UCISA WLF / UKOLN Workshop: Beyond Email - Strategies For Collaborative Working In The 21st Century

Brian Kelly organised a workshop on Beyond Email: Strategies for Collaborative Working and Learning in the 21st Century in conjunction with the UCISA WLF. The workshop was held at Weetwood Hall, University of Leeds on 22nd November 2004. The official Web is available at <http://www.ucisa.ac.uk/groups/wlf/events/2004_beyond/>.


For many institutions the main use of the World Wide Web is for the publication of information, either for use by external visitors or by staff and students within the institution. However as well as its role as a publishing tool the Web is increasingly being used as a communications channel. This may include real-time communications between individuals or small groups using dedicated or Web-based instant messaging tools; news alerts systems; Blog software which can be used by individuals to share their views of particular topics and solicit feedback and collaborative authoring environments such as Wikis which enable groups to collaborate in the development of Web pages.

This workshop will provide an opportunity for delegates to gain an understanding of these technologies and hear about how they can be used. Delegates will also have an opportunity to address the challenges which need to be faced when deploying such tools in an institutional context.

Learning Objectives:

By the end of the workshops participants will:

Target Audience

The workshop is aimed at staff who are responsible for or have an interest in:

Follow-Up Information About The Workshop

The following information about the workshop was made available after the workshop had concluded:

Discussion Groups

The workshop included a number of discussion groups which addressed the following application areas: IM, Newsfeeds, Blogs and Wikis. The discussion groups addressed the following issues:

In addition the discussion groups identified action plans for (a) the individual participants; (b) the participants institutions and (c) national bodies such as UCISA.

Each discussion group had a chair and a reporter who gave a brief report on the issues discussed and recommendations made.


The timetable is given below.

Timetable For The Day
Time Topic
09:30 Registration & Coffee
10:00 Welcome and Introduction
Talk: About / Wiki page - [HTML format] - [MS PowerPoint 97/2000 format]
10:15 Talk 1: 'Setting The Context - Emerging Collaborative Environments'
Brian Kelly, UKOLN
11:00 Case Study 1 - 'The Perspective From The Research User'
Paul Shabajee, ILRT, University of Bristol
11:30 Discussion Groups: IM, Newsfeeds and Mobile Devices
12:10 Report Back
12:30 Lunch
13:15 Welcome to afternoon session
13:20 Case Study 2 - 'Weblogs: Niche or Nucleus?'
Derek Morrison, CDNTL, University of Bath
13:50 Discussion Groups: Blogs and Wikis
14:30 Coffee
14:50 Report back and recommendations
15:10 A Vendor View from Mirapoint
Kevin Woods, Mirapoint
15:25 Conclusions
15:30 Workshop ends


Summary Of The Talks

Addressing The Challenges Of New Devices And New Web Technologies

In this introduction Brian Kelly will describe how the availability of mobile devices such as PDAs, mobile phones, MP3 juke boxes, etc. and the usage of technologies such as instant messaging will give rise to expectations from students that these devices and applications will be available and supported within universities not only to support students' social interest but also use in teaching and learning.
As well as the technologies which many students are using, rapid development in Internet technologies is driving the takeup of new application areas such as news feeds, Blogs and Wikis. These technologies appear to have potential for supporting teaching and learning and research use within our institutions. But the technologies are so new that many institutions have not yet addressed issues such as the areas in which they could be used, evaluation and section of the appropriate software, user support, legal issues and development of acceptable use policies.
This talk will not provide an answer to these questions, but will summarise the issues which need to be addressed.
Talk: About / Wiki page - [HTML format] - [MS PowerPoint 97/2000 format]

The Perspective From The Research User

In this introduction Paul Shabajee will describe his experiences in use of instant messaging.
Talk: About / Wiki page - [HTML format] - [MS PowerPoint 97/2000 format]

Weblogs: Niche or Nucleus?

In this introduction Derek Morrison will describe the potential for use of Blogs in teaching.
Talk: About / Wiki page - [HTML format] - [PDF format]

A Vendor View from Mirapoint

In this presentation Kevin Woods, Director of Marketing and Product Management, Mirapoint will describe the Mirapoint software.
Talk: About / Wiki page - [HTML format] - [MS PowerPoint 97/2000 format]

Biographical Details Of The Speakers

Picture of Brian Kelly Brian Kelly is partly funded by the JISC to advise the Higher and Further Education communities on best use of Web technologies (he is also funded by the MLA to advise the museums, libraries and archives sector). He is been a long-standing advocate of the Web, having set up a Web server in January 1993 when working in the Computing Service at the University of Leeds. Concerned that the inferior Gopher technology might emerge as the standard for providing what was then known as a Campus Wide Information System (CWIS) Brian gave many presentations during the mid 1990s throughout the community, including UCISA events and UKERNA JANET User Support Workshops.

Since 1996 Brian has been employed at UKOLN, a national centre of expertise in digital information management based at the University of Bath. Brian gives many presentations on Web technologies and organises the annual Institutional Web Management Workshop series aimed at sharing best practices for the institutional Web management community.

If you have met Brian, he invites you to add him to your FOAF file, and he will do likewise. If you have not yet heard of FOAF, Brian will be only too happy to explain the potential of this emerging Semantic Web technology.

Picture of Paul Shabajee Paul Shabajee is a Research Fellow based in the Institute for Learning and Research Technology, University of Bristol. He has wide ranging interests focused around the meaningful application of new and evolving technologies to support learning, research and community development.

His current research project is the SWARA (Semantic Web And Repurposing Applications) project, investigating how evolving Semantic Web and related technologies can support and enrich the use of Web-based information sources and services. The SWARA project is funded by Hewlett Packard Labs and Paul works alongside the HP Labs Semantic Web research group.

Of particular interest in relation to this seminar is the HP Labs work as part of the SWAD (Semantic Web Advanced Development) Europe project (see http://www.w3.org/2001/sw/Europe/), in the development of 'Semantic Blogging' and Community Portals (SWED) demonstration systems. In 2003 Paul wrote an article for the Times Higher entitled "'Hot' or Not? Welcome to real-time peer review", describing his experiences at the WWW2003 conference where the informal use of IRC at the conference opened his eyes to the wider applicability (and issues) of such technologies.

Derek Morrison has been involved with information and communications technologies in teaching and learning since studying for his first honours degree in education in 1979.

Derek worked mainly in the Health Services with, sometimes, extensive periods of secondment to the higher education sector. He completed a Masters degree at the University of Surrey in Interactive Systems Analysis (aka Multimedia Learning Systems) and, in 1993, he took up his first post at the University of Bath where he was very involved in a number of distance learning initiatives both in the UK and overseas. Because he crossed both technology and education boundaries Derek was asked to set up a Multimedia Learning Unit which later matured into what is now the CDNTL (Centre for the Development of New Technologies in Learning) at the University of Bath. Derek is the Director of CDNTL.

CDNTL is associated with the design and development of a number of prestigious e-learning resources and initiatives including: Decision Making in the European Union (a Socrates project), Comparative Social Policy (a Tempus and Erasmus project, and winner of the European Academic Award in 2000), Project GOLD (a TLTP Phase 3 project), a BCS award winning series of Medical Updates for Doctors (case-based multimedia CD-ROMs and supporting web resources) which has now 'spun-out' to become the Royal College of General Practitioners Learning Unit, and EuroLaw (a PHARE project designed to help former Soviet states adjust to western legal systems).

CDNTL also supports the University of Bath's e-learning activities and the Centre's focus here is capability building within Departments. At the end of January of this year, Derek launched 'Auricle' (see http://www.bath.ac.uk/e-learning/auricle.htm) a multi-author weblog for those interested in issues and perspectives in e-learning and learning technologies. Auricle has been very successful and is now approaching ~200,000 accesses since launch.

Workshop Feedback

During the workshop a number of participants used Wikis, instant messaging and Blogs to give their views on the event. Access to the comments is available from the links given below.

Use Of Wikis

Page Live Annotation Local Transcript
Test Area
Wiki test page Annotations of the Wiki test page Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
General Discussion Group Page
General discussion group page Annotations of the discussion group page Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Discussion Groups (morning)
IM discussion group page Annotations of the Instant Messaging discussion group page Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
News Feeds discussion group Annotations of the News Feeds discussion group Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Mobile Devices discussion group page Annotations of the Mobile Devices discussion group page Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Mobile Devices discussion group page Blog reports of the Mobile Devices discussion group page: article 1 - article 2  
Discussion Groups (afternoon)
Wikis discussion group page Annotations of the Wikis discussion group page Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Blogs discussion group page Annotations of the Blogs discussion group page Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Talk 1 - Brian Kelly
Talk 1 - Addressing The Challenges Of New Devices And New Web Technologies Annotations of the first talk Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Case Study 1 - Paul Shabajee
Case Study 1 - The Perspective From The Research User Annotations of the Case Study 1 Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Case Study 2 - Derek Morrison
Case Study 2 - Weblogs: Niche or Nucleus? Annotations of the Case Study 2 Copy of annotations (23 Nov 2004)
Vendor Presentation - Mirapoint
Mirapoint Vendor Presentation Blog of the Mirapoint Vendor Presentation  

Use Of Blogs

Use Of Instant Messaging

Other Comments On Event

Acceptable Use Policy

A draft Acceptable Use Policy (AUP) for the workshop is available.

Advance Information About Technical Infrastructure

The workshop will provide a valuable opportunity for delegates to evaluate the potential of networked devices to support conferences, workshops, etc. The lessons learnt should prove useful if you are planning on providing WiFi networks at conferences in your own institutions. In order to ensure that delegates can make make effective use of the technologies you are asked to read the further information about the technologies and, if possible, install software in advance of the workshop. Note that information about the Wiki for annotating pages on the Web site is available.

Useful Tools

The following software applications will be mentioned at the workshop and possibly used during the workshop. You may find it useful to install the software prior to the workshop in order to gain experience or the software and possibly make use of the software at ther workshop.

The GAIM instant messager software can be used to send and receive instant messages from various IM services including MS, Jabber, etc. Note that you should also get a IM ID, such as a Jabber ID.
The Skype software can be used for Internet telephony.
Version 1.0 of this Web browser.
A Firefox extension which provides access to a Wiki which can be used for annotating pages.

If you would like to experiment with a Wiki, see the Wiki test pages.