It’s been a little while since I posted, so just to keep you interested, here’s a brief summary of what we’ve been up to.
Learning and Teaching Conference 2009
Mark and I, introduced by Patrice, presented a showcase session on the project at the university’s annual Learning and Teaching Conference. Mark gave an overview of the motivation and inspiration for the project, and then I gave some examples of some of the technologies we’re hoping to get students using. Feedback from the session was very positive. Interestingly, several members of staff seemed quite keen on the project as a way for them to learn more about innovative uses of the web — proof, if ever it was needed, that education is a two-way process! I was impressed with Mark’s use of Vuvox, a Web 2.0 slide show creator (more on that on his blog). There’s a summary of the session with a link to the presentation here, and Mark also wrote a blog post about the conference.
uSpace pilots begin
For the last few months, CICS (the university’s Corporate Information and Computing Services) have been setting up a university-wide social networking platform to support collaboration in learning, teaching, research and administration right across the university. It’s called uSpace and a few pilot projects (of which the SLC is one) began testing it out properly today. I’ve been lucky enough to get to play with it over the last few months and I have to say I’m pretty impressed. It’ll take a while for people to figure out what it’s good at and how to use it, but I can see it becoming a central part of the university’s IT provision. After some months trying to decide on the best way to get the SLC 2.0 project properly started, we’ve chosen to set aside the focus groups for now and concentrate on putting together a proof of concept within the uSpace environment. We’ve picked a fairly abstract-sounding name, “bluecloud”, and started work. Hopefully we’ll get a few interested parties to contribute, and we’ll be sending out a questionnaire to gather opinions from the whole student community soon. Since uSpace is still early in the pilot phase, CICS are trying to keep the server load low, so I won’t publicise the address. For those of you who don’t have access to it yet, I’ll post a more detailed run down here soon. For those of you who do, check out the bluecloud space and let us know what you think, either here or through uSpace itself.