ALT-C 2009, Manchester, 08 Sept 2009 the use of next generation technologies to build sustainable communities of practice
a user-centred learning technology R&D support community network http:// reports.jiscemerge.org.uk /
Developing projects in a context where there is awareness of the wider activity in a field and an understanding of the alignments and gaps in that field will lead to better projects being developed.
By using community development processes and social networking in the field the general quality of educational (learning) technology development projects may be improved, bringing benefits not just to the JISC but more widely to all agencies and stakeholders.
The Emerge Project used Web2.0 technologies with a user-centred, research-led approach based on Appreciative Inquiry, which was explicitly intended to be productive of positive change. Based on real individuals, not abstractions or learner profiles or models but actual individual people, who kick back, re-interpret, resist, subvert, play and work in many ways, often unexpected It is important to recognise that the community itself is multi-modal, and not conflate “community” with any one mode, e.g. the “platform”
user-centred, Freirian approach to community formation
activities authentic to the participants’ cultural context
… participants in the proto-projects, projects and the community of practice are themselves a user group working in a user centred environment, modelling the user engagement development cycle and applying asset-based community development processes
It is an actor network, not a software platform or an institution
Members join closed community Groups form around shared interests User engagement Aggregation of communication Benefits realisation Synthesis and capacity building Passing on, sustaining
pro-active IT Service Management (ITSM) methodology for the design, development and deployment of services using Web2.0 technologies to create online social spaces
Benefits Realisation (BR) activities sought to ensure that the outputs and outcomes of the Users and Innovations (U&I) projects went beyond those originally funded and reached the wider community.
For individuals and projects
professional development/capacity building
E xtrapolated to the institution/department
Stimulated & f acilitated collaboration
Improved project planning and management
Awareness of the relevance of projects in a wider context
An effective support system
Visibility, connectivity and discovery?
Or … obscurity, isolation and at times wandering lost.
The form and patterns of interaction, which develop across a community over time, cannot be predetermined
The use of participatory social media is multi-modal
The articulation between people and software is not just a question of interface design (though that is crucial)
The effective use of Web2.0 depends essentially on human networks.
… unevenly distributed
Shifting centres of control
greater individual user autonomy and self-direction
reduced institutional control and direction, of learning, of research and of community engagement
Abstract, institutional, funding-body, project or developer-centred
Rather than learner-centred, concrete, practice-based and personal
reports that are filed, models and demonstrators that are rarely adopted, standards, specifications and reference models which may well express best intentions but do not achieve currency
Outputs or outcomes?
Producing artefacts or building capacity?
Quantitative or qualitative measures?
Easy answers or the deep complexity of institutional change?
Through the U&I Programme a real effort has been made to transform practice based on the needs of individual users working in institutions
Real change starts with underlying models Finance Implementation Systems Profiles Disciplines Sectors Roles Standards Locations Institutions Open?
Sustainable community practice
to what extent are they comfortable with ceding certain amounts of control to individuals?
to what extent are they, as established communities, willing to cede control to new communities?
to what extent do they subordinate their autonomy and self-direction to any community?
And, then, how much do they subordinate and to which?
Self-selected (autonomous, self-directed) individuals build networks to meet broader social objectives beyond the ‘daily-me’ ... Networked individuals can move across, undermine, and transgress boundaries of existing institutions. This provides the basis for pro-social networks: neither personal nor institutional. These self-selected, internet enabled, networked individuals often break from existing organisational or institutional networks that are themselves being transformed in Internet space... The ability that the Internet affords individuals to network beyond institutional arenas reinforces communicative power . (Dutton 2008, 5 th Estate, 5-6 my paraphrase ) A Connected Commons Acting in British constitutional history
There is a clear need to support emergent semi-formal and pre-formal networks to reach maturity,
while recognising that clusters of individuals, as often as not, will start to cohere and then for any number of reasons abandon the effort.
Only a few semi-formal networks will attain the pre-formal stage
Few of these will cohere and formally constitute themselves
The process of emergence is valuable and at each stage may produce useful outputs.
Emergent innovation themes
personal, public and in-between
for accreditation aligned with portals
access, openness, progression, colonialism or democratisation
Institutional strategy and policy areas
Economic recovery and public funding
Quality, standards and reputation
Research and development governance
Social mobility, equality, democracy
Institutions need to provide
Efficiency, effectiveness and quality
Sustainable technological solutions
Enhanced community networks
Access to strategic advice, demonstrators and detailed guidance
Conditions for success
There had to be affective advantage to affiliation. Of course there were also those who though that if it wasn't hurting, it wasn't working.
Thank you George Roberts Project Director [email_address] http://jiscemerge.org.uk Josie Fraser Steve Warburton Paul Bailey Emma Anderson Marion Samler Rhona Sharpe Joe Rosa Chris Fowler Isobel Falconer Nik Bessis Mitul Shukla Graham Attwell Brian Kelly Glenaffric and all the jiscemerge people, projects, partners, steering groups and teams