Emerging practice and institutional change symposium: a user-centred, learning technology R&D support-community network

George Roberts 1, Paul Bailey2, Josie Fraser2, Graham Attwell2, Isobel Falconer3, Patsy Clarke1, Joe Rosa2, Steven Warburton4, Rhona Sharpe1
1Oxford Brookes University, UK, 2Independent, UK, 3Glasgow Caledonian University, UK, 4Kings College, UK

The Emerge support project for the JISC Users and Innovation programme asked, can the use of social and participatory media (Web2.0) applications - and attitudes - in learning technology R&D play a role in supporting institutional change processes? Can the use of social media encourage and facilitate greater autonomy and self-direction in the participants on the one hand, as well as increasing collaborative, community-centred development on the other? These questions can be re-expressed in terms of shifting centres of control, where greater personal autonomy and self-direction is understood in respect to institutional direction and control.Questions for institutions are to what extent are they comfortable with ceding some control to individuals and to new communities? For individuals the principal issues are to what extent do they subordinate their autonomy and self-direction to communities, how much do they subordinate and to which communities?This symposium argues these questions from four perspectives:- R&D programme support- Community development- Social networking applications and platforms- Shifting centres of controlThere will be four short presentations from each of these different perspectives. Each presentation will conclude with a series of open questions and will be followed by opportunities for questions and contributions from participants. Participants will be invited to consider how these issues impact on their practice and the practice of their institutions. Participants will also be invited to comment via a simultaneous online forum which will be projected live at the symposium. A final discussion will summarise the overall conclusions arising from the presentations and discussionsIn learning technology R&D projects there can appear to be a focus on outputs rather than outcomes: producing artefacts rather than building capacity; quantitative rather than qualitative measures; easy answers rather than complex institutional change. Emerge adopted an approach which involved initially encouraging knowledge transfer, validation of outputs and take-up within other institutions. Networks develop both in spite of and because of projects and programmes. It is necessary to recognise and value individuals as well as networks.Participants will be invited to consider how far this approach can address the issues raised in the presentations.ReferencesBoyd, D. (2007) "Viewing American class divisions through Facebook and MySpace." Apophenia Blog Essay, http://www.danah.org/papers/essays/ClassDivisions.html accessed 23-Feb-2009Clarke, Patsy and Rhona Sharpe (2008), Experiencing Emerge: A summary of interviews with seven community members. JISC Emerge Project internal report available from...Dutton, W. (2008) "Through the Network (of Networks): The Fifth Estate." Inaugural professorial lecture, University of Oxford, http://webcast.oii.ox.ac.uk/?view=Webcast&ID=20071015_208 accessed 26-Feb-2009McQuillan, D. (2006) "web2.0 & human rights: the benefits & threats of an architecture of participation." internet.artizans: Tracking the Internet, Human Rights & Social Change, http://www.internetartizans.co.uk/web2.0-and-human-rightsRamanau, R., R. Sharpe, et al. (2008). Exploring Patterns of Student Learning Technology Use in their Relationship to Self-Regulation and Perceptions of Learning Community Networked Learning. Halkidiki, Greece, Lancaster University. http://www.networkedlearningconference.org.uk/abstracts/Ramanau.htmSalmon, G. (2002). Pedagogical Requirements of Virtual Learning Environments (VLEs): PETS & PLANETS. The 24 hour University: Stretching the Limits UCISA TLIG-SDG User Support Conference. Leeds. http://www.atimod.com/research/presentations/Salmonleeds.htmWenger, E. 1998. Communities of practice: Learning, meaning, and identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.