Approaching Talis Aspire Reading Lists deployment in a structured and organised manner, and having the right people involved with a clear view of the strategy are key ingredients to success. University of Essex brought all of these parts to the table as they geared up to roll out their reading lists service with Talis.
Once the implementation stage is complete, customers generally purchase a 5 day consultancy package, which includes a 2 day on-site training. On day one, I generally help the staff and some early adopters get to grips with the Talis Aspire Reading Lists system. Day two is often dedicated to the administration aspects and thinking about strategies.
During the 6-8 weeks post implementation process, I worked closely with Alex O’Neill, from the Learning Technology Team – ISS. A combination of her systems background and project management skills were key to the success of this project. She drove a very clear strategy to approach two key academic departments first. Once they were set up and running quickly, she incrementally involved more. The library also moved fast to upgrade any systems to ensure best possible experience for their users.
We started by integrating with their classic catalogue from Innovative. Shortly after it was decided their users are more familiar with Encore, so we enabled that too. We setup a new recogniser, tailoring any rules, and working closely with Alex to test and refine. Now users can bookmark from either systems.
Setting up the hierarchy is another big part of the Talis Aspire Reading Lists. This is a key component for providing students with a seamless experience when they access their reading lists. Their Moodle implementation takes a feed of the data from the Student Registry system. So it was decided to pull from the same data set, so that it reflects the same information as the VLE.
The Talis Aspire Reading Lists rollout at the University of Essex was a well organised project. Alex was a pleasure to work with. She also challenged us from time to time on some of the things they wanted integrated. When I asked her about her experience, she said (thank you for the kind words, Alex!):
“I never thought a software setup could be so simple! Excellent service at all times, we really felt well looked after and came out with a good product at the end of it. It also gave us a chance to think at all times about how we were going to roll this out to our staff. Thank you very much for your excellent support and guidance.”
I returned from their on-site training days having learned as much as I shared. We look forward to seeing the impact of the new reading lists service rolled out to the University of Essex students in the coming academic year.