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Community Led Activities


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Talk on "Community Led Activities" given at JISC Emerge online event on 7 June 2007.

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Community Led Activities

  1. 1. Community-Led Activities Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath BA2 7AY Email [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: <ul><li>About This Talk </li></ul><ul><li>Questions to be addressed: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>What useful work can be done without significant project funding? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What are the benefits of community-led activities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can community activities help to enhance project proposals? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How can community-led activities help to embed project-funded deliverables? </li></ul></ul>This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) Resources bookmarked using ‘ jisc-emerge-2007-06-07 ' tag
  2. 2. About The Speaker <ul><li>Brian Kelly: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>UK Web Focus – an advisory post which provides advices on making effective use of the on Web (with focus on standards, emerging Web technologies) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Involved in Web work since January 1993 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Providing support on Web 2.0 / social networks to Emerge project </li></ul></ul><ul><li>About UKOLN: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>National centre of expertise in digital information management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Based at the University of Bath </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Funded by MLA and JISC to support the cultural heritage and higher/further education sectors </li></ul></ul>Introduction
  3. 3. About This Talk <ul><li>View of history of development work (over-simplified): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Project proposals developed by individuals, institutions or groups in competition with others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Successful bids develop deliverables, with community engagement limited to formal tasks </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Vision for exploiting Communities of Practices: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits of openness being appreciated (open source, open standards, open data, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Benefits of social networks being appreciated ( wisdom of crowds ) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking technologies are pervasive </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We (individuals, groups, institutions) can be enriched by community engagement </li></ul></ul>Introduction Note current debate on approaches for institutional repositories
  4. 4. IR Debate Will formal projects be slow to respond to changes to the environment (technical, cultural)? Can projects do “quick and dirty” – even if that’s what users want? Are we repeating Coloured Books?
  5. 5. Aims of Session <ul><li>This talk (and follow-up discussion) aims to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide a better understanding of benefits of community-led activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Give examples of community-led activities </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Invite suggestions and discussion on community-led activities for Emerge community </li></ul></ul>Introduction “ If not us, then who? If not now, then when?” Within the context of U&I / Emerge’s remit for rapid development, testing, learning, iteration, etc. which may lead to new best practices for development work
  6. 6. Why Community? <ul><li>Successful deliverables require range of expertise: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Visionary, innovative thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User-focussed thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Development expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Dissemination expertise </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User engagement </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Using a community can enable better products to be delivered </li></ul>Understanding
  7. 7. Why Community-Led? <ul><li>Its what we expect these days: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We encourage students to take responsibility for aspects of their own learning </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why should we expect all ideas & initiatives in projects to develop within projects teams, advisory groups and input from funders? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>It provides diversity: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Staff development </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploitation of new ideas, technologies, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Avoids the “ We tried that in the C20 th and it didn’t work ” mentality </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Challenges orthodoxies which may no longer be valid </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>Understanding
  8. 8. Why Now? <ul><li>Why is it appropriate to take this approach now? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Technical infrastructure in place: RSS, ‘cool URIs’, clean(-ish) HTML and CSS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 focus on user-generated content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Diverse set of application environments available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy to use (users won’t want training or read manuals) </li></ul></ul>Understanding This covers the technical reasons why it is timely to exploit social networking software. Non-technical reasons are out-of-scope for this talk.
  9. 9. Why Not? <ul><li>What if Google, … goes out of business? </li></ul><ul><li>What about copyright, data protection, …? </li></ul><ul><li>But I’m a developer – I’ll be out of a job  </li></ul><ul><li>I’m a manager – what about use in mission-critical areas? </li></ul>Understanding
  10. 10. Why Not? Really? <ul><li>What if Google, … goes out of business? </li></ul><ul><li>What about copyright, data protection, …? </li></ul><ul><li>But I’m a developer – I’ll be out of a job  </li></ul><ul><li>I’m a manager – what about use in mission-critical areas? </li></ul>Can you guarantee ongoing provision of your deliverables, your institutions’ or the government’s? And what if Google thrives? Risk assessment & management; we’ve been here in 1990s - and the world may change (cf. YouTube & Warner music) World doesn’t owe you a job writing software which isn’t needed! You’ll have a job doing the integration, support, … Risk assessment & management; provision of alternatives; migration plans; user engagement; sharing experiences, … Understanding “ Risk Assessment For Use Of Third Party Web 2.0 Services ”, QA Focus
  11. 11. Why Not? (2) <ul><li>We need to do server-side proper development </li></ul><ul><li>Our SysAdmins say: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Too busy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It’s complicated; we’d need to upgrade Perl libraries, install new version of database, wait until a full moon; … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Sorry, can’t open that port – “There be dragons” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Add you own story here </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Why Not? Really? (2) <ul><li>It’s not just about, Flickr, Facebook, … </li></ul><ul><li>You can also use third party ISPs, which can provide 2-click interfaces to applications e.g. Site5’s Fantastico/Cpanel provides: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Moodle </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wordpress </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Drupla </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>PHP … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Or use Amazon S3 / EC2 to rent storage, CPU cycles, APIs, … </li></ul>For ~ $6/month!
  13. 13. The IWMW Community (1) <ul><li>Institutional Web management profession: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Newish profession (circa 1994-5) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Initial enthusiasm, then awareness of role as pawn in institutional power struggles  </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Establishment of: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>web-support then website-info-mgt mailing lists set up in mid-1990s </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) established in 1997 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Held annually since then </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>150+ delegates attend </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Now several generations of participants </li></ul></ul>Examples
  14. 14. The IWMW Community (2) <ul><li>Strengths of the community: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared goals and interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Shared challenges (lack of resources, unreasonable expectations, difficult users  , …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Annual F2F helps community building </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Weaknesses: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Focus on helping with specific (often technical) problems and sharing solutions </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited opportunities for strategic thinking </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Limited exploitation strengths of community and social network technology (still many primarily using JISCMail lists – but some isolated uses of blogs, wikis, …) </li></ul></ul>Examples
  15. 15. IWMW 2007 <ul><li>IWMW 2007: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>University of York on 16-18 July (now fully subscribed) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Building on technical innovations from previous years (WiFi network, real-time chat, wikis, folksonomies, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This year: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovation Competition encouraging submissions which are: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>User-focussed </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Light-weight </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>‘ Cool’ – user response of “Wow”, “I wish I’d thought of that!”, “We must do that”, … </li></ul></ul></ul>Examples
  16. 16. Supporting The Competition (1) <ul><li>To encourage community-led development work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide data for techies to exploit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide open access (CC) to avoid legal problems </li></ul></ul>Examples events/workshops/iwmw/rss-feeds
  17. 17. Supporting The Competition (2) <ul><li>To encourage community-led development work: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide data for techies to exploit </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide open access (CC) to avoid legal problems </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide service which interests users (& funders – is the UK community involved?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provide open service which others can build on (e.g. timelines, clouds, …) </li></ul></ul> Note icon may represent multiple speakers from an institution or region
  18. 18. Managing The Risks <ul><li>What if nobody enters the competition? </li></ul><ul><li>Avoiding The Problem </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can incentivize the competition (a prize – depending on budget and sponsorship, kudos, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can highlight personal benefits (add to CV) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can highlight organisational benefits (University of X won an award for Y) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can encourage our friends to enter </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can provide examples of developments ourselves </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Learning For Next Year </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We can gain feedback and encourage competitors & non-competitors to share their experiences </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can encourage them to join in next year (its new for them and they weren’t sure of what to do) </li></ul></ul>Examples
  19. 19. Ideas For Competition <ul><li>Some ideas (but should I be explicit?): </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Location map of all 11 IWMWs. Done – but can it be enhanced (e.g. cloud maps from abstracts of speakers’ talks) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Map of location of all plenary speakers (done) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Delegate maps. Are we attracting participants from across the country? Which institutions have never attended? What’s the carbon cost of delegates travelling? (Note data protection, privacy, etc. issues) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Timeline. V0.1 done – but potential for richer timelines </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>RSS feeds – many provided for use by others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>YouTube video, Second Life, … </li></ul></ul>Examples
  20. 20. About The Learning <ul><li>The competition may be fun and useful applications developed </li></ul><ul><li>More importantly it’s an opportunity to: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Try something new </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain feedback from friendly audience </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Gain understanding of potential of lightweight Web 2.0 technologies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Understand how your data can be reused by others (to everyone’s benefit) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Break down the ‘we must do everything ourselves’ attitude </li></ul></ul>Examples
  21. 21. Application To Emerge <ul><li>Emerge Community Generated Activity Policy RFC </li></ul><ul><li>For a community to be successful: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Members have common interests </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Feeling of openness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Members need to develop </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Links with others </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Energy and enthusiasm </li></ul></ul><ul><li>This relates closely with the approaches taken with the IWMW community </li></ul>Emerge See Community generated activity policy , <>
  22. 22. Groupings <ul><li>How should effective groups emerge? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Common interests in topics or diversity of interests? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Common personal interests (fellow techies) or diversity of interests? </li></ul></ul><ul><li>And what other groups may there be? </li></ul>Suggestions Topic Areas PLEs Virtual environments Mobile technologies Usability … Personal Areas Technical expertise User engagement Advocacy Writing, scripting, broadcasting ,… Speaking, performing, role-playing, … Research … What Else? … …
  23. 23. Questions For Discussion <ul><li>Some issues: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Are you happy with the rationale for community-led activities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What areas do you think would be appropriate as community-led activities? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>How will you progress this? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>What other issues would you like to discuss today? </li></ul></ul>Suggestions
  24. 24. My Thoughts <ul><li>Simple individual activities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Sharing info on good venues for events: e.g. with WiFi) – tag of recommended-venues ( recommended-hotels , …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Group activity: risk assessment for Web 2.0 services </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Contribute to wiki (Wikipedia?) on governance of service (ownership, bank balance, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Whois++ to establish dates, ownership, .. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Document experiences (use cases, successes, failures, management approaches, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Make this stuff open and widely available </li></ul></ul>Suggestions
  25. 25. Questions <ul><li>Any questions? </li></ul>