Click on the NGTiP 09 link to the right. Then "Join this Event Network". Tag your posts, pics and tweets #NGTiP09. This conference looks inward, outward and upward. It is a celebration of all the user communties that have been created, nurtured and developed through the Userts and Innovation programme; it is a celebration of the Emerge community; and, it is a showcase for the HE world of the achievements of the projects and the people who made the U&I programme what it has been.
Learning technology R&D projects can appear to focus on outputs rather than outcomes: producing artefacts rather than building capacity; quantitative rather than qualitative measures; easy answers rather than the deep complexity of institutional change. Through the U&I Programme a real effort has been made to transform practice based on the needs of individual users working in institutions.
The Emerge project set out to support the creation of a sustainable community of practice around user engagement for the exploitation of new and emerging social media technologies.
It has been possible to identify a range of benefits to deploying social media tools to scaffold community emergence. Your stories provided evidence to suggest that the community did develop into an effective support system for projects. The benefits for individuals and projects included opportunities for professional development, collaboration with others, improved project planning and management, and awareness of the relevance of projects in a wider context.
But these benefits were unevenly distributed, and for some, against visibility, connectivity and discovery we could set obscurity, isolation and at times wandering lost.
I know this programme appeared to be more demanding that your "usual JISC programme".
I hope that the demands were not simply in the quantitative burden of hours and days spent drawing concept maps and engaging in semi-structured activity. Our aim was to improve the qualitative measures by which success might be understood. That this was not always easy, I accept. We were all, at times, confronted with parts of ourselves we might have rather left in the traditional silos.
One of our sustainability strategies was to have fun. Seriously, we are all busy; there had to be affective advantage to affiliation. Of course there were also those who though that if it wasn't hurting, it wasn't working.
So, this is me standing aside as director of Emerge. Over to you make it live.
The next two days are as much a celebration of the conclusion of the Users and Innovation Programme, of Emerge, and of all your projects. We hope you find the sessions useful. Paul will go over the programme in a moment. But I also hope you find pleasure in your success and the successes of others. And, there will be dancing... And, a wiki.