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Let's Do It Now! Mainstream Uses Of Collaborative Technologies

A talk on "Let's Do It Now! Mainstream Uses Of Collaborative Technologies" given at the Stargazers 2006 Conference on "Social technologies: from pioneers to mainstream use?" in Edinburgh on 24 November 2006.
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Let's Do It Now! Mainstream Uses Of Collaborative Technologies

  1. 1. Let’s Do It Now: Mainstream Uses Of Collaborative Technologies Brian Kelly UKOLN University of Bath Bath Email [email_address] UKOLN is supported by: Acceptable Use Policy Recording/broadcasting of this talk, taking photographs, discussing the content using email, instant messaging, Blogs, SMS, etc. is permitted providing distractions to others is minimised. This work is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 2.0 licence (but note caveat) edinburgh-2006-11-24 tag used in
  2. 2. Contents <ul><li>Web 2.0 – A Recap </li></ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 – Let’s Use It </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Wikis </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Communications </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture of openness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always beta </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Addressing Organisational barriers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Understanding our culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Risk assessment and risk management </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deployment strategies </li></ul></ul>
  3. 3. Web 2.0 <ul><li>What Is Web 2.0? </li></ul><ul><li>Marketing term (derived from observing 'patterns') rather than technical standards - “an attitude not a technology” </li></ul>Web2MemeMap, Tim O’Reilly, 2005 <ul><li>Characteristics Of Web 2.0 </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Network as platform </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Remix and mash-ups </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Syndication (RSS) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Architecture of participation </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Blogs & Wikis </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social networking </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Social tagging (folksonomies) </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Trust and openness </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always beta </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Clean URIs </li></ul></ul>Web 2.0
  4. 4. Takeup Of New Technologies <ul><li>The Gartner curve </li></ul>Developers Rising expectations Trough of despair Service plateau Enterprise software Large budgets … Early adopters Web 2.0 <ul><li>Chasm </li></ul><ul><li>Failure to go beyond developers & early adopters (cf Gopher) </li></ul><ul><li>Need for: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Listening to users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Addressing concerns </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Deployment strategies </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>This talks looks at approaches for avoiding the chasm
  5. 5. Blogs – A Steer From Management <ul><li>Warwick’s Blog service illustrates how an institutional Blog can provide a thriving community (and isn’t this a key part of the university experience?) </li></ul>Web 2.0 <ul><li>John Dale’s Blog shows how: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>IT Service staff can engage with their users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>A more egalitarian approach - the IT Manager know something about IT, but users may know more! (this reflects current learning orthodoxies) </li></ul></ul>Michael Webb, Newport is an example of a Blogging IT Director
  6. 6. Blogs – Grassroots Approach <ul><li>Science librarian at University of Bath has set up a Blog on Blogger </li></ul><ul><li>Users love it – “ Why isn’t there a Blog for the rest of the library ” </li></ul> Q : Should I be doing this? A : No – make a recommendation to your manager; write a proposal; if accepted then WG set up; it reports back and recommendations probably deferred! This is a good example of Web 2.0 philosophies of “user-focus”, “always beta” and “trust”: trust your professionals do be innovative in supporting their users & to be flexible & learn from experiences
  7. 7. Wikis – Grassroots Approach <ul><li>Same librarian used a Wiki for a group planning production of a Podcast guide to the Library: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>User engagement in process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Users (including students) make use of emerging technologies (Wiki, Podcasts) </li></ul></ul> <ul><li>Advantages: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>No waiting for IT Services evaluation of Wiki software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can feed experiences back to IT Services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Can address non-IT issues </li></ul></ul>Grass roots experiences can feed into process for an institutional solution, including technical; training & strategy issues
  8. 8. Wikis – Institutional Approach <ul><li>There’s an awareness of a need for institutional Wiki strategies. </li></ul><ul><li>Addressed at UKOLN’s “ Exploiting The Potential Of Wikis ” workshop, Nov 2006 </li></ul><ul><li>Need for Wikis seems to be agreed. Challenges: </li></ul> <ul><li>Wiki strategy options: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Centralised Wiki provision (and the best is …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>De-centralised Wiki provision (horses for courses) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Bundled Wiki provision (it comes with the VLE) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Out-sourced Wiki provision (Thatcherite or Web 2.0 network as an application provider) </li></ul></ul>Confluence and MediaWiki seemed preferred options at workshop.
  9. 9. Communications – Skype <ul><li>Skype: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Evil bandwidth-stealing proprietary software – use SIP software </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Innovative, easy-to-use, immensely popular software – and all my friends & colleagues use it </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Case studies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ban </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Buy network shaper box to “remove illegal P2P traffic in order to provide quality Skype service to users” </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Respond to user concerns in halls by banning, but allow managed use on campus, until better solution available </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Educate user: don’t use over WiFi; … (AUP at UKOLN Wiki workshop) </li></ul></ul>Just-in-time accessibility: participants missed train, but used Skype (and Gabbly) to take part in Accessibility Summit. Conclusion: have Skype ID just-in-case (and as carbon-quota plan)!
  10. 10. The Barriers <ul><li>There are barriers to the deployment of Web 2.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>It's scary: I've just mastered Dreamweaver; we've just spend a lot of money on a CMS; … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>It's immature: I've heard it all before (XML, Semantic Web, …) . This is just new hype </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>There are legal risks: Copyright infringement; data protection; protection of minors; … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Infringement of guidelines: Web 2.0 infringes our AUP; accessibility legislation; e-Gov legislation; .. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Institutional inertia: We'd like to do it but we have large existing systems; reluctant colleagues; … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Culture : We’ve always first evaluated & then mastered the software; how can we support multiple Web 2.0 service? And it needs to be open source so we can tweak it </li></ul></ul>Web 2.0 Barriers How do we go about addressing these barriers? (And should we – what if the concerns are legitimate!)
  11. 11. Addressing The Barriers <ul><li>It breaks accessibility guidelines; open standards; AUPs; etc. </li></ul><ul><ul><li>There is a need to ensure existing guidelines & interpretations in these areas are flexible enough to take into account technological developments, emerging usage patterns, etc </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See work on holistic approach to Web accessibility </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>See work on contextual approach to standards </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need for an Acceptable Use Policy Process (AUPP) to ensure that AUPs aren’t used as a control mechanisms but as a means of maximising benefits of services for IT users & providers </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. Nobody Likes Us - The Users' View <ul><li>IT Services – prvoding the answers or blocking the users? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't understand learning and teaching and think that students only ever use the Web for messing around. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Have no interest in what the users actually want and generally prefer to give the users what they themselves think they want. (I've seen senior IS staff dismiss the data gathered in formal user requirements gathering exercises because it doesn't fit their own viewpoint.) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Tend to work in silos (example: student information systems team which won't talk to the VLE team), and will do anything to avoid working with others outside of their own silo. They have no concept of team working across services or with academic staff. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Consultation usually consists of them telling you what they are going to do . If you tell them what you want they don't listen! </li></ul></ul>IT Services Barrier Do these comments ring any bells? If not, how can you be sure?
  13. 13. Beware The IT Fundamentalists <ul><li>We need to avoid simplistic solutions to the complexities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Standards Fundamentalist: we just need XML </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Open Source Fundamentalist: we just need Linux </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vendor Fundamentalist: we must need next version of our enterprise system (and you must fit in with this) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Accessibility Fundamentalist: must do WAI WCAG </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>User Fundamentalist: we must do whatever users want </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Legal Fundamentalist: it breaches copyright, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ownership Fundamentalist: must own everything </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Perfectionist : It doesn't do everything, so we'll do nothing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Simplistic Developer : I've developed a perfect solution – I don't care if it doesn't run in the real world </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 Fundamentalist : Must use latest cool stuff </li></ul></ul>IT Services Barrier
  14. 14. The Librarian Fundamentalists <ul><li>Librarians: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Think they know better than the user e.g. they don't like people using Google Scholar; they should use Web of Knowledge (who cares that users find it easier to use Google Scholar & finds references they need that way?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Think that users should be forced to learn Boolean searching & other formal search techniques because this is good for them (despite Sheffield's study). </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Don't want the users to search for themselves (cf folksonomies) because they won't get it right. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>They still want to classify the entire Web - despite the fact that users don't use their lists of Web links. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Want services to be perfect before they release them to users. They are uneasy with the concept of 'forever beta' (they don't believe that users have the ability to figure things out themselves and work around the bugs). </li></ul></ul>Library Barrier
  15. 15. Addressing the Barriers <ul><li>How do we address such barriers: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>A change in culture </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Being more open (surely what HE & public sector is about?) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Revisiting AUPs </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing more sophisticated models for standards, accessibility, open sources, … </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Developing key principles </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ongoing debate and discussion </li></ul></ul>Cultural Change
  16. 16. Need To Change Catch Phrases <ul><li>Computer Says No! </li></ul><ul><li>Time to ditch this catch phrase </li></ul>Wikis? IT Services says no Folksonomies? Library says no Skype? UKERNA says no Culture Change X Yer, but, no, but, yer Time to embrace the ambiguities acknowledged by Vicky Pollard Yer, like Wikis are well cool, but, OK so I copied my homework, but, like I always copy my homework Images from BBC Web site
  17. 17. Implement An Open Approach <ul><li>Implementing an open approach should not be difficult: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We have tradition of sharing & using OSS </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>The HE sector is now more open to discussing open access issues (e-prints, financial issues, …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Creative Commons (CC) provides a legal framework </li></ul></ul><ul><li>What can we do: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make support services resources available with CC licence: see paper on &quot; Let's Free IT Support Materials! &quot; </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Exploit UKOLN's QA Focus briefing documents: 100+ documents available with CC licence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>… </li></ul></ul>Using other's resources and service may be unpopular (job security, ideology, …). For example, should IT services host email, … when this can be outsourced? Cultural Change
  18. 18. Acceptable Use Policies (AUP) <ul><li>Is Skype Permitted over JANET? </li></ul><ul><ul><li>&quot;The Computing Service is frequently asked for a ruling on whether Skype may legitimately be used ... the Computing Service considers that use of Skype contravenes the JANET Acceptable Use Policy, although UKERNA does not concur with this view.&quot; (now toned down) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Missing The Point? </li></ul><ul><li>There may be (religious) debates over the interpretation of UKERNA's words. But </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Did the policy come from God? Is it infallible? </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Why do we hide behind AUPs? </li></ul></ul>Revisiting AUPs Proposal : An AUP is meant to work on behalf of an organisation, helping to ensure the effective use of IT by its users. An AUP should not be used as a control mechanism to prevent usage which IT staff may frown upon.
  19. 19. The Need For An AUPP <ul><li>AUPs: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Shouldn't be cast in stone: technologies change; usage changes; culture changes (e.g. AUPs banning social use; email; Web; messaging; …) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Therefore need for mechanisms for changing AUPs and engagement with users </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Proposal: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>We need an Acceptable Use Policy Process (AUPP) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We need mechanisms to ensure users can input into the discussion process </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We need more flexibility in our AUPs (e.g. to reflect blended learning, pervasiveness of IT; …) </li></ul></ul> Cultural Change
  20. 20. Avoid Perfection! <ul><li>In higher education we like to investigate limitations of systems (it’s our job). But: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to separate such research from deployment of good enough services </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Need to be more user-centred – if users can do it (at home; in Starbucks; from their memory stick) why can’t IT Services provide similar services (students pay enough!) </li></ul></ul><ul><li>An always beta approach: the software and its use may not be perfect, but that’s not a barrier to deployment </li></ul>Cultural Change If the Sun can provide Blogs, it’s very strange if HE can’t! portal/site/mysun/
  21. 21. Risk Management <ul><li>IWMW 2006 has taken a risk management approach to its evaluation of Web 2.0 technologies: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Agreements : e.g. in the case of the Chatbot. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use of well-established services : Google & are well-established and have financial security. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Notification : warnings that services could be lost. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Engagement : with the user community: users actively engage in the evaluation of the services. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Provision of alternative services: multiple OMPL tools. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Use in non-mission critical areas: not for bookings! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Long term experiences of services: usage stats </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Availability of alternative sources of data : e.g. standard Web server log files. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Data export and aggregation: RSS feeds, aggregated in Suprglu, OPML viewers, etc. </li></ul></ul>Taking Risks Note that you also take risks in not providing a service! Will your users go elsewhere?
  22. 22. Safe Experimentation <ul><li>How can we gain experiences of Web 2.0: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Safe environment </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which minimise risks </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Which allow learning </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Possibilities: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Encourage enthusiasts </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using technologies at events such as this! </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Supporting the services which your users use (e.g. Google!) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Using services which require minimal effort </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Working with your peers elsewhere </li></ul></ul>Piloting Web 2.0
  23. 23. Summary <ul><li>We have seen: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Several lightweight example of how Web 2.0 technologies can be used </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Examples of the benefits of Web 2.0 attitudes (user-focus; benefits of collaborative approaches; trust) </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Ways of minimising risks and costs </li></ul></ul>Conclusions
  24. 24. Conclusions <ul><li>To conclude: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Web 2.0 can provide real benefits for our users </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>However organisations tend to be conservative </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We therefore need: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Advocacy </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To listen to users' concerns </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>To address users' concerns e.g. through a risk management approach </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>We can all benefit by adopting Web 2.0 principles of openness and sharing. So let us: </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Share our advocacy resources, risk management techniques, etc. </li></ul></ul></ul><ul><ul><ul><li>Have a social network with peers based on openness, trust, collaboration, .. </li></ul></ul></ul>Conclusions