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George Roberts :: Blog :: Community generated activity

June 08, 2007

Following the recent Emerge Project Steering Group Meeting, the Community Generated Activity policy was endorsed and it was suggested that I write to everyone in the JISC Users and Innovation Community to make this policy clear.

Budget summary
The Users and Innovation Community of Practice (CoP) is funded to about £200,000 at about £5,000 per group application and £2,000 per individual application. The Emerge Project is engaged (and funded separately) by the JISC to facilitate the Community of Practice activities. Activities organised by the Emerge project (London, Online Activities, Manchester) will consume roughly half the budget (detailled accounts by event and by group are available). The balance of the Users and Innovation Strand community of practice funding is available for Groups, Clusters and Individuals in the CoP to draw down in order to carry out activities of benefit to their participation in the community of practice.

Emerge principles
A principle of the Emerge project is that communities emerge, create and maintain themselves through continual re-negotiation. The role of the Emerge project is to guide, support and facilitate community formation and emergence. Through our Appreciative inquiry-led approach some further principles are becoming evident.
  • For a community to be successful there is a need for the members to have something in common.
  • For a community to be successful there needs to be a feeling of openness.
  • For a community to be successful, its members need to develop.
  • For a community to be successful it needs to make links with others outside of itself.
  • For a community to be successful there needs to be the energy and enthusiasm to get things done.
Community generated activity
A key means of developing community in line with these principles is for groups to take ownership of the directed activity. The Emerge project is a user-centred development. The original bid declared the project's intention to follow a UIDM approach to community development. One feature of the process will be a transfer of responsibility for the creation of events from the project team to the community and the sub comunities that emerge over time. We have already noticed a coalescence of themes in the original statements of interest in the community. We hope that other themes might emerge and that groups - or communities - might form around them. One way this can happen is if participants in the project are encouraged to take the lead in developing activities for groups and sub groups at future events. In the spirit of Web2.0 user generated content, we wish to stimulate the development of community generated activities. These activities should become prominent within the wider Emerge Community.

There are two broad kinds of activity in which you might engage:
  • Community/Cluster/Group activity
  • Individual activity
Community/cluster/group activities
Community/cluster/group activities may take many forms. These activities may be formal events that could be opened up more widely to the whole community, or they might be smaller groups convened to address a particular issue. You might, for example, wish to take a group from several participating teams away to a planning meeting. You might wish to organise a series of site visits so your respective Heads of Information Systems can get to know one another. You might want to conduct a workshop on the use of the Users and Innovation Development Model (UIDM), or user interface design, or...? The important thing is that any activity funded under the Community of Practice budget shares its Aims and Outcomes with the community. We do not necessarily mean that you have to reveal your deepest commercial secrets, but the community will benefit from an open approach to educational development and sharing knowledge.

Individual activity
Individuals may wish to use the Community of practice funds to participate in events organised by other initiatives, institutions or programmes outside the JISC community. You might want to attend a conference on the use of gaming in education. The important thing, for Emerge is, as above, you state your aims clearly and bring something back to the community: a blog, a set of slides, a guide to SecondLife learning spaces; there might be many different kinds of outputs. You should also seek to be an ambassador from the Emerge Project, informing any event that you attend about the project. If Emerge funds your attendance to a conference at which you are speaking: mention the project.

We are operating a very light touch approval procedurle. Please mail: emerge07@gmail.com (= Josie) or georgebroberts@googlemail.com (=me) or groberts@brookes.ac.uk (=me again). In your message say:
  • What you want to do
  • Is it a community/cluster .group activity or an individual activity
  • What are the aims of the activity
  • What are the expected outcomes
  • How will you inform the Emerge community of your activity
  • How can the Emerge Team help you with your activity
  • What funding do you require for your activity.
How much can I/we get?
That depends. How many people will participate? How many groups club together to put on an event? How many people went to the London event (cost £370 per person)? How much support can you show for your activity?

Give me a call or drop me an e-mail to discuss your plans.

Hope that is clear.

Get organising!

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