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George Roberts :: Blog :: re Janet Finlay: Communication Overload

April 06, 2008

Janet Finlay posted an excellent observation on information overload when using Web2 tools for managing project communication. This post, which I am writing here in response, is symptomatic. I responded to Janet in a comment. But, I was concerned that this discussion would slip below the fold too fast and be gone. I don't know how many people keep up with reading Emerge, and of those how many read the comments  - I feel another survey coming on ;-) But, will resist for the moment (whew!). Anyway, Janet says:

"... we need a better understanding of how to synthesise and manage the technologies to offer coherent and clear services.  ...managing this communication overload is a problem shared by many if not all projects. We are looking for case studies of the use of social software to manage both internal and external project communication from which we can identify common factors and potential patterns"

It struck me that there were three challenges:

  • how to monitor for meaningful familiarity in order to advise - without overload
  • how to select an appropriate subset for personal/community use - without becoming isolated in a non-cognate idiolect
  • how to manage - without resorting to diktat

For institutions and educational development, in light of the plethora of services, I see two top-level questions:

  • what tools should the institution provide and support, whether through own services or SLAs with providers?
  • what advice and guidance do we offer to learners (and I include the whole of our institutional community in this: students, teachers, researchers, administrators) about the use of the Internet (particularly Web 1, 2, 3...n) for learning and teaching?

The answers to these need to avoid both Luddism and novophilia. Keep taking the tablets!

I thought this would make an excellent session at the upcoming conference. 


Posted by George Roberts

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