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A Strategy for Web 2.0


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A presentation given at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2006.

A presentation given at the Institutional Web Management Workshop 2006.

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  • 1. A Strategy for Web 2.0 Michael Webb Head of IT and Media Services University of Wales, Newport The work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.5 licence. Caveats: this excludes the Bebo and Think.Com screenshots. The University of Wales, Newport logo most not be modified in any way.
  • 2. Presentation Overview
    • Background
      • Very brief Web 2.0 introduction
      • Our use of web for teaching and learning
    • Developing the Strategy
      • Relationship between IT and the student experience
      • How we updated the strategy
    • Implementing the Strategy
      • Learning more about Web 2.0
      • Technical, Teaching and Learning and Marketing
      • Other issues
    • What we plan to do next
      • Turning the strategy into a service
  • 3. What do I mean by Web 2.0?
    • “… a second generation of services available on the World Wide Web that lets people collaborate and share information online” (Wikipedia 12 th May 2006)
  • 4. Web for teaching and learning
    • 2003 : We’d reached a crossroads with our (commercial) VLE and had a chance to rethink our strategy.
    • Our Question:
    • “ Which VLE should we use?” Wrong Question!
    • Our Question v2
    • What was our strategic aim for the VLE from a Teaching and Learning Perspective?
    • How do we want our staff and students to interact?
    • Our initial answer:
    • We wanted as many lecturers to make course materials available as possible.
  • 5. myLearning Essentials 1.0
    • Our solution:
    • Build a (technically basic) portal
    • Add in the functionality we wanted
    • Make it so we could add more functionality later
    • (Similar in spirit to the JISC MLE framework but technically much less ambitious!)
  • 6. myLearning Essentials 1.0
    • Functionality:
    • Distribute course material
    • Course discussions
    • Access to documents off-site
    • Access to better web email
    • University news
    • Focus was largely on the University communicating with students
  • 7. myLearning Essentials 1.1
    • A year later added in more functionality, changing the communication flow:
    • Student-to-Student
      • For Sale boards
      • Accommodation wanted/offered etc
    • Student-to-University
      • ‘ Poll of the month’
  • 8. 2004: Time to update the IT Strategy…
    • University's Strategic Aim No.1 :
    • “ To provide the highest quality student experience possible as the highest priority for the University of Wales, Newport”
    • Question : “What is the greatest contribution IT can make to the Student Experience?”
  • 9. What makes a good student experience?
    • Good computing facilities?
    • Reliable service?
    • Friendly support?
    • Good VLE?
    • … ?
    • What else?
  • 10. Time to step back and take a wider view
    • Blogs starting to get media coverage
    • eBay and iTunes entering mainstream
    • “ What Can Internet Technologies Offer” - Brian Kelly – UCISA Conference 2004
    • “ IM” “Blogs” “Wikis” “FOAF” “Let’s Kill Email”
  • 11. Our conclusion
    • Emerging (Web 2.0) technologies could play an important role in supporting the University’s main strategic aim.
    • i.e. contribute to the overall student experience, not just improve teaching (although hopefully it would do that as well!)
  • 12. Updating the IT Strategy
    • Two important statements made:
    • We will support existing (or emerging) Web 2.0 technologies such as Blogs, Wikis etc
      • Caveats relate to resourcing rather than technical issues
    • 2) We are going to become an adaptive, agile service, and quickly support new technologies.
    • Funding for innovation included in the IT strategy .
  • 13. Turning the strategy into action
    • We needed to learn more.
    • Our approach:
      • Use the technology!
      • Find out what your future students may want
      • Find out what the students are doing
      • Ask the students what they want
  • 14. Using the technology: What did we find out?
    • Release our inner ‘digital native’…
    • We set up our own Blogs, Wiki and Jabber services, and used them to discuss the technologies – it worked!
  • 15. What are our future students doing?
    • School children being are introduced to blogging when they are as young as 7 or 8 years old…
    • … see as a great example
  • 16. What are our current students doing?
    • Our students use Web 2.0 applications eg.
    • to form social networks relating to the University.
    • Join it! (although it may make you feel old!)
  • 17. What are our current students are doing (2) ?
    • Student are using freely available web applications to create their own communities.
    • Some presented the University in a good light, others maybe didn’t
  • 18. What do our current students want?
    • myLearning Essentials Poll
    • Showed some level of interest in all technologies:
    • 64% wanted SMS notifications
    • 45% IM
    • 40% Discussion Boards
    • 33% Blogs, wiki, web space, social networking
  • 19. Summary of the things we learnt (1)
    • Students are already using Web 2.0 technologies, both to support their courses and for socials reasons.
    • We can no longer control the University’s web presence, even if we wanted to.
    • Providing these sorts of services is not without risks
    • The risks don’t all go away if we ignore these technologies.
  • 20. Summary of the things we learnt (2)
    • We can change the communication channels:
      • University  Student (1.0)
      • Student  University (1.1)
      • Student  Student (1.1)
      • Staff/Student  Staff/Student (2.0)
      • Staff/Student  The World (2.0)
    • This is exciting from a student experience perspective!
    • The world is changing rapidly and we really do need to change too if our services aren’t going to be boring and irrelevant!
  • 21. Technical/IT Challenges (1)
    • What services, if any do we need to provide?
      • Isn’t it all available out there for free?
      • What ‘value-added’ can/should we provide?
    • Conclusion: We do need to provide some services:
      • At the moment students and staff aren’t all able to ‘just do it’
      • We can provide good user support for beginners
      • We can combine services to create a sense of community
      • There are some important extras that we can add if we provide services ourselves (eg auto creation of RSS feed lists)
  • 22. Technical/IT Challenges (2)
    • Services we think we should provide:
      • Blogs
      • Instant Messaging
      • Wiki(s)
      • RSS enable Forums
      • Photo Galleries
      • SMS texting
      • Web 1.0 space
    • Services we think we should support/encourage
      • Social networking
      • Instant Messaging (external)
  • 23. Technical/IT Challenges (3)
    • How does our technical strategy need to change?
      • Move to open source software? What extra skills do we need?
      • New development skills (eg Ajax)
      • Being more agile and providing services quicker
      • Accepting the world of perpetual beta?
      • Standardisation? One package fits all?
  • 24. Teaching and Learning Challenges (1)
    • Do we need to engage academic staff, or is this just a social media?
    • How do we engage academic staff?
      • Find a few advocates – others will be thinking the same thing
      • Give them early access to the technology
      • Ask for their views!
    • How could this technology be used?
      • How does this relate to traditional VLE functionaility?
      • Specific projects - eg Blogs as reflective journals?
    • What about information literacy?
  • 25. Teaching and Learning Challenges (2)
    • How to we stop ‘technology overload’ for academic staff?
      • Many are still getting to grips with our VLE/Web 1.0 technologies
      • We are going to ‘sell’ this is a service for students in the first instance.
    • What sort language do we use to describe these services?
      • Person-centric vs Topic-centric?
      • Asking vs Telling?
      • How do you explain when to use a blog, a wiki or a forum?
  • 26. Marketing Challenges
    • How does this fit into our existing Web 1.0 site?
      • Still a need for this for formal, structured information
    • What if people say ‘the wrong thing’?
      • They will anyway!
      • Hopefully people will present a positive image as well.
    • How do we use this technologies to sell the University?
  • 27. Other issues
    • Clear from our forum experience you need clear guidelines on use
    • Legal issues e.g. libel – need good procedures for removing material if necessary
    • What do we do if it all goes wrong? Make services internal only? Remove them completely?
  • 28. What we plan to do next…
    • Fully deploy Web 2.0 technology!
    • Plans for next academic year:
      • MyCommunity (working title!) – blogs, wikis, RSS enabled forums etc provided to everyone
      • Instant Messenger and SMS Texting services added
      • Research projects on using Web 2.0 technologies for teaching
  • 29. Summary
    • Web 2.0 technologies can be used to improve student experience
    • Our IT Strategy commits us to:
      • Support Web 2.0
      • Be agile and support new technologies
    • To implement the strategy we needed to learn more by:
      • Using the technology
      • Looking inside and outside the University
    • There are a range of technical, teaching and learning issues to consider, but they aren’t insurmountable
  • 30. Question and Contact Details
    • Any Questions?
    • Contact details:
    • Email:
    • Blog: