I have been asked to present the recent Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World report to the University’s next Teaching and Learning Committee. The report came out shortly before, and is referenced by, The Edgeless University. Why Higher Education Must Embrace Technology, which was launched by David Lammy MP at the end of June. I’ve been going through both reports, pulling out significant quotes and annotating them. Here are my notes. It is not a comprehensive nor formal review of the reports, nor a statement from the University of Lincoln. Just personal reflections which I will take to my colleagues for discussion. I don’t whole-heartedly agree with every statement made in both reports or even those quoted here, but I do take government promoted reports, and the funding that accompanies them, seriously.
I include quotes from David Lammy’s speech, as it can be read as a formal statement from government on the recommendations of the ‘Edgeless’ report and a commentary on future funding priorities.
If you’ve not yet read the reports, my notes might provide a useful summary, albeit from the bias of someone charged with supporting the use of technology to enhance teaching and learning. I am also an advocate of Open Access and Open Education on which the Edgeless report has a lot to say. Methodologically, the writing of both reports combined both current literature reviews and interviews across the sector and as I write, they are the most current documents of their kind that I am aware of.
If you have commented on either of these reports on your own blog or have something to say about the excerpts I include here, please do leave a comment and let me (and others) know. Thanks.
My second day in Leeds for the ALT Conference 2008 and I’m really excited about three open source applications that I’d like us to evaluate when I return to Lincoln.
Yesterday’s OpenSim – A pre Second Life taster workshop demonstrated the potential of having our own OpenSim virtual environment, either as a way to orientate new users to Second Life or actually develop a Virtual World, confined to the university network.
Today’s Hood 2.0, it’s a Web 2 world out there, introduced Laconica to me. This is an open source microblogging service, that would allow us to effectively reproduce a Twitter-like service, but within the confines of the university. I think for us, this has an advantage over Twitter because of the privacy issues surrounding the use of public microblogging services. It does also have the ability to hook into Twitter (and soon, Facebook), if desired.
During the F-ALT08 Edublogger session this evening, I met David, who works on identity systems as Eduserv. We talked about OpenID and how it can easily be set up to serve as an identity provider for one person or an entire organisation. I’ve taken his advice and now run an OpenID server on my personal website (it took less than 30 minutes to install and test). I’ve also been looking at OpenID plugins for WordPress and indeed the Learning Lab blogs could act as OpenID providers for anyone with a blog. I need to speak to ICT Services about the issues surrounding this on an institutional scale, but for me personally, I’m really impressed with how simple the process was to regain more control over my own identity online.
Finally, on a different note, the Keynote this morning was by Hans Rosling of Gapminder. He gave a very similar presentation to the one on TED, which I encourage you to watch for beautiful visualisations of statistical data relating to social, economic and environmental development.