Vibes in AVO Open Networks

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Vibes in AVO Open Networks — Descriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008-2011
contains eight stories, each shedding light on the project’s practical implementation from a
different angle. The report is intended for experts and anyone interested alike. The themes
include open learning, open working cultures, social media and content production. In addition,
the report touches upon virtual worlds and mobile learning devices for educational purposes
as well as the use of free and open software in education and organisations.

The AVO – Open Networks for Learning project was implemented in 2008-2012 under the
ESF Operational Programme in mainland Finland, axis 3: Active Citizen of the Open Learning
Environment. The project was funded by the Centre for Economic Development, Transport and
the Environment in Lapland and coordinated by the Association of Finnish eLearning Centre.
There were 11 member organisations.

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Vibes in AVO Open Networks

  1. 1. Vibes in AVO Open NetworksDescriptions of the AVO project operation during 2008–2011 AVO reports 1/2012
  2. 2. Contents PREFACE “WE WERE SO OUT, OUT OF Tiina Front-Tammivirta ............................................... 3 THE CLASSROOM – AND WE LEARNED!” Outi Vahtila, Johanna Salmia, AbstRact .................................................................... 5 Annika Michelson and Lotta Linko ....................... 37 CORNERSTONES OF COORDINATION AND WISDOM IN WIKI PRODUCTION COMMUNICATION IN THE AVO PROJECT – OUR PEER PRODUCTION ESTABLISHED Tiina Front-Tammivirta, Anne Rongas and NEW OPERATING MODES Titi Tamminen .............................................................. 7 Joanna Kalalahti ....................................................... 61 AVO PROJECT MEMBERS’ DISTANCE SECOND LIFE VIRTUAL WORLD IN COMMUNICATION TOOLS THE SERVICE OF EDUCATION Joanna Kalalahti ....................................................... 15 Riitta Liski, Päivi Svärd, Isto Huvila, Kim Holmberg ........................................................... 71 SOCIAL MEDIA EDUCATION FOR TEACHERS AND THE DEVELOPMENT OF THIS EDUCATION EDUCOSS SUCCEEDED IN PROMOTING Ari-Matti Auvinen and EDUCATIONAL USES OF FREE AND OPEN Kaisa Honkonen-Ratinen ........................................ 25 SOURCE SOFTWARE (FOSS) Elias Aarnio ................................................................ 85 THE NETFOLKS – WEB-AGE CIVIL SOCIETY DEVELOPED AND TESTED NEW OPERATIVE MODELS Antti Poikola ............................................................... 33 Suomen eOppimiskeskus ry, Visamäentie 33, 13100 Hämeenlinna, info@eoppimiskeskus.fi English translation by Tiina Lanas • Layout design: Adverbi Oy • Printing: Oy Fram Ab ISBN 978-952-67714-0-3 (paper publication) • ISBN 978-952-67714-1-0 (electronic publication)2    reports 2012
  3. 3. PrefaceT he AVO- Open Networks for Learning project gave This report contains eight stories, each shedding a meaningful contribution to the diversity of open light on the project’s practical implementation from a dif- production and distribution. A large number of ferent angle. The stories are the following: coordinationevents and publications was produced collectively. The and project communication (Tiina Front-Tammivirta, Annecommunity-based mode of operation was manifest in the Rongas and Titi Tamminen); project members’ distanceplanning and implementation of events, training courses communication tools (Joanna Kalalahti); social mediaand functions as well as in how people participated inediting materials and how they joined brainstorming ses-sions in social web services and wikis. The project’s peer productions include a variety ofitems: a training concept for social media, the Mobii-likesäkoulu (Mobile Summer School), the AVO webinarseries (about 40 of them), active and activating confer- Openness was a key principle and, therefore,ence sessions (such as those at Information Technol- we favoured freeware and free services.ogy in Education ITK and Digital Competence and Learn-ing DCL) as well as certain social media environments Project workers operated widely dispersedand materials. Peer production sessions were imple- around the country, challenging the traditionalmented internally among project members as well asopen for external participants. The extensive project communication and meeting practices.network formed a good test bed for new services andweb rooms; the far-reaching national-level network madeit possible for more than ten organisations to work inthe project and for dozens of experts to participate insix subprojects in 2008-2012. More than 2500 individu-als participated in the training sessions and events thatwere organised during the project. education for teachers (Kaisa Honkonen-Ratinen and Ari- The AVO network used new services and web rooms Matti Auvinen); the mobile summer school event (Outiactively so that the widely dispersed participants were Vahtila, Johanna Salmia, Annika Michelson and Lottaable to establish a sense of presence in the project com- Linko); the Netfolks (Antti Poikola); Second Life (Riittamunity. The range of communication tools employed was Liski, Päivi Svärd, Isto Huvila, Kim Holmberg); peer pro-deliberately extensive, as one of the project objectives duction project Viisautta wikin tekoon - Wisdom in Wikiwas the testing and piloting of new services offered for production (Joanna Kalalahti) and Educoss (Elias Aarnio).project use. Openness was a key principle and, there- Oili Salminen and I edited this publication together.fore, we favoured freeware and free services. Project The publication of this report was made possible by theworkers operated widely dispersed around the country, active, creative AVO team. Our warmest thanks to you all.challenging the traditional communication and meetingpractices. Managing the extensive project and reporting Hämeenlinna, March 2012within the project and externally required a new opera- Tiina Front-Tammivirtational culture which, in turn, prepared ground for new AVO Coordinatorproject work practices. The Association of Finnish eLearning Centre.   reports 2012 3
  4. 4. 4    reports 2012
  5. 5. OILI SALMINEN AbstractThe AVO project (Open Networks for Learning, 2008– cial media, content production, virtual worlds and mobile2011) searched for methods to jointly produce learn- learning devices for educational purposes, as well asing materials; it also developed methodologies for open for those that employ free and open source software inproduction and sharing and promoted a communal way school use. There will be two other reports published ofof planning and implementing events, functions and the AVO project:courses. The cooperation among the eleven participat-ing organisations went well, in general. The new culture • AVO – On an open collision course – challengesof working together and borrowing creatively was adopt- in combining the real and the virtualed in varying depths at varying times. • AVO ripples propagate – openness in sight! The key feature of the project was networking. Peerproduction and peer learning together with the creation These reports will deal with the success and effective-and maintenance of networks were central to its mode ness of the project. This report contains eight stories,of operation. The results reached were excellent. each shedding light on the project’s practical implemen- The implementation occupied thousands of individu- tation from a different angle. The stories are the fol-als. The extensive national-level network had more than lowing: coordination and project communication (Tiinaten organisations involved in project work and dozens Front-Tammivirta, Anne Rongas and Titi Tamminen); pro-of experts participating in the six subprojects in 2008– ject members’ distance communication tools (Joanna2011. More than 2500 individuals participated in the Kalalahti); social media education for teachers (Kaisatraining sessions and events that were organised during Honkonen-Ratinen and Ari-Matti Auvinen); mobile sum-the project. mer school event (Outi Vahtila, Johanna Salmia, Annika The AVO network used new services and web rooms Michelson and Lotta Linko); civic society online (Anttiactively so that the widely dispersed participants were Poikola); Second Life (Riitta Liski, Päivi Svärd, Isto Hu-able to establish a sense of presence in the project vila, Kim Holmberg); peer production project Viisauttacommunity. The range of communication tools employed wikin tekoon – Wisdom in Wiki production (Joanna Kala-was deliberately extensive, as one of the project objec- lahti) and Educoss (Elias Aarnio).tives was the testing and piloting of new services offered The AVO project was implemented in 2008–2012 un-for project use. A broad range of web services and web der the ESF Operational Programme in mainland Finland,rooms was first introduced into project internal use, and axis 3, Active Citizen of the Open Learning Environment.then a variety of interest groups was trained to use them. The project was funded by the Centre for Economic De- This project report is intended for learners and us- velopment, Transport and the Environment in Laplanders in diverse educational institutions and organisations and coordinated by the Association of Finnish eLearningthat employ open learning, open working cultures, so- Centre.   reports 2012 5
  6. 6. 6    reports 2012
  7. 7. Tiina Front-Tammivirta, Anne Rongas AND Titi Tamminen Case: Cornerstones ofcoordination and communication in the AVO project In this project report, we will describe the administrative coordination and communication in the AVO project, both under the responsibility of the Association of Finnish eLearning Centre. When we recorded experiences and views concerning the coordination and communication in the AVO project, we encountered the inevitable themes of networking, interaction, assistance and working together, pitching in to help, internationality and the sorrows and joys associated with networking. One of the most important duties of the coordinator was the enabling of the cooperation among the participants, of whom there was a large number, designing smoothly-functioning models for their interaction. The communication activities and practices, the responsibility of which was the coordinator’s, supported the purposes of coordination while they facilitated the work in other areas. This report will also describe what actually went on during the project.The question whether good practices can be transferred the expectations or outright failed. We will share someremains partly unanswered – our answers are not ex- of those experiences as well.haustive. Our report will introduce certain methods for We had a very large number of people involved fromfamiliarising others with good practices and promoting different professional fields in different parts of Finland.the use of such practices in other projects and func- This facilitated our work. We were able to communicatetions. We will also describe what, in our three years of about our project in various networks and were assistedwork (total of 22.5 man years), was such that we would in it by people we knew and people we did not know. Welike to recommend it, on the basis of our experiences, can say that it was us, all of us, who worked in the vari-for others in similar large projects in public administra- ous subprojects that created AVO together.tion, civic society and business. All in all, the AVO project was edifying, inspiring and We will also investigate the interaction models adopt- encouraging for us due to the enthusiasm and great mo-ed in the project together with their outcomes. In addi- tivation of those involved. We heard the same adjectivestion, this story will touch upon other issues that seem from other participants as well. The project feedbacknecessary to clarify the role of coordination within the was mainly positive. There were very few disadvanta-project as a whole. We hope to give you, our reader, an geous evaluations. The overall project, our funding pro-idea of the many faces of AVO and its many projections gramme Aktiivi, gave mainly positive feedback concern-to a variety of directions. We also believe some people ing AVO, and gave encouragement and guidelines whenwill be interested in hearing which areas lagged behind needed.   reports 2012 7
  8. 8. It is a compliment to a project if the implementation outcomes that these projects intend to achieve are of its key issues continues. This is taking place, and a meant to foster the structuring of new types of learn- new large programme, Openness Accelerating Learning ing paths for different types of learners. The aim is to Networks, was kicked off at the beginning of 2012. The remove obstacles, restraints and blind alleys of learning, objectives include the establishment and strengthening and active operators are provided with diverse opportu- of a communal and participatory networking culture in nities for demonstrating their skills (see e.g. Hämewiki, the participating educational institutions and organisa- http://ttstyt.wordpress.com/tietoa/). tions as well as among their interest groups. The words “open networks for learning” in the name of the project describe rather well the issues at the core of the project - they formed fixed points that anchored AVO work. Openness and networks were the enablers, supports and boosters of learning in this project. These elements were essential, and any one of them would have been less productive had the others not been there. AVO piloted, trained and supported the introduc- Openness and networks tion of new operating models into educational institu- tions and civic activities. It was particularly important were the enablers, supports for these models to include pedagogically suitable char- and boosters of learning acteristics and features. AVO also supported the critical introduction for use of these models; this means trial- in this project. ling and analysing the models during the introductory phase, enabling changes to the models if the use of any as such in a particular place was not appropriate. The funding of AVO was approximately 860000 € an- nually, making the total funding at the end of the 3-year period in excess of 2.5 million euros. Of this, 15% was acquired by AVO itself; one half of the 15% came through municipal funding and the other half from social me- dia education arranged for municipal organisations. In terms of euros, the project was rather large among pro- jects with funding from the European Social Fund (ESF), OPENNESS, NETWORKS AND LEARNING but when compared to EU Frame Programmes and other – ELEMENTS OF AVO’S STONE BASE EU level programmes, it actually was relatively small. The AVO project was implemented under the ESF Op- Medium and large projects there amount to 8-10 million erational Programme in mainland Finland, axis 3: Active euros per project. Citizen of the Open Learning Environment. As of 2008, In project coordination, finances and payment orders Active Citizen of the Open Learning Environment has fo- required a great deal of work. Well-managed finances, cused on activating people in different sorts of learn- as is well known, allow manoeuvring room for actual pro- ing environments. The ESF development programme ject activities. Project economy worked well even though has funded 14 different projects, one of which was AVO. we occasionally had to herd our innovative participants Three new ventures were kicked off at the very begin- back to their schedules. ning of 2012. We have extensive amounts of coordination-related The projects under the AKTIIVI programme include material. Project reporting and payment orders have nationwide networked projects, ready to share their brought about 20 large folders with mainly payment or- results with all citizens. The goals of these networked der data, and before we can have the project materi- projects comprise supporting cooperation under their als archived, we will most likely have six more similar themes, increasing expertise, sharing information and folders with follow-up data, decision documentation, best practices as well as promoting the flexible use of payment decisions etc. This project that so well made technology. They also want to find ideas for new prod- use of the electronic media did not reach the paperless ucts which could be turned into business models. The stage.8    reports 2012
  9. 9. FOLLOW-UP DATA 2008–2011 Participants Goal Actual (31.12.2011) Businesses 10 87 Organisations 200 255 Persons 850 2533 Women 600 1526 Men 250 1007 Days teaching and instructing, man-days Goal Actual (31.12.2011) Face-to-face instruction 900 1616 Distance learning 850 851 Development and consultation 290 300 Other man-days 150 157 Total 2190 2924 The number of participants varied per phase. The needed. There have been needs for changes over thenumber of people involved simultaneously averaged 50- years.60; full-time staff numbered 1-2 most of the time, with If there are no active participants, any project willpart-time staff supporting. The project involved a large wane and its outputs will fade out before the actualnumber of experts. Turn-over was high and job induction goals have been reached. The AVO participants, whetherwas required in great volumes. in supportive or active roles, always did their share and also assisted others. The AVO consortium consisted ofA GOOD PLAN HELPS Aalto University of Art and Design Medialab, UniversityIN IMPLEMENTATION AND COORDINATION of Tampere INFIM, Åbo Akademi University, HAMK Uni-The implementation and reporting of EU-funded pro- versity of Applied Sciences, Otava Folk High School, Edu-jects are clearly specified. When the AVO project plan- cational Association of Citizens’ Forum SKAF, Technol-ning team started drafting the funding plan in 2007, the ogy Centre Innopark, Summer University of Häme, Cityworld was very different from today. For example, appli- of Hämeenlinna, City of Kotka and HCI Productions Oy.cations and services for mobile communications, social The project developed the use of mobile devices,media and virtual worlds were taking their first steps, blogs and wikis in learning and interaction, the use ofand some had not emerged at all at that time. 3D virtual worlds and online conferences in education, It is clear that planning is difficult if not impossi- and it piloted social media tools, open source code so-ble in a rapidly-changing area that is under constant lutions and web communities as teachers’ learning re-renewal, as is online learning. However, the availabil- sources. Peer production quality assessment formed anity of funding is determined by the project plan and important area. It was difficult and required that we putthe conditions given by particular funding providers. It ourselves at risk, observing how our actions impactedwas fortunate - or far-sighted - that the project planning others and the results of others. Cooperation among agroup was able to draft the plans sufficiently precisely large group of participants succeeds when the condi-but also flexibly enough so they could be changed when tions and principles are clear for everyone.   reports 2012 9
  10. 10. Requests were made to obtain a virtual coffee table Cooperation among a large for the use of those who wanted interaction in real-time. Trials were started with Flowdock, then they were trans- group of participants succeeds ferred to Organisaatio-Qaiku and finally to Yammer. Ser- when the conditions and vice providers were changed twice, because Flowdock became subject to a charge, and Organisaatio-Quaiku principles are clear for all. was not found to be an easy communication tool. The virtual space created a sense of belonging for users; this was an essential support for a project worker strug- gling alone in an organisation. Quick reactions and an- swers to questions and thoughts posted online gave rise to a strong sense of belonging at times. In general, online meetings took place with Adobe It is noteworthy that resources were joined and in Connect Pro (ACP) web conferencing software, Skype many cases group efforts took place autonomously with- group chat supported by a wiki and collaborative text out any formal project coordination. In our opinion, this editors (Etherpad); wiki meetings were also experiment- demonstrated the positive aspects of online networking. ed with, convening on a wiki meeting page at an agreed The amount of volunteer work was noticeable. People time. The transmission of video with many participants did not count up their hours very precisely. present does not work in the best possible way; the vid- eo function in an ACP connection requires a great deal PROJECT COMMUNICATION of bandwidth, reducing the quality of the connection. The The range of communication tools employed was de- participants felt that the audio functionality supported liberately extensive, and new services that were made by text was sufficient particularly after people had met available during the project were tested and piloted with face-to-face. due diligence. Because of the nature of the project and In August 2011, we included the trial of the Google+ the people involved, piloting and assessing new tools Hang-out service which offers high-quality audio and vid- was a natural part of the project’s communication chan- eo to as many as 10 simultaneous participants. Goog- nel selection. Openness was an essential theme in the le+ Hangout proved to be an excellent tool for our free- project all along, and therefore, we favoured freeware form Monday morning project meetings. and free services whenever possible. Face-to-face meetings were arranged twice a year; From the very beginning, AVO project’s common infor- the one in early September always lasted for two days. mation distribution and discussion channels consisted It was always possible to attend face-to-face meetings of a project wiki for project management, an email dis- remotely even though we hoped that participants would tribution list, Google calendars delivered to the partic- arrive on location physically. Of all the communication ipants for internal and external events, regular online and meetings among project members, 90% took place meetings (once every two months) and regular face-to- on various web channels with online tools. face meetings (twice per year). The Monday Bulletin, dis- tributed via email, was the weekly bulletin which was AVO PEARLS SHOW OUR SATISFACTION openly put together through mutual effort in a shared The AVO project, Open Networks for Learning, focused document in GoogleDocs. Shared documents were in on the creation, development and support of methods active use so we could avoid sending different versions and models of open learning and content production in through email. Internal communications and joint plan- educational institutions and civic activities. How did we ning made use of collective mind maps, training design succeed? wikis and mobile videos on the AVO channel in the Bam- AVO pearls show the project members’ idea of the buser, an interactive live video broadcasting service. project’s best outcomes and practices. Outcomes and Even external communication largely took place practices were worked into “AVO pearls” in a certain online. The compilation blog Avoinvirta (Open Stream) workshop. At the midpoint of our string of pearls, we formed, internally, a key channel for members to monitor placed a diamond which signifies the culture of posi- the work, and externally, it was an important communi- tive copying, i.e. the principle that all outputs and prac- cation channel. Participants’ blogs and other relevant tices obtained with the aid of public funding need to be blogs were available in one web address. shared openly.10    reports 2012
  11. 11. Open webinars Training model for jointly produced materials Wikis for social media courses Peer-production, Mobile Peer-learning Summer School Quality Jointly criteria produced Guides for materials social media usersOpen production Traveland distribution Agency of materials SoMe OSS ”Sometu” -network Mobile devices Wikis and blogs Social media in education Web conferencing Virtual worlds (3D) co-creation, co-operation, open work culture   reports 2012 11
  12. 12. The nature of our operations was characterised by Project workers operating widely dispersed around the idea that we would openly distribute all outputs and the country challenged the traditional communication practices we obtained with the aid of public funding and meeting practices. AVO bravely tried out web chan- among all interested parties for their information and nels from online conferencing systems to Skype and use. sharing videos. Our motto was that we work as we teach, The communal mode of operation was manifest in other words, we used the same tools and operating throughout the project at all levels. models that we taught to our target groups. Cooperation must be initiated at the first possible instance. When that is the case, cooperation becomes a habit that increases the chances of success. Working and cooperating in AVO actually succeeded better than was hoped for at the beginning. Innovative solutions are well-suited to everyday life Within the project, AVO produced new information in areas in which infor- mation has not previously been available in Finland. we used the same tools and AVO produced information and applied it to practice, open methods that we taught enabling new ways of operation in, for example, learn- ing materials peer production, project work, civic ac- to our target groups. tivities etc. Innovative solutions worthy of the name of best practice were also found in the use of project tools as, with them, we succeeded in the dissemina- tion of information and instructions among our target groups very quickly, making easy the introduction of novelties into use. In education, innovative solutions were evident in the focus: education should not be tools training but instead should contain new operat- ing models directing the work culture to making use of technology in a flexible manner in accordance with the target group. Centralised payments and liaison with public officials The coordinating party must have clear guidelines and smooth processes for ordering payments and collecting CIRCULATION OF GOOD PRACTICES follow-up data. Adherence to agreed reporting and pay- Motto: We work as we teach ment order schedules requires good commitment on the The most important duties of the coordinator were part of the member organisations. agreed to include ascertaining the conditions of cooper- Communication with the funding party in the various ation for the great number of participants and designing phases of the project was an important aspect of the smoothly-functioning models for their interaction. The coordinator’s work; we agreed from the very beginning accomplishment of these duties was aided by the cus- that the contact to the funding official would be central- tom assumed at the very beginning of the project, that ised. To order payments, the coordinator collected the all outputs and practices obtained with the aid of public required bookkeeping materials and reports by the due funding were shared openly among all interested parties date and delivered the package to the relevant authority. in public and also in tailored forms among project mem- This arrangement worked well and there were no over- bers. Common rules for communication and meetings drafts to the budget. This may have been impacted by are necessary. The presence of alternatives and diver- the early intervention policy adhered to even in money sity had to be fostered in a large group to help everyone matters – the coordinator guided and assisted in the find the best methods most suited to them personally. preparation of payment orders.12    reports 2012
  13. 13. The groundwork for project coordination was com- this organisation and group oriented mode to adopt apleted at the very beginning. The coordinator met in more flexible mode. The next large project will proceedperson with the parties implementing the various sub- more on the lines of contextual themes and topics.projects, with a preprepared agenda that contained is- A distinct drawback during the project was the factsues related to practical project work and reporting as that funding could not be addressed to persons underwell as to contents issues. On the basis of such meet- 16 or over 64 even though they often had excellentings, the objectives and forms of working were clarified knowledge and skills for the use of social media.for each subproject. Reporting instructions and otherguidelines were available for the participants in a pro- Spreading of good practicesject wiki. Comprehensive guidelines covering the entire As the AVO coordinator, the Association of Finnishproject period (on e.g. reporting, participant data col- eLearning Centre spread information concerning the pro-lection, acceptable costs, the use of the logos, etc.) ject and communicated good practices and forms avail-formed the basis for the smooth operation of the project able for various types of activities. Our success in thisconsortium composed of several organisations. Central- task can be seen in how often AVO members were invit-ised participant data collection in events and functions ed to various events as speakers and trainers or to takewas one of the enablers of AVO’s success. Social media on other expert duties. The demand during the projectin project work was even the subject matter for a sub- grew gratifyingly, and AVO members were often invitedproject. This subproject was conducted under the Centre to social media education events. Communication tookfor Economic Development, Transport and the Environ- place through the magazine SeOppi, the blog Avoin virtament in Satakunta, and the participants were education- (Open Stream) as well as other web communities andal ventures. blogs. International information exchange took place in the form of conferences, seminars and exhibitions. AllCulture of creative copying outputs, materials and guides from the AVO project areThere are challenges in working together in peer produc- publicly available. They can be handily obtained from thetion, but there is also an invigorating pull that catches open wiki at the address http://bit.ly/avomateriaalit.one unawares. We must learn to operate on uncertain All parties involved in the project are still available.grounds if we aim at producing any output together, If you would like to give us feedback, please contact us.learning during the process. The culture of creative copy-ing is created as a side issue. Social media is still often labelled as frivolous. Dur-ing the project, we noticed that the label has begun towear off, and the uses of social media for a multitudeof purposes are better understood. It is likely that theapplication of social media and learning from others –even borrowing from others – in everyday situations andalso the communal services established for handling Funding programme: The ESF Operationalthe less interesting tasks such as financial administra- Programme in mainland Finland, Operationaltion, have promoted the credibility of social media. Line 3: The Active Citizen of the Open Learning EnvironmentNothing is forever– we need to be ready for reassessments Budget: 2.7 million euros during 2008–2012Objectives and operational models were checked in joint Project Consortium: Aalto University of Art andevents and online discussions. Design, University of Tampere, Åbo Akademi Issues difficult for project administration included University, HAMK University of Applied Sciences,e.g. copyright which emerged regarding the ownership Otava Folk High School, Educationalof materials openly available through the web. Copy- Association of Citizens’ Forum SKAF, Technologyright was often been discussed with public authorities Centre Innopark, Summer University of Häme,as statutes and regulations seem to lag behind web life. City of Hämeenlinna, City of Kotka and HCI The implementation of AVO began as a joint effort Productions Oy. Coordinated by the Associationof the organisations, and soon inter-organisation groups of Finnish eLearning Centre.started forming. It will be necessary to move on from   reports 2012 13
  14. 14. 14    reports 2012
  15. 15. JOANNA KALALAHTI, UNIVERSITY OF TAMPERE Case: AVO project members’ distance communication tools This subproject report describes how the viewing of distance – the aspects of remoteness and proximity – and the experience of distance changed with the emergence of distance communication tools as the AVO subprojects and their networks progressed.AT A DISTANCE AND NEAR-BY IN AVO chat). Very likely, it would have been possible to intro-The AVO project comprised six separate subprojects, duce a discussion tool even earlier, but for some reason,each focusing on a certain type of content. Shared, tool selection became a key issue. Finally, the introduc-natural activities were effortlessly built around common tion of Flowdock took place rather spontaneously: a pro-issues, but it required communication to notice these ject member established a web community and invitedcommon issues. The AVO project had certain common the others to join in. The idea was that it was better togoals, and the sponsor required inter-subproject coop- try one potentially suitable tool than to continue the de-eration. A project study completed at the end of 2011 liberation as to which tool would eventually be selected.showed that participants experienced the common Online discussion got a good start and continued livelygoals as unclear and the discussion concerning them as long as the tool was in use. The topics of discus-as lacking. sion ranged from general project themes to informal chit An appropriately functioning discussion channel is chat. As the use of the tool developed, the groups alsoneeded to enable cooperation. Because project mem- developed insider jokes such as the witticism posted bybers were located in different parts of Finland, web tools a member every Friday that acquired the name Fridaywere made use of from the very beginning. The tools Wisecrack. The participation threshold was clearly low,introduced for use at the beginning of the project did not and Flowdock discussions included very many types ofsupport common discussion, nor were they the answer subjects. The channel was excellent for cases in whichto the participants’ wish to strengthen their sense of one member needed answers from other members tocommunity, nor even to their wish to learn to know the particular questions concerning, for example, theirother members better. Because informal discussion can views. We must state, however, that all project membersfacilitate members becoming acquainted, there was the did not take part in these discussions; discussions tookexpectation that the new project discussion tool would place mainly within a core team of 8–10 members.include this feature. When Flowdock became subject to a charge at the Half-way through the project in the fall of 2010, we end of 2010, the project decided to transfer to a free-of-introduced Flowdock1, a Finnish application for creating cost platform. In connection with the transfer, a surveywebrooms for real-time online discussion (e.g. real-time was conducted concerning discussion tool user experi- ences of the past three months. This survey contained1 www.flowdock.com questions for those project members who had not used   reports 2012 15
  16. 16. ganisaatio-Qaiku, for example, does not alert users of in- coming messages. In addition, finding the messages in the channels was considered difficult. This platform was clearly better suited for compiling and structuring infor- mation. Because discussion dwindled, we shortened the four-month trial period we had initially planned. In con- nection with the platform change, we again conducted a project survey to gain an understanding of the issues that eventually dried up the discussion in Organisaatio- Qaiku. We also invited views concerning the features required in web discussion tools suitable for establish- ing shared virtual places. We decided to introduce the Yammer3 platform at the beginning of February 2011 to revitalise project discussion on a new platform possibly better suited for the intended use. Some project mem- bers had introduced Yammer by the time we conducted the second survey, so we were able to ask about their first impressions. Expectations concerning Yammer were obviously high after the disappointment with Organisaatio-Qaiku. Comments were encouraging, but in practice, discus- sion in Yammer remained relatively subdued compared to what it had been in Flowdock. The platform indicated the number of users logged in, so we could see that an Flowdock actively or at all, and also general questions average of five individuals were present almost at any on the use of remote communication tools. The survey time. Still, discussion did not fire up even though some was intended to bring us information of how the intro- project members made efforts to cajole others to join duction of the web discussion tool had met the expecta- in. Communication about common matters did not work tions that had emerged in the project study: i.e. a com- on Yammer, because so many members did not use it. mon virtual space, discussion and becoming acquainted In autumn 2011, project members suddenly started to with the others. The general impression was encourag- use Yammer more; there were several messages every ing, and we expected to see discussion continue as live- day, which was different from the previous half-year with ly on the new platform. several days between messages. The selection of the new web discussion platform Our experiences indicate that discussion platforms fell on Organisaatio-Qaiku2, the business version of the differ and studies founded on their feature descriptions micro-blogging service Quaiku. After the change of the do not reveal the whole truth about how they would func- platform at the beginning of December 2010 and the tion for a particular type of discussion. In our experi- initial experiences, discussions seemed to dwindle to ence, certain features are quite critical for the viability almost nothing. A few individuals tried to initiate and of the platform: incoming message alerts, the simple keep up discussion in Organisaatio-Qaiku, but it is rather structure of the platform, ease and fluency of use, pos- cumbersome to conduct discussions alone. We admit- sibility to backtrack messages, and the suitability of ted that the new tool did not support the type of discus- the platform for each individual’s daily set of tools. The sion we wanted to sustain. The problem was, most likely, problem in a distributed network like AVO is that the pro- caused by the features of the platform that were meant ject members are allocated to work in the project in dif- for a type of use somewhat different from the active ferent ways for different percentages of their time; it is online discussion we desired. Organisaatio-Qaiku struc- not necessarily even possible to involve everyone in dis- tures collaboration in channels, the monitoring and use cussion. This naturally means that information cannot of which was seen as confusing and cumbersome. Or- be passed to everyone on the same platform, making it 2 www.qaiku.com/organisations 3 www.yammer.com16    reports 2012
  17. 17. necessary to apply other communication tools. Messag- It seems that there are conditions related to toolses allow us to form a rather comprehensive picture of and to other issues that are essential for the sense ofwhat the discussion tool users are working with, which community and a pleasant telepresence. As many asissues are troubling them, and what observations they nine respondents mentioned that if the tools work wellhave made in their fields. This information concerning and enable interaction, telepresence is as good an op-individuals who do not use these tools is not accessi- tion as physical presence. The tool as such was con-ble. Online discussion with other project members and sidered important in how it brought others close whothe simple awareness of their simultaneous presence were actually distant. The following replies illustrate thison the platform give a sense of reality for the project point:when traditional face-to-face meetings are impossible. • Flowdock helped people at distance feel closer wellThe web discussion tool also helps disseminate infor- (5 responses) or very well (2 responses) whereasmation, and it enables quick and easy questions to the Organisaatio-Qaiku helped AVO people at distance toothers while creating a sense of familiarity among pro- feel closer poorly (6 responses) or very poorlyject members. (1 response). Only two respondents considered How did we use our online discussion tool? For in- Organisaatio-Qaiku to have succeeded well in thedividual project members, the introduction of the tool creation of the feeling of telepresence.required little more than the acquisition of the user ID • Mostly, it was seen that Flowdock helped AVO peopleand the acknowledgement from the establisher of the become acquainted very well (1 response) or wellnetwork about the acceptance of the member. The on- (5 responses), but one respondent felt it did soline discussion tool was then available, and its use re- poorly.quired very little time. It was always open and formed a • Flowdock was seen to have helped the emergencequick route to distant colleagues. The tools tested for or increase of trust among AVO people very wellAVO use differed, but generally, this type of tool makes (2 responses) or well (5 responses).its presence known in various ways only when new mes- • Communication via Flowdock was seen to havesage alerts come in (sounds, visual indicators for new worked very well (1 response) or well (6 responses),messages). Among the tools tested, Organisaatio-Qaiku and via Organisaatio-Qaiku, well according to fourhad no incoming message alerts. The online discussion respondents and poorly according to fivetool even contained rather much information about the respondents.project, as members included links in their messagesduring their discussions. Therefore, the tool was alsoused for seeking information. Of the tools tested, onlyYammer had a mobile user interface, which made thework of those project members who prefer mobile de-vices that much more difficult. In addition to the mobileuser interface, Yammer offers a specific desktop appli-cation for users who prefer not to operate through theirbrowsers. Yammer is also easy to integrate into vari-ous applications, which makes it easily suited for dailywork with different equipment. Online discussion toolsreduced the amount of e-mail messages, which was oneof the objectives in AVO.FEEDBACK SURVEYSTwo surveys were conducted concerning the use of on-line discussion tools in AVO: the first one was sent out 4 Dozens of people worked in AVO with different percentages of theirafter the transition from Flowdock to Organisaatio-Qai- time. Both surveys had 12 respondents. Seven of the respondents toku, and the second one after the transition from Organ- the first survey used Flowdock relatively actively (two of them used itisaatio-Qaiku to Yammer4. In addition to aspects related weekly and five of them used it daily). There were six active users of Organisaatio-Qaiku, four of them weekly users and two of them dailyto the tested applications, both surveys aimed at study- users. Of the active users, six kept Flowdock open at all times, twoing the wider background changes in the viewing of dis- kept Organisaatio-Qaiku open at all times, and others monitored thetance – the aspects of remoteness and proximity. communication on these channels more sporadically.   reports 2012 17
  18. 18. Chit chat through the online discussion tool was considered important for several reasons: An informal online discussion tool was considered important for the sense of belonging, atmosphere, stress management and work motivation. The online discussion tool was an important channel to reach the others. The online discussion tool enabled informal communication with a low threshold for participation. The online discussion tool benefitted those who use online channels more naturally than other channels. The online discussion tool saved money and made communication more effective. The online discussion tool reduced the project members’ need for travel. The online discussion tool helped disseminate tacit knowledge. The online discussion tool helped externalise thoughts and return to them later. Figure 1. Significance of the online discussion tool for project work in the AVO project. The significance of an informal discussion tool is well illus- • allow including members’ pictures in their profiles trated by a comment from a project member, ”This informal (1 response) tool is essential for me for my work motivation, because no- • not highlight differences in the users’ skill levels body else does this work in my organisation. I need peer dis- too much (1 response). cussion even if it only touched on the weather.” According to our respondents, the tool to be used for online discussion The project members listed tools that they thought cre- and the establishment of a common virtual place should: ated the feeling of presence while there was a physical • make use of the different senses and the respective distance. They included chats, virtual blogs, microblogs, alternative methods of communication (sounds, web communities, web conferencing systems, wikis and speech, written communication such as chat), be- document platforms for collective writing, laptops, tel- cause e.g. written communications do not create any ephones and geographic information services. The an- sense of presence for many people (6 responses) swers varied widely according to the respondents’ tool • be simple, easy and fluent in use (3 responses) preferences and the combinations of such. Personal • be sufficiently real-time; it is important that the preferences and the circumstances and purposes of use application alerts users to new messages in were seen as significant. real time (2 responses) It was said in the responses to the survey that the • enable backtracking messages (2 responses) tool as such was not significant for the arising feeling • be suited for each individual’s daily set of tools of telepresence, and instead there were other factors (1 response) that were decisive, such as people knowing one an-18    reports 2012
  19. 19. The following table presents a comparison of the tested platforms and sheds light onto why Organisaatio-Quaiku wasnot felt as suitable for AVO project discussion as Flowdock and Yammer: FEATURES OF THE TESTED APPLICATIONS COMPARED Clarity of structure and The user interface and operation of Organisaatio-Qaiku were considered confusing and they user interface caused problems for e.g. perceiving which texts belonged to which channels; all in all, the underlying channel-based principles were not understood (9 responses). Users could not enter their texts because they did not know which button to click on to do so, and they could not find new messages and, in particular, the comments to them. Instead, the user interface of Flowdock was considered clear (3 responses), and there were no actually negative comments given concerning it. The general look and feel of Yammer was appreciated. For example, the “like” button was considered important for informal discussion. Yammer was considered similar to Facebook, with which many project members were familiar, and therefore it was easy to use. More features typical to community software were requested for Flowdock (one response). The fact that Organisaatio-Quaiku did not have status updates was considered negative (one response). Suitability for According to the responses, Organisaatio-Qaiku was not suited to the intended purpose due to intended use some of its features. It was not considered suitable for quick-paced daily communication and instant messaging (7 responses), and its daily use was encumbered by the lack of visual or audio alarms for new messages. Organisaatio-Quaiku was not seen as suitable for as small a group as was the AVO project team (2 responses). On the other hand, Organisaatio-Quaiku was seen to be strong in that is stored message chains permanently, which made it particularly suited for asynchronous long-term work, collaboration, information structuring, planning and seminar reporting (5 responses). The first impressions of those who experimented with Yammer were largely positive. The tool seemed handy and well-suited for the intended purposes such as coffee table chit chat, internal communication, keeping up-to-date, and status updates. In addition, discussions seemed to flow better than in Organisaatio-Quaiku (3 responses). Even though Flowdock and Yammer were generally seen to suit discussions such as were desired in AVO, one respondent in the first survey doubted that Flowdock had been the right choice, because it was seen to be better suited for closer-knit daily teamwork whereas AVO work was less close-knit. There were no specific justifications given for this view, and the project members’ experiences of Flowdock were otherwise positive (5 responses). Alerts for new Flowdock was seen to work well, and it was not seen to disturb users with excess information, messages because there were various filters available, and alerts could be adjusted by users to the levels of their preference (1 response). The user interface was simple and clear, and it was possible to grasp everything of interest to oneself at one glance (2 responses). Suitability of the On the basis of these surveys, it is difficult to say what improvements could have been made to application for each fit the online discussion tool any better to every individual’s daily set of tools. For some users, individual’s daily a mobile user interface might have been an improvement. The lack of mobile user interface in set of tools Flowdock and in Organisaatio-Qaiku was experienced as cumbersome (1 response for each). On the other hand, Yammer’s mobile user interface was considered good (1 response), and Yammer’s alternative applications were brought up as viable solutions (2 responses), e.g. a desktop application in addition to the browser application. (There is even a customer-specific Linux application, but it was considered useless.) Features considered cumbersome in the use of Organisaatio-Qaiku included the lack of automatic sign-in (3 responses) and the lack of Digsby interface (1 response). Previous experience in The importance of previous experience as a facilitator for introducing new applications was the use of an application brought up (2 responses). Organisaatio-Qaiku was considered to highlight the differences among project members and to make communication unequal (1 response), because some individuals were experienced users of the tool and that was considered to be too manifest in all communications that took place on that platform.   reports 2012 19
  20. 20. other (3 responses), people being on the same wave- change may even have highlighted the old familiar feel- length and wanting to interact (4 responses), and fun ing that we can be more distant when we are actually and humour being included in the communication (1 re- present than we are when we are at a distance. Technol- sponse). It was considered important for feedback to be ogy has brought new dimensions to physical distance. quick so that the feeling of presence can be created (3 Text- and speech-based communication are not the only responses). “There must be some reaction, preferably means of staying in contact with those distant from us; during the same work day, to the issues you send out various virtual places in 3D make it possible for us to into the communication tool. Without reaction, your trust include the experience of a physical body in our experi- in the operation of the channel deteriorates. If the reac- ence of covering distance. Even though many different tions occasionally come faster (perhaps in a few sec- technologies have existed for a long time, they have not onds only), there is the sense of presence, the sense been introduced into use in any large numbers. Their that we are both or all here now and we can talk.” Indi- introduction raises many different views. Traditional let- vidual differences in the requirements necessary for the ters and telephones are examples of means to cover establishment of telepresence came up: some people distance, even though few of us think of them as such wanted to meet others in the physical world and have now that they are daily tools used by of all of us. the trust established there (2 responses), some people An important concept for studying various aspects of made acquaintance with others quite naturally irrespec- being at distance and being near is telepresence, also tive of medium (1 response). called virtual presence or co-presence. This concept can Face-to-face meetings were considered appropriate be used for describing the sense of experienced pres- (9 responses) for learning to know the others (5 re- ence which emerges when we are at a distance, either sponses) and for the sake of light conversation (4 re- in time or physically, communicating through some form sponses). The need for face-to-face meetings was not of technology. The intensity of the experience may vary, considered to be great after the first face-to-face contact and traditionally, factors affecting this experience have if online communication was working. As some project been sought among the features of the technology ap- members put it, face-to-face meetings “gave spirit and plied – how good are the users’ possibilities for influenc- body to the web characters” and brought leisure and ing how the software works, or how fast is the response variety to distance work. to users’ actions. On the other hand, we must remem- The goal-oriented mode of operation and shared ef- ber that the experience of telepresence is highly indi- forts were also experienced as significant for the feel- vidual and rather difficult to render into a measurable ing of presence (2 responses). Even less close coopera- form, even though different tests have been developed tion was seen to become more fluent through the use precisely for measuring this experience. We should also of tools that enabled telepresence (1 response). Equal remember that the experience of telepresence is always online interaction skills were considered important (1 connected to the presence of other actors in the same response). virtual room as well as to factors specific to the circum- stances and the persons. (Steuer 1993, 11–18, Mokka DISCUSSION & Välkkynen 2002.) What new operational models could there be that would The feedback from AVO surveys also brought up be related to the change in our experience of remote- issues that, in addition to technology, should be dis- ness and nearness that emerged along with new tech- cussed in connection with the creation of the telepres- nologies? What barriers might there be in our thoughts ence experience. Important factors seem to include the and actions that we would need to conquer to make interaction of the participants involved with the use of technologically mediated presence as natural as physi- the tools and the fact that they know one another – and cal presence? The tools were different through which it is difficult to determine which comes first. In a pro- work and changes in work were studied in the two ex- ject or other venture in which people work remotely a amples in this subproject report; however, the study of great deal of their time, it may be difficult to learn to the use of each tool brings out essential aspects of the know the others. It is natural that some individuals get change in the perception of the distant and the near, and in closer contact with some others, and some of the also of the significance of this change for the work itself. people involved know one another from before. However, Technological developments have made it possi- common action and discussion cannot be forced among ble for us to cover distance more and more easily. The even people who know one another if no truly common meanings of being distant and near have changed; the issues exist. The tool as such cannot rescue interac-20    reports 2012
  21. 21. tion and determine upcoming activities, if any. Even with allow himself/herself to be captured by the experiencebasic tools in use, we believe the telepresence experi- caused by the tool. (Steuer 1993, 18.) With experience,ence is the better the more familiar the participants are it is possible to overcome concerns, if any, about toolswith one another. However, a good tool that enables the and transfer attention from tools to issues made possi-telepresence experience may help people learn to know ble by tools and accomplished through tools. The moreone another. Perhaps, as remote work and long distance users focus on the stimuli in the environment and themeetings become more common, people will soon feel deeper they become immersed in it, the stronger theirit natural to work over the web with strangers as well. As experience of presence. (Witmer & Singer 1998, 226–the technology becomes more familiar and routine use 228.)develops in interaction with people we know, we become Discussion concerning whether or not a distanceready to interact with strangers also. communication system can stand in for physical pres- One key aspect in the change of operative models, ence is somewhat problematic, as it sustains the divi-we believe, is the distinction between reality and virtual sion mentioned above. A slightly provocative questionreality. For example, Facebook discussions and commu- on this issue was included in the AVO survey on distancenication are easily stamped trivial anddistinct from real life. However, thesediscussions often deal with eventsthat take place outside the web; theyresemble coffee table conversationsconducted among people at a physicaldistance. Such discussions naturallyhave their limitations that keep themfrom being identical to similar discus-sions at physical coffee tables. Butwe do not wish to deny the genuine What happens in the web is notquality of online coffee table discus-sions: through these discussions, it is distinct from events in real life butquite possible to reach a solution to forms a clear continuum with them.a problem that bothers a participantwho initially brings up the topic, starts What happens in the real world canpondering on it, and receives com- have a continuation in the web..ments and tips from others. The AVOexperience confirms concretely thatit is quick and easy to reach simulta-neously all users through a distancecommunication tool in cases when, for example, there isa question that requires an immediate answer and it isnot quite clear who would be able to provide the answer.What happens in the web is not distinct from events inreal life but forms a clear continuum with them. Whathappens in the real world can have a continuation inthe web. Rational work practices that have emerged withnew tools probably have smoothed out the partly artifi- communication tools. Online meetings are often used tocial distinction between the real and the virtual. Stauer replace face-to-face meetings, but in consortiums likerefers to Laurel’s research results, bringing up the build- AVO in which meetings mainly take place online, the situ-ing of the relation between a user and a technology. The ation is reversed, i.e. online meetings are occasionally,essential elements include the engagement of the user at least, replaced by face-to-face meetings.with the tool, which engagement consists of mainly emo- It is clear, of course, that face-to-face and onlinetional but also of cognitive components. The establish- meetings have their differences today, and neither canment of engagement requires a momentary exclusion of completely stand in for the other, if we wish to contrastall cognitive aspects, or in other words, the user must them so. In the AVO project survey concerning the dis-   reports 2012 21
  22. 22. tance discussion tool, similarly, it came up that face- unpleasant for many people. The fact that information is to-face meetings cannot be completely replaced using stored may involve concerns similar to those observed online tools, but face-to-face meetings are needed clear- in the peer production case study which is also included ly less often than online meetings. More appropriately in this project report. It is still not felt natural to present than speaking of these meeting types’ mutual replace- unfinished or spontaneous thoughts for others, and it ability, perhaps we could speak of the different mean- is, naturally, only good to understand that what is once ings that meetings acquire online and face-to-face. Both posted on the web will always remain in the web. We all types have their own places and they should be con- must find the limit where we feel comfortable. sidered to be in a continuum in relation to one another The development of telepresence systems from sets instead of any juxtaposition. Face-to-face meetings can of equipment in specialised rooms to browser-based facilitate online work, and well-timed, they can promote systems on everyone’s own computers has been one online discussions, keeping them active (Sivunen 2007, step towards personal uses that require few practical 125). In that way, interaction face-to-face and online can arrangements to set up. This is certainly one of the fac- be formed into more fluent wholes instead of keeping tors impacting on how much these systems are used them explicitly separate. and how popular they are; when their use is spontane- The study by Anu Sivunen on technology-mediated ous and takes place on one’s own computer, their use social interaction of dispersed teams observed that in is also quick and easy as long as users have the re- people’s experience, in view of relation-building and re- quired application-specific skills and understand the lation maintenance, technology-mediated interaction is way of working. In addition, the convergence of various secondary to and weaker than face-to-face interaction telepresence applications and services makes them more and more easily available for various mobile de- vices, interlinking synchronous and asynchronous forms of communication and integrating video, audio and still pictures. (Odgen & Jackson (2010, 333, 336). For exam- Cost savings with the use ple, the AVO surveys concerning the distance communi- of distance participation cation tools showed many different preferences for ap- plications and systems. As it would seem important to technologies have been have the whole network using the same tool – to ensure communications, if nothing else – it would be important seen as important in many to ensure that the unsuitability of the tool for members’ organisations. personal practices would not form an essential barrier. The fact that an application is text-based may form a barrier for those who do not use text as their primary communication medium and those who prefer mobile applications may consider it a barrier that an application is not available for mobile devices. However, the range of devices is growing as we speak, and even a smartphone today makes it possible for anyone to attend an online meeting. Standards harmonisation is an important is- even though technology-mediated interaction, in prac- sue on our way towards widely accepted telepresence tice, is made use of for these particular purposes. Face- technologies. How well the experience of telepresence to-face interaction is justified in many ways even though, is created through the various technologies has its ef- in practice, many issues could be handled technology- fects on the user experience and the comfort of it. One mediated as easily as face-to-face. (Sivunen 2007, potential barrier to the experience of telepresence today 225–226.) is, we believe, the technology itself, even though it also Odgen and Jackson (2010, 336) have brought up is an enabler, and enables much more than before. that our culture itself is one of the key prohibitive fac- Cost savings with the use of distance participation tors regarding the acceptance of telepresence systems. technologies are seen as important in many organisa- Many telepresence systems include video connections tions. With this in mind, many employers are ready to to store the interaction. Speaking to the camera and train their staff in the use of these applications. How- using applications with storage media are still outright ever, user training is not necessarily enough if the mode22    reports 2012
  23. 23. of operation is essentially unfamiliar and strange and When studying technology-mediated interaction innot a part of daily life. dispersed teams, Sivunen observed that different com- The AVO project was a pilot that was intended, among munication tools seem to support different types of in-other issues, to monitor the functioning of a network in teraction. Still, the use of communication tools is notwhich the participants mostly were widely dispersed. On- always rational, nor is it founded on which functions ofline tools available from the web were made wide use of, interaction such technologies ought to serve. (Sivunenand because the project was designed to promote the 2007, 221.)use of different tools among its target groups, the wide It was found out that, for the purpose of experienc-range of tools in use was characteristic to the project. ing telepresence or a virtual connection, several issuesDifferent tools had different functions and they were were particularly important: to be able to make use ofused in different circumstances. On the other hand, as different communication channels, the ability of the toolwe experimented with our tools, we noted – as is evident to transmit real-time messages and alert users regard-from the examples in this subproject report – that great ing new messages, the option of backtracking the mes-differences exist between tools, either hindering or help- sage chain, and the suitability of the tool for each indi-ing communication. vidual’s daily set of tools.SOURCESMokka, S. & Välkkynen, P 2002. . Steuer, J. 1993. Defining Virtual Reality: DimensionsPresence. Läsnäolon tunne virtuaaliympäristöissä. determining Telepresence. Journal of communication(Sense of presence in virtual environments.) 42(4), 73–93.Research report 47/2002. VTT ICT. Witmer, B.G. & Singer, M.J. 1998. Measuring PresenceOdgen, M.R. & Jackson, S. 2010. Telepresence. in Virtual Environments: A Presence Questionnaire.In August E. Grant & Jennifer H. Meadows (Eds.) Presence: Teleoperators and Virtual Environments 7(3),Communication Technology Update and Fundamentals 225–240.(Twelfth Edition), 322–341.Sivunen, A. 2007. Vuorovaikutus, viestintäteknologia jaidentifioituminen hajautetuissa tiimeissä.(Social interaction, communication technology andidentification in virtual teams.) Jyväskylä studies inhumanities 79. Jyväskylä: University of Jyväskylä.   reports 2012 23
  24. 24. 24    reports 2012
  25. 25. Ari-Matti Auvinen and Kaisa Honkonen-Ratinen, HCI Productions Oy Case: Social media education for teachers and the development of this education This subproject report will focus on the qualitative development of teachers’ social media education. The trainers’ stories of their own experiences form our most essential sources. These experiences were charted and enlarged upon in an expert panel session arranged for the trainers.BACKGROUND AND INTRODUCTIONIn 2010 and 2011, the Open Networks for Learning (AVO)project implemented a three-tier training programme insocial media for educators in secondary education andtertiary vocational education. The programme consistedof a model which familiarised students with social me-dia as a concept and a phenomenon as if quickly dipping thematic depththem into it, then expanding their skills with a teacher-controlled dive, finally prompting them to dive into the Depthsdepths to implement their own social media projects,supported by their trainers (see Figure 1). The need for social media education is evident in Diveeducational institutions. According to a study by Statis-tics Finland, Finnish school children and students are Dipactive users of social media, but the use of social mediadeclines clearly in older age groups (see table 1). At the moment, it seems that teachers do not quite number of participantsrecognise, much less make use of, the educational pos-sibilities available through social media. This could bepartly caused by the fact that, maybe due to their lack oftime, they have not been able to familiarise themselves Figure 1   reports 2012 25
  26. 26. TABLE 1 Has used the Uses the Has registered as a Follows a web-based Has posted messages Age internet during the internet several user in a web-based service no less in the web (groups, Has read blogs group past 3 months times a day community service often than daily communities) 16–24 99 % 73 % 89 % 75 % 83 % 49 % 25–34 100 % 80 % 79 % 62 % 78 % 54 % 35–44 99 % 76 % 60 % 38 % 58 % 45 % 45–54 95 % 60 % 32 % 18 % 29 % 30 % 55–64 81 % 41 % 16 % 9% 15 % 20 % 65–74 53 % 23 % 9% 2% 6% 11 % Source: Statistics Finland: Use of information and communications technology [online publication]. ISSN=1799-3504. 2010. Helsinki: Statistics Finland [accessed 28 Oct 2011]. with this versatile and changing field. The objectives of selected teachers were intended to be attending the ex- this training programme, implemented in AVO, included tended modules Dive and Depths. integrating social media to the daily life in education and All participants were offered the opportunity to use a training in a practical way. structured materials wiki in which trainers collected ma- Experiences were charted and enlarged upon in an terials on social media, samples, and instructions. The expert trainers’ panel session, in which theme-based wiki remained in the use of the learners after the train- discussions were held. In addition to information from ing. The idea was also to disseminate best practices these discussions, our source material for this report concerning educational uses of social media. consists of the training programme’s administrative doc- Dip was a one-day introductory course which familiar- uments (including offers) and the course materials used ised the students with the extent and richness of social during training sessions (in particular, the materials wiki media. In addition to educational staff, this course was and the trainers’ internal electronic communications). intended for support functions such as administration, This subproject report will strictly limit itself to evaluat- project management, IT support, communications etc. ing the parts of AVO implemented by the University of The course was based on lectures by experts concern- Tampere. We will not discuss general participant feed- ing the world of social media, the various tools (e.g. back or any other feedback possibly collected. Wikipedia, Facebook, Linked-In, blogs, GoogleDocs etc.) and their use, as well as the netiquette and information THE PEDAGOGICAL AND METHODOLOGICAL security of social media. FRAMEWORK OF THE TRAINING PROGRAMME Dive was implemented in four half-day workshops. The training model consisted of three independent but These workshops focused on one or two themes, e.g. interlinked modules: Dip, Dive and Depths in the world the educational use of blogs and wikis, or the work-re- of social media. The idea was to have all teachers in- lated uses of shared documents. The students acquired volved in the programme to attend Dip, whereas only user ID’s for several key tools and learned about them26    reports 2012

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