Access Management and Universities 2.0

I was moved to comment on Andy Powell’s eFoundations blog yesterday. He was posting some of his thoughts in respect of an earlier contribution from Brian Kelly on the likely impact of Web 2.0 on universities following the publication of the final report of the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience (CLEX) which was entitled “Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World“. I commend you to read the report, which many have commented is very readable, as well as both blogposts and the comments and responses that have been generated from them. What I said was this:

“There is a little doubt in my mind that Web 2.0 will eventually change everything in respect of university education. We have said the same about online learning (VLEs) and access to eResources in the past, but what makes the current situation different is the emergence of communication and collaboration tools that easily and transparently transcend the organisation. With emergence also of Federated Access Management as well you then have a mechanism for federated universities and federated learning.

In other words key infrastructural elements are falling into place which provide the means to deliver true open learning and allow the institutions which are fast of foot to establish brands to take advantage of this convergence of capabilities.

The Web 2.0 university will be one therefore that consumes, collaborates and communicates – some are better placed to build such a model, others not. The current economic crisis will throw up the new generation and others may not survive as the value they will add will be much less.”

The point I’m alluding to is that access and identity management is a missing piece in the jigsaw that enables future models of higher education to develop. I’m keen to investigate whether my contention is true and so I invite comments to myself or to posts on the Federated Access Management blog, which I will be contributing to as part of my role as Senior Advisor to the JISC on Access Management.

Blogged with the Flock Browser [now defunct]

Context and language is everything

[Originally posted on “MWE Social Media” on 8th February, 2009]

Some colleagues of mine who keep an eye on what I’m up to on twitter, observed that through ‘Lofty Thoughts‘ I had announced the appearance of CardiffBlogs. They made some observations on the use of a corporate blogging platform, some of which I responded to. Nicky Morland from Anglia Ruskin University made the astute comment that the variety of socialmedia (or social networking) tools could be confusing to users – something I’d already hinted at in an earlier posting on this blog. I offered to write another post detailing my ideas on the subject. This is it.

It is a subject I’ve blogged on several times on my personal blog ‘Just thoughts …‘, and I believe it’s one of the most important areas that potential bloggers should be conscious of. In several posts I developed my thoughts, and if you’ll excuse me, I’ll re-iterate them here.

The first and probably most important consideration is whether socialmedia is for you. In the case of blogging, you have to consider what you want a blog for, and having decided that it’s something you want to do, for whatever reason, you then need to choose the most appropriate hosting for the blog – corporate or commercial platform, and whether you want to keep it private or make it public. In the post ‘Do I blog … or do I not?‘, I try and address that issue and suggest that this decision is of considerable importance because the context then directs the style of writing, the language that you use and the type of message that you communicate. For instance, on my private personal blog, which is restricted to my family alone, I’ve just recorded the number and types of birds in the garden and the state of our goldfish in the pond! This is of no interest to the world at large I suspect, but as a record, or journal entry, for me (and to assist my abysmal memory) and for the family as almost a shared letter – it may have some value. On my personal blog, I’ve just posted some observations on leadership that I recorded from a UCISA Directors’ Forum I had attended. I’ve already referred to my personal professional blog, and over time I’ll use this to record events, observations about Information Services (INSRV), the university and my inter-actions with other colleagues in other universities that might be of interest to colleagues both inside and outside INSRV and Cardiff University. It’ll essentially be a record of my work for INSRV.

For institutions, they need to make a call as to whether they decide to host the corporate blog themselves, or not. In ‘where do you blog‘, I discussed some of the issues that need to be considered by an organisation before they decide to host their own blogging platform. Brian Kelly makes some interesting comments on the subject as well.

The third issue is the connection between the author and their credibility; the authority of their pronouncements. The Web 2.0 world has created an environment where everyone is potentially an author and publisher. What I write on my personal blog is just that – personal; it doesn’t pretend to be the view of an Assistant Director of Information Services, and my references to INSRV or Cardiff are tangential and very occasional. So therefore the issue of Identity and Credibility is of interest because essentially in social networking you gain credibility from the people that look at, or comment upon, your blog posts, follow you on twitter, or whatever.By your followers – you are known.

Finally, in another post I comment upon the ephemeral nature of socialmedia environments. If you’ve got something important to say – be very aware that socialmedia is not the place to write it for posterity. Also the choice of socialmedia is important and is intrinsically linked to the type of message that you want to promulgate. Surrounded by choice, the toolset you use for the message you want to convey, must be chosen with considerable care.