UCISA WLF / UKOLN Workshop: Beyond Email - Annotation of discussion group on Newsfeeds page

This page provides a local copy of the annotation of the annotations of the discussion on "News feeds". This copy was taken on 23 November 2004. The copy was made in case the main page is deleted, the service becomes unavailable or the content is overwritten.

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Please use this page for notes on the discussion group on Newsfeeds.



It is proposed that the workshop should include a number of discussion groups. It is suggested that discussion groups be based on the applications areas: IM, Newsfeeds, Blogs and Wikis and that in the discussion groups the participants address the following issues:

* What uses do you envisage making of the technology within your institution?
* How do you intend evaluating the technology? What are the key requirements?
* What are the softer issues which you will need to address before deploying the technology in a service environment?

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

Use of Newsfeeds

* Identify ways in which news feeds might be used in teaching, learning and research.
* How would you envisage news feeds relating to technologies such as instant messaging and email?
* What approaches to selection and deployment of news feed technologies do you envisage, both for reading and publishing?
* What approaches to the development of acceptable use policies, training and support do you envisage?
* Do you have any shared views on the most likely technologies and approaches to AUP, etc?

Is anyone using newsfeed technology? Blank... Is anyone considering using newsfeed technology?

Bristol yes in portal. Leeds Met in portal.

Is this creating own news or consuming other people's? Feeling at Bristol it's using external news feeds e.g feeds from RDN, BBC, Weather etc?

... also an opportunity to push internal news. Better to use RSS for news within an institution than newsletters? Little use for this purpose.

ILRT using blog technology and aggregate feeds from blogs. Perhaps this could be used within departmental websites and then aggregate.

Within an institution would probably need an editorial policy unlike ILRT which is a trusted community.

How widely do people anticipate this being used or are there other mechanisms?

Good for distributed teams. E.g. using a wiki for internal projects and using an feed to keep up to date with recent changes.

General sense that at the moment it is being used within specific and discrete communities within institutions rather than institution wide.

Newcastle trying to use newsfeeds within the institution to disseminate new from the top down but also get information from the bottom up: e.g. academic activities. Use an editor within the press office to cherry pick the most interesting information.

Both bottom up and top down.

E-mail, IM and News

E-mail, IM much more instant (and intrusive). News places more emphasis on when and how the user wants to read it. Is that a benefit or a drawback?

One issue is ability to look at news feeds. Most institutions not rolling out clients for this as still concentrating on e-mail. News is one way. E-mail and IM are two way. It is about information not discussion.

Concern that is you introduce the concept of presence (e.g. with online status for IM) it would be rebuffed unless can turn it off and then why bother. Students may like it more than staff. If there was protocol for use of IM e.g. staff setting IM surgeries when they will be online may be more effective. Need the closed door/open door metaphor. This is not a difficulty with the technology. At ILRT it works because only those who want to use it do. is this scaleable though? IM may be much more useful for technical support than academic support?

RSS becoming an easy way of joining things together. Can increasingly read e-mail and news within the same client. Not widely used but extremely popular amongst those who have adopted the concept. Small proportion of highly supportive users.

Selection of technology for reading and publishing. Warwick write their own systems that produce feeds. No client. Clients built into portals is common for reading news rather than another application. How many people beyond a technical community know about RSS?

The portal is useful in this respect because it doesn't stand out as a different technology. it provides a single source of information. The user doesn't necessarily need to know it is RSS.

E-Mail or Portal? Portal provides a focal point and is centrally controllable. Some institutions do both. Example of a portal wrapping up daily news from portal and e-mailing to users. Have to 'trick' users into starting to visit portal. Possible policy issues. E-mail counts as official communication from institution. Information posted on a portal doesn't necessarily.

Problems of getting users to use portals and web services...carrot or stick? Do you draw users by forcing them to do some administrative or assessment tasks there or by providing services they can't live without.

Problem with staff? Students extremely web literate. Are staff struggling to keep up with technology e.g. weblogs, vles, discussion boards? Do they have the time?

AUPS, training etc.... Depends on the ownership of the newsfeed... Is AUP an issue for newsfeeds? Again d epends on ownership. Different for newsfeeds generated from student blogs for example. Doesn't necessarily relate to teh technology of newsfeeds. Newsfeed is one channel for publishing content. The AUP relates to content not necessarily to the newsfeed.


AlisonPope (UCISA)