditation information and CPD updates.”
Bedfordshire County Council’s David Fraser added:
“We are confident that our forward thinking approach will help us plan and deliver a better service for the county.”
The extranet system has been developed by Nemisys to map directly onto the LDCS and Active Terms system to accommodate expansion and provide a cost-effective foundation for future development.
The project is part of Bedfordshire County Council’s ‘Spark’ project and will go live at the end of October.
Notes for Editors
Spark (learning to fire your imagination) is the new name for Bedfordshire County Council’s Adult and Community Learning Service, which aims to work with local communities to provide and promote a range of high quality learning opportunities for adults that support family, employment and community roles; promote equality of opportunity; and enable adults to share in the joy of learning for its own sake.
Nemisys Enterprises (www.nemisys.uk.com) is a new media and marketing consultancy which specialises in large internet projects. The company has a varied client base comprising charities, government departments and commercial organisations. Clients include the Mental Health Foundation, Connexions, Winston’s Wish, Hewlett-Packard, Department for Environment Food and Rural Affairs, British Paralympic Association, Bedfordshire County Council, and the National Evaluation of the Children’s Fund.
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