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  • SHU – See <http://www.shu.ac.uk/cgi-bin/news_full.pl?id_num=PR448&db=03>


  • 1. Beyond Email: The Potential For Collaborative Tools Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Email [email_address] URL http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/ Summary How can new devices, commercial and user-driven technologies and collaborative Internet technologies be used (a) generally in education and (b) to support events? UKOLN is supported by: http://www.ukoln.ac.uk/web-focus/events/conferences/eunis-2005/workshop/#technologies link Links to further information Key or 
  • 2. What We'll Cover
    • In this talk I will cover:
      • The challenges we face in an environment where the users are king
      • The collaborative tools which:
        • Users want to use (and are using)
        • We know about (and are ahead of the users)
      • The challenges in deploying the tools
      • Some thoughts on approaches to deployment
    • Acceptable Use Policy For Today
      • Networked applications can be used to support the aims of the seminar, provided disruptions to others are kept to a minimum
      • Feel free to ask questions
      • General discussions at the end
  • 3. Content Is King?
    • Content is King
      • What does this phrase (cliché) mean?
      • End users want content – they don't care about the technology
    • But in reality Communication is King :
      • End users want to communicate
      • Killer application is email!
      • Look at popularity of mobile phones
      • Look at popularity of SMS messaging – despite the incredibly poor user interface
      • Learning is a social activity – so communication is particularly important in education
      • Ditto for research
  • 4. Let's Kill Email!
    • Email has been a very useful tool
    • But:
      • Information overload  Poor metadata
      • Duplication  Poor management capabilities
      • Limited developments  …
      • Spam  Viruses
      • Flame wars  …
    Mailing lists Files … " E-mail is where knowledge goes to die "
  • 5. Email Versus Web Architecture
    • Email can be used by a wide range of clients.
    • But such universality is at the cost of limited functionality
    Technologies Scripts Plugins Integration Personalisation … Scripts Integration Personalisation Authentication … Server Client
  • 6. Mobile Devices
    • What are the implications of mobile devices?
    Challenges What do these devices have in common? Consumer devices, networks & digital memory (& can fit in pocket)
  • 7. Uses For Your MP3 Player
    • Students can:
      • Download recordings of lectures
      • Record lectures
    • Great for:
      • Maximising access
      • Accessibility
      • Complementing students' notes
    • But:
      • Copyright issues
      • Lecturers & institution's views
    • Need for an AUP!
    http://www.eviews.net/15.6.2000/ Challenges http://www.rsc.org/lap/rsccom/dab/chemistrycassettes.htm And you can listen to music on a portable MP3 player!
  • 8. Commercial Providers (1)
    • We are now faced with increasing numbers of commercial providers of IT services
    • Bathstudent.com provides:
      • Personalised portal
      • Diary & calendar
      • News alerts by email & SMS
      • Advice
    http://www.bathstudent.com/ Challenges: Shouldn't we be doing this? Who owns the company & data (and why do they want my personal details)? What if ownership changes? Does their advice on academic issues conflict with the University's?
  • 9. Commercial Providers (2): GMail
    • Who needs a organisation's email account when you can get 1 Gb from a GMail account?
    • What I’m Doing
      • Obtained a GMail ID
      • Use it as secondary source for mailing lists
      • Don't divulge ID (no spam)
      • Wait and see what extras Google provide (RSS feed would be nice – now available)
      • Gain feel for privacy issues
  • 10. WiFi
    • WiFi technologies make mobile devices even more appealing. Imagine scenario:
      • WiFi access in all lecture rooms, teaching spaces, …
      • WiFi access in all halls of residences, flats, etc.
      • WiFi access in all social spaces, such as bars, fields, etc
      • WiFi access in town centre, pubs, Starbucks, …
    • and with Zeroconf you can walk into a room & it's all available
    • How will this change the dynamics of teaching & learning?
    • How will this affect purchasing patterns?
    • How will this affect social activities?
    • How will this affect the role of IT Services?
    Thought Experiment Let's imagine you all have networked mobile devices and can communicate with everyone in the room. Challenges
  • 11. Instant Messaging
    • Instant Messaging:
      • Nothing new – Unix talk anyone?
      • New user communities driving its use:
        • Young people  Overseas students
      • Comments from recent UCISA poll:
          • " IM ... is 'here to stay' – an 'unstoppable tide'. Seen as part of youth culture, along with … SMS " Liverpool JMU
          • " Students will arrive familiar with, and expecting to .. use such tools. Email seen by younger people to be 'boring', 'full of spam', IM and SMS immediacy preferred " Bath
        • But:
          • " Complaints raised regarding students hogging PCs .. Also case with email some time ago " Liverpool JMU
          • " APIs are known and therefore targets for hackers " London Met
          • " Some challenges in interoperability … " Bath
    Technologies See IM briefing paper
  • 12. IM - Tools
    • Popular IM tools include:
      • MSN Messenger
      • Yahoo Messenger
      • AOL Instant Messenger ("it's not owned by Microsoft")
    Typically choosing a supported application involved looking at functionality, cost, support, security, .. Technologies
  • 13. MSN Messenger Functionality
    • MSN Messenger provides groupware & IM functionality:
      • Sharing desktop applications
      • File transfer
      • Webcams
      • Games
    Technologies Warning – this could be a virus Has potential in user support & collaborative working MSN Messenger is probably most widely used, but interoperability problems (even across Windows OSs) Note audio doesn’t seem to work across OSs
  • 14. Interoperability
    • Lack of interoperability:
      • Mainstream IM world is closed
      • Multi-protocol clients exist (e.g. GAIM, Trillian, ..) NB lack of support for MSN extensions  
      • Jabber provides open source clients & servers which support XMPP (open IM protocol)
      • Value-added services being developed e.g. BuddySpace at OU (note interesting movie)
    Technologies GAIM showing chats to 2 IM servers (and a chat room) X NB: only play video if you have headset (and adequate bandwidth) Jabber MSN
  • 15. Policy Issues
    • For IM the additional functionality isn't the main issue. IM exists to facilitate communications the users' peers
    • Should we:
      • Provide national IM IDs (cf Athens IDs – j.smith%bath.ac.uk@jabber.ac.uk)
      • Provide managed environment of clients and IDs (e.g. Jabber database from staff/student records)
      • Provide multiple clients to support users' requests (user-driven approach at Liverpool & Edinburgh)?
      • Provide clients but support separate IM facility (e.g. as part of portal, VLE, …)?
      • Provide in in VLE, portal, … (if & when available)
      • Think about these issues at a later date
      • Have no formal policy and turn blind eye to usage
      • Ban it – it's disruptive to our core mission
  • 16. Integrating Environments (1)
    • Services such as YahooGroups integrate:
      • Mailing lists
      • IM
      • Voting
      • Calendars
    Rather than dedicated IM clients we could provide Web services which users have to “go” to Technologies Useful to get committee together at same time – buts ads are disliked Very effective way of reaching a decision – avoids long discursive discussions Strangely, perhaps, YahooGroups is used by open standards developers (e.g. RSS & RDF)
  • 17. Integrating Environments (2)
    • JISCMail is extending its facilities to include a voting system and a chat room (currently being tested)
    • Being part of our community it doesn’t have adverts and is responsive to needs of the community
    Technologies But there are issues about the memorability of URIs, their application dependency, persistency of URIs and long-term retention of the archives
  • 18. Let's Kill E-Mail! – RSS
    • E-mail has its role but:
      • Why send messages which time-out when many users will read them too late?
      • Why not use delivery channels which are spam-free?
      • Why not use delivery channels which are more suited to receiving information (as opposed to discussions)?
      • Why not allow users to select their preferred channels?
    Technologies See RSS briefing paper
    • RSS:
      • Syndication of content
      • A light-weight standard used in the JISC IE
      • View on Web, using one of many dedicated RSS viewers, Opera or Pluck IE plugin
    Shouldn't RSS viewers be standard on desktops? Shouldn't we be creating RSS feed for news alerts – and not just adding to email overload? Google for " rss is opt-in authenticated email "
  • 19. Let's Kill The Telephone!
    • The telephone still has its place but:
      • It can be expensive
      • Conference calls are expensive
      • Overseas calls are expensive
    • Skype:
      • Exploits high-speed network connectivity and powerful PCs
      • Conference calls with up to 5
      • Use instant messaging
      • Ring land lines (paid-for option)
      • Available on (hi-spec PocketPC)
    Technologies Scenarios Skype used (a) on laptops for (i) ringing home/work (ii) when abroad and (b) desktop PCs for conference calls See Audio briefing paper
  • 20. Let's Kill The Telephone!
    • If we intend to kill off the phone, shouldn't we use video conferencing tools rather than simply replicating a phone system?
    Technologies VRVS provides sound, video, IM, virtual rooms, etc See Ariadne review Video comes for free with MSN Messenger
  • 21. Blogging (1)
    • Blogging: cult fashion or significant developing in publishing / communications?
    Technologies Student's learning diary. Created by student and hosted on remote Blogger Web site. No longer maintained? A more sustainable approach is likely when used as part of a course. This example also provides shared experiences Blog software can also be regarded as a CMS used to create a particular type of standards-based Web site
  • 22. Blogging (2)
    • But:
      • I want new information to be pushed to me
      • I want to create information using tools other than a Web browser
      • I prefer an email interface (fewer images, …)
      • I want to do everything in IE
  • 23. Wikis (1)
    • Wiki:
    • An open shared space for collaborative editing
    Emerging Technologies Wikipedia – a example of shared encyclopaedia. Yes, trust is an issue! QUB provide an environment for IT & Society students to collectively edit Web pages. http://itsoc.mgt.qub.ac.uk/ITandSociety See Wikis briefing paper
  • 24. Wikis (2)
    • Your organisation may already be in the Wikipedia!
    • Comments:
      • You can't stop people doing this
      • This can be good publicity
      • This can be effort for free
      • If you create the page to start with you can set the tone
    Issue : Which Wiki software to choose – Tiki, TikiWiki, QwikiWiki, PukiWiki, WakkaWiki, WikkiTikkiTavi, … (or one with a silly name) Technologies
  • 25. Wikis For Note-Taking At Events
    • The Wikalong Wiki has been used for note-taking by discussions groups at an event
    • This allows:
      • Everyone in discussion group to contribute (not just reporter with pen)
      • Access to the other groups' notes
      • Access to all
  • 26. Wikis: Strengths and Weaknesses
    • Wikis are good for:
      • Collaborative working on documents by small numbers with sharing objectives & understanding
      • Use when broad agreement is in place
      • Use in a trusted environment
      • Enthusiasts
    • Wikis can be poor for:
      • Collaborative working on documents by large numbers with diverse objectives & understanding
      • Use when there is a need to establish areas of agreement
      • Use in a untrusted environment
      • Use by sceptics
  • 27. The Potential For SMS
    • SMS:
      • Over 100 million SMS txts sent over New Year 2004 – why don't we send exam results, library alerts, …?
      • A small number of institutions are using SMS :
        • " SHU used SMS during clearing - potential students texted in UCAS code of course of interest. The system sent back text saying whether places were still available - alleviating pressure on our call centre. "
        • " I believe Edinburgh student union uses SMS for their elections."
        • "I believe there are plans afoot in our university at a high level to develop a method of 'bulk sending' SMS messages out to students. "
        • Birkbeck are " hoping to pilot an SMS alert system soon for one of our Schools that they can use (via a simple Web interface) to send lecture cancellation messages etc to their students"
  • 28. From SMS -> 3G
    • WAP failed to take off
    • 3G:
      • The SMS or the WAP of the future?
      • Will the killer app be:
        • Publishing information  Communications
        • Network connectivity using 3G/WiFi/4G
        • Comms for executives (cf Blackberry)
        • PDA for executive - note the NEC 3G phone supports XHTML & IMAP – but not in UK 
        • Nothing
      • Does this have any relevance to us?
      • Or will the mobile be a ubiquitous data capture, browsing and communications device?
    Technologies http://www.three.co.uk/ music/
    • Note in July 2004
      • NEC e303 Pay-as-You-Go 3G phone for £30 from Argos
      • T-Mobile launches 3G/Wi-Fi card £199 plus £70/month
  • 29. Returning To Mobile Devices
    • New Terminology
    • Moblogging : Blog from your mobile device (PDA, phone, …)
    • Audioblog : voice Blogs from your phone, …
    • Podcasting : synch your IPod so it automatically gets your favourite Audioblogs (using RSS)
    Note that your IPod can be used as an RSS reader, email reader, … (software is free!) IM clients, Blogging software, Wikis, RSS readers, etc. are available for Palms, Pocket PCs, mobile phones, ... Encouraging their use could (a) transfer demand from your PC clusters; (b) reduce demands on transport; (c) increase productivity, (d) enhance team working; … Technologies
  • 30. Podcasting
    • RSS:
      • Lightweight news syndication standard(s)
    • Podcasts:
      • " Transmitters? We don't need no stinkin' transmitters "
      • RSS 2 app. invented by Adam Curry & Dave Winer
      • Simple way of getting MP3 files on your iPod, …
      • Distribution mechanism, creation tool, cultural phenomena, ..
      • Growth helped by Creative Commons licences
    • Applications:
      • Recoding talks at conferences
      • Learning on the bus, train, …
    Technologies Wikicasting : phone no. and voice added to Podcast Podcast+GPS : location-based recording & listening. Cultural or social commentary on your location Crazy Ideas? "What will the effect on society be when networking, digital recording, storage & access are pervasive"
  • 31. Where Does This Leave Us?
    • Can we afford not to have:
      • An Institutional IM Facilities IM software and managed directory facilities
      • An Institutional Blog Service A managing and interoperable Blog environment (cf Warwick)
      • Institutional Wiki Service A managed, easy-to-use collaborative workspace
      • Recording And Access Services Software to enable talks to be recorded and accessed
    Before the environments, we should have a policy in these areas! The policy could, for example, leave provision of such services to the market place. Deployment
  • 32. Strategic Challenges
    • Challenges we face:
      • Choosing whether to do any of this stuff
      • AUPs
      • Accessibility
      • Charging Issues
      • Open Source vs Commercial Solutions
      • Departmental & Individual Autonomy
      • Interoperability, Preservation, etc.
      • People Issues
      • Privacy, Data Protection, …
      • Sustainable Communities
      • Deployment Strategies
    Deployment Note that I don't have answers to all of these issues!
  • 33. Conclusions
    • Internet and Web collaborative technologies:
      • Provide a range of interesting new application areas of use in a many areas
      • End users (esp. young people) will increasingly be familiar with such technologies and expect to continue to use them
      • Many technologies are free/open source
      • Issues of ongoing, security, interoperability, etc. will need to be addressed by IT services
      • Many challenges – but also great potential
    So how can these technologies – and these challenges – be addressed at an event?