by Chris Scott
Falling University entries and top-up fees have contributed to a step-change in the operational environment for the HE sector. This change has resulted in an acute pressure on institutions to innovate for success. This presentation will explore some opportunities for institutions to capitalise on new and emerging Web technologies in response to such changes.
While there is much hype about web 2.0, there are some genuine opportunities for straightforward applications of Web 2.0 technologies in institutions that are low risk and low cost, and have potential for significant returns if they are introduced and managed correctly and the right people are involved.
While not a genuinely new technology, RSS and its content syndication and subscription model enable innovative applications, particularly for marketing functions in institutions. Podcasting and blogging, enabled in part by RSS, can form the basis for some low cost applications that, if deployed effectively, can have significant marketing benefits. The right and wrong ways of approaching such deployments will be reviewed.
Every HE institution provides the usual search interface to its courses, typically using an A-Z, subject area selector and school or department selector. The new bookmarking/tagging services, such as del.icio.us, provide platforms for a new class of more organic user interfaces to core HE content such as course information. The keys to success lie in empowering marketing staff to manage these interfaces in line with marketing initiatives.
by Michael Webb
Web 2.0 technologies are changing the way our staff and students (potential, current and past) relate to one another and our Universities. Embracing these technologies provides a great opportunity to enhance the University experience, but also presents a number of risks and challenges.
So how do Universities develop a strategic approach to embracing Web 2.0? These services have the potential to impact on a wide range of areas, including:
Information Technology (what services, if any, do we need to provide? How do we react to a constantly changing landscape? How do we manage security/acceptable use?)
Learning and Teaching (many children now start using Web 2.0 services at primary school - aren't students going to expect it at University? How do we make the most of these technologies to enhance the learning experience?)
Marketing (what shall we do if we can't control our Web presence? What do potential students expect?)
This talk explores these issues and the approach taken by the University of Wales, Newport, where Web 2.0 technologies are seen as an important part of the IT Strategy.
This session will show how putting quality measures in place can prevent getting a brief for a Web design job that reads "not blue, a bit random, and not too Scottish". Don't laugh, this actually happened! This hands on session will get participants thinking about how they can introduce quality assurance procedures within the web design process. It will cover establishing a 'quality loop', creating measurable standards and will introduce ways to enable clients to be better informed about what they want from their new Web site.
by Mark Lydon and Rob Bristow
Access Grid Node (AGN) is an exciting area of development in communication within the academic, research and commercial worlds. Using open standards to transmit video and audio using IP Multicast networking, it is a type of video collaboration that allows a rich and immediate means of communicating with remote sites, while also being able to share presentations, data, complex visualizations and video. AGN is a technology that scales; from a single user node running with a Webcam on a laptop, up to a lecture theatre with multiple cameras and projectors. It also scales from one-to-one conversations to multi-site meetings, seminars and conferences.
This session will be an opportunity to understand what is involved in setting up an Access Grid Node, what uses can be made of it, and to discuss some of the human interaction and pedagogical issues that arise from interacting via this medium.
Artificial Intelligence, once only the subject of geeky science fiction novels, has in recent years become a near reality. One of the defining moments in this move towards 'thinking computers' was when, in the footsteps of ELIZA and PARRY, ALICE, the world's first open source chatbot and winner of the prestigious Loebner Prize for AI, took centre stage.
A chatbot is a software program (or robot) which attempts to mimic the art of human conversation. It does this by use of AIML (Artificial Intelligence Markup Language) an XML-compliant language. Chat bots can be text or speech based and have human characteristics. They can provide us with a new and engaging way of communicating with your users, for example on an FAQ page. But what about the questions they raise and the issues they surface?
Can they make sites more accessible or do they break fundamental usability rules?
Do users like them, or find them irritating or even patronising?
Are they the next best thing or a 5 minute wonder?
Can they really benefit the education sector?
Can a chatbot ever really learn?
In this session these questions and more will be discussed in relation to Brian, the IWMW's chatbot.
The aim of this workshop is that by the end the participant will be able to answer the following five questions;
What is podcasting?
How do you create, distribute and subscribe to a podcast?
What is good practice in terms of designing and creating podcasts?
How might podcasts be effectively used in an educational context?
Where should people go for more information?
To place this workshop into a wider context, then two podcasting related observations can be made, firstly, over time more people are discussing the use of podcasting in education (Chan and Lee (2005), Lee (2005) and secondly the creation and subscription to podcasts continues to grow exponentially.
A key question is, as podcasting continues to grow in popularity what does it offer the educational community as a learning technology?
This workshop aims to overcome the initial hurdles of understanding what is a podcast, the processes involved in creating an appropriate podcast as part of a learning activity, and finding out where to go next in terms of more information. The workshop objective is that at the end of the session the participants are more knowledgeable and confident about what podcasting is so they can concentrate on the more challenging question of how to effectively employ them within the learning process.
In terms of practical skills then the participant would have completed all stages of the eLearning design and development process with respect to podcasts. They will have, identified different potential applications, thought about the strengths and weaknesses of the technology, designed an appropriate learning activity, scripted and recorded the podcast and uploaded to the web for distribution.
The workshop is designed as a collaborative experience, so the numerous tasks will be completed in small groups. Throughout the facilitators will be referring to current good practice and appropriate literature.
Synchronized Multimedia Integration Language (SMIL - pronounced "smile") is a W3C standard markup language that adds powerful multimedia and timing capabilities to basic layout and formatting. SMIL allows you to create sophisticated looking presentations without the need to purchase expensive or complicated software or develop expertise as a video or audio editor. See last year's IWMW presentation Customers, Suppliers, and the Need for Partnerships by Stephen Emmott for an example of a SMIL presentation.
In this session we will give an introduction to the SMIL standard and show how it can be used to create rich multimedia presentations. We will explore some of the problems and issues that arise when creating SMIL presentations, such as quality and copyright issues, and we will look briefly at some of the alternative technologies for creating time based presentations, comparing these to SMIL.
A PC lab is not available for this session but we intend to provide a number of laptops for hands-on use. If you have your own laptop that you could take along to the session then it would be very helpful to have a SMIL player such as Real Player (click on 'Download the free RealPlayer only), the free Audacity audio editing software and LAME encoder installed on it, as these will be used in the hands-on demonstration. If you have any questions about the session or installation of these programmes please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
by Phil Wilson
In December 2005 the Web Development team at the University of Bath set up a departmental wiki where they could keep track of information. This workshop explains the reasons for using a wiki, not just for education but for codifying knowledge and working practices in departments and how they can best be utilised so that it is used by everyone in the department, and how to stop it becoming an unmaintained silo of archaic data.
The discussion group will begin with an overview of the current repository landscape, looking at the different types of repositories, their use within education and the range of issues relating to repositories, including cultural, social, legal, technical and policy considerations. Current JISC work in this area will be highlighted, focussing on how this work will contribute to raising quality standards in repository development, through interoperability and the use of open standards.
Participants will work in groups and will be assigned roles for the following stakeholders:
students and researchers
librarians and information managers
department and institution managers
Web and IT managers
Groups will be asked to examine the issues raised from the various perspectives and to try and identify the barriers and possible solutions to the implementation and uptake of repositories. At the end of these discussions, each group will feedback their conclusions.
The session hopes to demonstrate the importance of communication between stakeholders for the successful implementation and use of repositories.
by Paul Trueman
Web services technology provides the opportunity to integrate applications and business functionality in to existing Web-enabled VLEs. A Web service exposes business functionality by both consuming and producing data in XML format. Future online learning environments may be fully developed and maintained using a Web services infrastructure. Web services solutions as yet still need to reach their full potential; particularly in the academic sector. In this session Paul will demonstrate potential uses of web services to support e-Learning and present guidelines on how to consider making best use of this emerging technology.
Many institutions have an interest in exploiting Web 2.0 technologies in order to provide richer networked services in areas such as teaching and learning, research or administration. However the enthusiasm which delegates may have after hearing about innovations taking place elsewhere often wains on returning to work and encountering a variety of barriers to the use of such technologies.
This workshop session will review the barriers which we may face and will outline a model and strategies which can be be used in order to address such barriers.
by Tim Matschak
Why should we write for the Web and how is it different from other ways of writing? And even if we know what to do, how can we implement this and persuade others? This workshop will review the principles of writing good web copy and compare them to other examples of writing. We will look at the role lay-out and audience play in this. Participants will be able to try their own hand at writing and reviewing text, and will be able to explore strategies of how to create good copy for their sites.
by John Gilbey
Universities undertake research through a mesh of partnerships, collaborations and contractual relationships. Major research funding bodies, such as government departments, are increasingly encouraging their contractors to adopt formal quality assurance standards - such as ISO 9001:2000. If you haven't come across this already, you are likely to see it very soon!
This talk discusses the impact of quality standards on the way Web resources - internal and external - are defined, delivered, managed and reviewed in academic environments. An over-view of the quality requirement is presented, along with some pragmatic suggestions to help you deal with it.
by kate forbes-pitt
This talk aims to problematise the document, asking the following questions: what is a document? How does it impart information to its reader? Can it be replicated on screen? It proposes answers using the arguments of Hughes and King (1993) who contend that the document is a layered social artifact that exists to 'wrap' content. This 'wrapping' provides the reader with the knowledge they need in order to apply social rules to their reading of the document, and so become able to interpret its content. Some information systems writers argue that the need for social knowledge in a task negates the possibility of its automation. Following the logic of this argument, delivering a document (a container of rule) through the existing set of social rules that govern Web interaction, means that the full function of the electronically reproduced document becomes masked or confused. At best this makes the role of the document superfluous to its content, making the content difficult to interpret. At worst it makes the content incomprehensible to the user. This raises a further question: what purpose is served by reproducing documents online? Following from the above arguments, it is possible to argue that 'pure' content, rather than the imitation of printed paper, is likely to be a more successful way of imparting information through the Web.
The Web is changing. It is no longer a phenomenon but has integrated itself within our culture. However for those creating Web services times are far from stable. A wide range of Web-based applications continue to be developed, such as blogs, wikis, podcasting, social networking software, RSS feeds etc. The Semantic Web is still on the cards and now we have Web 2.0, an opportunity for a more sharing, more participative Web? Is it just hype? Will these progressions make any difference to the way in which we go about our work? What does Web 2.0 mean to the Institutional Web?
This panel session will offers a number of different perspectives on the potential of Web 2.0 within learning activities - the library perspective, the commercial perspective and the HE/FE perspective.
Openness appears to be all the rage: open standards for interoperability, open source for software development and deployment, and open content for sharing knowledge. What brings these phenomena together is a commitment to openness. But how do colleges and universities engage with openness? And more particularly, what does it mean for institutional Web managers.
by Ranjit Sidhu
After discussions with various people in the education sector it became clear that there was a requirement for some industry wide statistics about Web site activity. These Sector Statistics have been collated by Nedstat and will provide organisations, specifically universities, with a means of benchmarking the performance of their Web site. Further information is available on the Sector Stats page.
by Paul Trueman and Chris Young
You may be new to a Web-role or you may be more experienced, with a set of useful skills. Either way, increasingly there is a need for recognised individual development and accreditation in order to progress in within your organisation and with your own career.
Alternatively you may be dealing daily with others who do not appear to have the skills they claim! This could be slowing down or reducing the overall quality of the service you are employed to provide. The process may be in place but if the staff required to keep it moving cannot demonstrate the required skill, who ends up doing all the work?. Would it benefit you to have accredited content providers to call apon?
This session will discuss the issues surrounding the topic of training and accreditation for all providers and developers of Web content and systems. It will provide an opportunity to appraise current programmes and inform the development of a set of recognised qualifications, designed to meet the needs of our community.
Is accreditation important?
Who recognises it?
What is currently available to people like you?
How, when and where is it delivered?
What key skills are required and by whom?
What might happen in the future?
There will also be the opportunity to contribute development of a set of recognised qualifications, designed to meet the needs of the community.
Institutional Web sites have become an increasingly important tool for disseminating key institutional information to and between staff, students, researchers and the general public. They are widely recognised as key front-office mechanisms for the communication of important information, but the long-term survival of Web site resources and data with non-transient or enduring value is often overridden by the short-term benefits of on-the-fly Web site management. As a result, even institutions with Web site archiving policies can find themselves falling victim to the so-called digital dark ages and fail to preserve valuable information.
This problem grows in significance when the Internet or intranet is the sole publications medium for institutional material or information. Drawing on our knowledge and experiences in archiving and digital curation, this workshop session will explore ways of addressing the challenge of website archiving at an institutional level. As preservation begins at source, the starting point for successful preservation and archiving of Web sites and Web-based resources is quality. The workshop session will therefore be in keeping with the overall theme of the workshop, that Quality Matters.
by Phil Wilson
How do people make use of the data you publish on the Web? If you publish a staff directory, how do people currently add contact details to their address books? Copy and paste has had its day, Microformats are a way of making the data you already publish not only useful, but re-usable and re-purposable for relatively little effort. This session considers how these data formats can help you solve specific data problems on your site.
by Donna Wilkinson and Duncan Davidson
Access to, and management of, University information, services and resources is key to providing a quality student experience at the University of Abertay. The University Portal provides one of the key interfaces for accessing this information and the vision for the University portal is to be the University Online. The Portal should provide logical, clear routes to these services and information resources. Users must be able to find relevant information and perform transactions without prior knowledge of University structures; information discovery must be intuitive and pertinent to the user.
The University of Abertay's Information Strategy aimed to link plans for Web Services (the portal) and Information Management to provide a coherent and holistic approach to Portal development. The Information Strategy was written in the context of, and with reference to, wider University strategies. It was realised that successful linkage of the two plans and greater partnership between the teams could bring significant benefits to the quality of the user experience on the University Portal and enhance information retrieval. This would in turn aid in achieving the strategic aims of the University and further the University's Quality Enhancement agenda.
This session will examine the development plans, the related projects - University Portal and Information Architecture, where we have been, current work and the road ahead.
by Keith Doyle
What is an intranet? Everyone has their own view of this. Is it content for just staff? Is it content for staff and students? Is it password protected content? Is it content which is only available within the firewall. All of these definitions can still be heard. For the purposes of this session, it will mean content, services and portals for internal users - staff and students - but excluding the Virtual Learning Environment, as this has its own technologies and strategies.
In most educational institutions, the intranet is not seen as a priority as, not unexpectedly, it often comes third behind student information and the virtual learning environment. However, the intranet can potentially make a huge difference to institutional admininistrative systems. This can improve efficiency, simplify work processes and therefore indirectly improve the student experience.
In this session, Keith Doyle will outline the elements of the University of Salford's intranet and describe the four key elements of information architecture and how they have informed the development of the University of Salford intranet. There will be a chance for all participants to share local developments and examples of good practise in intranet and portal developments, with the ability to view institution's password protected intranets. There will be a discussion of how a peer group might help support developments in this field.
By the end of the session participants will:
o Gain a better understanding of existing activity around intranets and portals
o Meet up with other people interested in this area, and raise the profile and energy around intranets.
by Barry Cornelius
In this workshop session, we explore how to make RSS work in your institution.
Recently, the University of Oxford has risen to this challenge: it has delivered a devolved institutional newsfeed system. This workshop session will discuss how this system was produced and will demonstrate how easy it is to produce news items and get them displayed on a Web page or delivered through RSS.
The session will look at:
how to deliver a devolved institutional newsfeed system;
the benefits to departments of doing this;
how to succeed in attracting customers to the newsfeed system;
some of the interesting issues when providing a newsfeed system;
authentication and authorisation;
support for multiple newsfeed formats;
support for utf-8;
support for aggregation and categories;
handling events and delivering iCalendar.
Participants will be able to explore these ideas during a hands-on session that uses the University of Oxford's newsfeed system.
by William Mackintosh and Damon Querry
The University of Newcastle upon Tyne has implemented a Google Search Appliance. The University of York is committed to the purchase of the Google Mini. The session will discuss the reasons for selecting these products and how they add value to an institution's Web site.
by Emma Tonkin
User testing is often considered to be prohibitively expensive, complicated and time-consuming; the good news is that at least two of these assumptions are wrong. This hands-on session demonstrates how to use scenario-based user testing to check out the usability of a small application. It concentrates on accessible and practical real-world techniques for user testing, analysing the results, and working out how to apply them - as quick fixes, long-term aims or feature requests.
previous IMWMWs sessions have focussed on issues such as:
Should we buy or build our CMS?
Which CMS should we implement?
How do we implement our CMS?
How can we measure the impact of our CMS Implementation?
And how do we address The CMS Challenge?
But last year it was claimed that "There is no such thing as a silver bullet" and that a CMS will not solve all your problems. Has the CMS bubble bust? Has content management become content mis-management? In the light of new approaches, such as Web 2.0, and new 'ways of doing things' is there a feeling of disillusionment with 'ye old CMS'? Or does a CMS remain the backbone of a good institutional Web site?
In this debate you will hear the arguments for and against content management systems and will have an opportunity to express your views.
by Andy Powell
It goes without saying that the Web has changed significantly over the last 10 years and that institutional Web sites have changed with it - just use the Wayback Machine to look back at your own site in 1996 to see what I mean. Such changes have not simply been in terms of style and substance but also in terms of how we expect to interact with, use and re-use the content and services being made available to us. In short, the Web has changed us and the way we learn and work. This talk will look back over the last 10 years and highlight some of the key technical, social, political and legal changes that have taken place and the impact these have had on the institutional Web sites we deliver now and will deliver into the future.
14th–16th June 2006