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The notion of community continues to be recognised as a fundamental aspect within descriptions of shared human activity and group bonding. In his socio-cultural analysis of the work place Wenger defined a particular type of communion, which he termed a community of practice (CoP). The concept of a CoP has been somewhat abused in current literature yet it does provide valuable insights into how communities evolve, behave and sustain themselves. By elaborating dimensions of community such as shared practice, dialogue, legitimate peripheral participation and negotiation of boundaries, Wenger has provided a model that can be applied to a number of differing groups of activity. This talk will explore what we can draw from the work on CoPs, in terms of the role and identity of institutional web manager, one that is inseparable from a field of practice that remains dynamic, fluid and under constant negotiation.
In recent years we've seen a huge increase in social networking and the students entering Higher Education now come complete with a range of online skills, preferences and identities. Like many other Universities, at Edge Hill we've re-developed our thinking and systems to take advantage of this and have developed:
A student portal which embeds social networking and user-owned technologies with our Institutional systems.
An applicant community Web site which allows our applicants to chat directly to current students to discover all there is to know about University life.
Students are asking each other for help and advice rather than coming direct to our staff. These same students are advising our applicant community about University life and they're all doing it in an "informal" environment. These are all positive developments but it does mean we start to ask the question...if we're moving towards developing and nurturing students in these online communities and empowering them to help themselves, will we still need a "corporate" Web site in the future? Furthermore with the increase in "free" tools available such as email, file storage, blogs, etc. will institutional systems be a thing of the past?
I will share the experiences we've had at Edge Hill detailing feedback from our students and ask the questions do we think we'll continue to manage University Web sites as they are today? Will we provide students with the institutional systems such as email or provide them with the "plugs" to embed our systems (student records, library catalogue) into their environment of choice.
When it comes to the future "will we ever be confident enough to let our students do the talking?"
by Andy Powell, Andrew Cormack and Richard Dunning
This workshop will investigate the relationships between institutional single sign-on, Athens, Shibboleth, the UK Access Management Federation and more recent developments like OpenID and CardSpace and will give participants an opportunity to ask questions of a panel of experts from the community.
It is becoming more common to "hide" information in Web pages for retrieval by intelligent Web clients; this may be done by elements in the header, or by tagging of material in the page body (microformats). One application of this is attached geographical location to objects, which can be used to link to maps, or provide input to dynamic mashups. The purpose of this section is to:
put together a set of small demonstrations of applications in different institutions (at least Salford, Bath, Oxford and Northumbria)
discuss different techniques of acquiring and storing data
see whether there are any useful inter-institutional collaborations to work on
YouTube is a popular online video streaming service that allows anyone to view and share videos. In this session the process of capturing video from a camcorder and uploading it to YouTube will be explored via a practical approach. Adrian will be uploading extracts of video taken during IWMW, at the same time exploring the ease of use, advantages and pitfalls of the service. He will consider the benefits of sharing video via YouTube and aim to encourage delegates to upload their own video snippets during the conference.
by Claire Gibbons and Russell Allen
The University of Bradford is currently embarking on a major series of projects under the banner of e-Strategy. The Content Management System (CMS) Programme of projects is e-Strategy project number 12. It began in October 2005 with the Business Analysis Phase (Project I). The analysis phase of the project was designed to find out how information is passed between members of staff and to our external audiences with an aim to recommend improved structures and processes in an effort to make communication simpler and more effective.
Throughout this project it became apparent that this was the first time that such a large number of staff had been consulted with and involved in a 'technical' project from the beginning, and one where the solution was not predetermined. The success of the Business Analysis phase and the staff involvement therein, has encouraged other Project Managers to consider the impact of technical projects from a 'people' point of view. Sounds obvious but how many projects do you know of where the solution has been purchased without even determining what the problem is first!
A recent (small-scale) culture survey of the University of Bradford highlighted the primary behaviours of the University of Bradford (as seen by a cross-section of University staff) to be ones that would result in the institution struggling to realign departments, staff and resources to new plans, mainly through procrastination, and infrequent interaction with staff leading to disengagement with colleagues. Surely the recipe for failed change-management projects!
Phase II of the CMS Programme is now underway with colleagues right across the institution still involved - from Professors to secretaries, managers to academics. This cultural shift towards staff engagement and affiliative behaviours has encouraged staff involvement and buy-in and such should result in a successful CMS implementation in the future.
We live in a time in which a plethora of portable computing devices are available such as: mobile phones, handheld computers, gaming devices and movie and music players. These devices offer powerful computing power, often on a par with desktop computers of only a few years ago. Additionally, they increasingly have wireless connectivity to the Internet. These devices are in wide spread usage and are considered affordable by many students and academics. The array of portable computing power can be bewildering. This session will look at options available and how they might used by institutions to increase the learning value for students.
We are one of those rare web teams based in the IT Section who have an excellent relationship with our External Relations Section. Whilst there are obvious ways in which the two sections need to work together on a day to day basis, for publications, marketing, etc, this session will explore the less common collaboration our web unit has developed with the Widening Participation office. We will investigate the ways in which web-based resources can be used to develop and support WP initiatives and how these could be transferred to other areas within the Institution. We will also explore how we can utilise the wide variety of pre-university students our institution already has access to for user needs analysis.
by Ross Gardler
What makes a service usable and sustainable? Is it one that offers you a service level agreement (SLA)? Or is it one that has sufficient clients that it is likely to survive long-term? And can a service that is principally a "social" service be sustainable? And how might communities of practice relate to the sustainability of an open service?
by Phil Wilson
Google's famous for it, Flickr's moved to Gamma, Moo are on an eternal 1.0 - yet still in institutions we plod on with a tired, slow-moving and opaque process for developing and enhancing applications. From our closed support lines to official notices on unread websites and applications mysteriously changing in front of a user's very eyes we look staid and tedious. But it doesn't have to be like that, we could be fast faced and interactive - but at what cost? Continuity? Uptime?
by Paul Kelly and William Mackintosh
The University of York is currently reviewing its approach to Web site statistics. We are looking to improve our knowledge of how visitors find and use our site and gather information that will help us to improve our structure and content. We are considering the use of Nedstats Sitestats, Google Analytics and open source solutions.
by Emma Tonkin
In a follow-up to last year's session, User testing on a shoestring budget, this session demonstrates two methods of user testing. One, the cognitive walkthrough, can be carried out by a single evaluator. The second, the think-aloud protocol, is all about observing the way Web visitors interact with your Web site.
16th–18th July 2007