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Developing a Web 2.0 Strategy

Slides from a talk by
Michael Webb on "Developing a Web 2.0 Strategy" given at the Institutional Web Management Workshop (IWMW) 2006 on 14 June 2006.


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Developing a Web 2.0 Strategy

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