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George Roberts :: Blog :: Benefits Realisation, Phase 1

January 25, 2008

This is a very rough summary of the excellent presentations from the first round of benefits realisation activities, presented at the York programme launch.

  • e-Volve (Graham Attwell),
  • Innovation Networks and Communities of Practice (Jim Hensman)
  • Librarians CoP - LCop (Paul Mayes)
  • Virtual Design Studio (Miles Metcalfe)
  • Personal Learning Environment - PLE (Mark van Harmelen)
  • User Interfaces, Social Software Technologies and Learning Experience (Panayotis Zaphiris, Stephanie Wilson)

These case studies illustrated some of the good that came out of the first phase of the Emerge Project. The overarching concerns appear to be

  • data management
  • risk management
  • usability
  • platform-type tools.

Evolve is a group of research groups working through Skype trying to break away from the linearity of traditional research activity. The activity IS (in part, anyway) the research IS (at least one of) the outcome(s). They are developing the concept of a "rich survey" which is

  • interactive
  • uses a variety of media
  • has space to share answers and create dialogue
  • and is time bound

Jim Hensman looked in detail at the PlaNet project and compared the practice to other communities and networks that aid innovation in order to explore the potential for transfering lessons from Emerge, or what in an ideal world Emerge could be.

  • an innovation network of some form
  • model for community of communities.

Paul Mayes gathered together 10 different small groups of librarians, lecturers and other information scientists as a purposeful "community of development". LCop is "crash testing" the CoP concept and has succeeded in getting his institution to support the development of LCop over 5 years. He particularly found that the concept of "community" (of practice, etc) was helpful in encouraging people to come together in what might be called semi-formal groupings to develop ideas prior to them becoming formalised as projects.

For Miles Metcalfe and the Virtual Design Studio at Ravensbourne College, Emerge was a good network to expand the capacity of a very small institution. The creative industries have been subject to dramatic change, transforming as if from departments of Art into Departments of Computer Science. VDS aimed to create or simulate the studio experience on-line using collaborative images and distributed video. Through the Emerge project he and Mark van Harmelen came together: Mark had the technology, Miles had the need. As a result of the project and the collaboration, Ravensbourne college has created a learning development department.

The problem, for Mark van Harmelen and the Personal Learning Enviroment prototype (Mark van Harmelen) is that there are too many environments. The solution: provide social software substrate, a constructivist environment where people. Support independent learners and change the face of education. Senior managers get more efficient use of studio space. Four universities are exploring the use of the PLE.

Panayotis Zaphiris described the User Interfaces, Social Software Technologies and Learning Experience UI analysis tools: eye-tracking technology monitoring eye movement when user is using an interface. UI analysis is available to all groups developing their projects.

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Posted by George Roberts

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