Day 2 in Singapore

Posted by Brad J. Ward | Posted in Technology | Posted on 02-24-2009

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Day 2 in Singapore! I’m only going to be here for the beginning because I leave at 3:30am tomorrow and want to get a little sightseeing in.

Today’s all-star speaker is @tomabbott.  Very smart guy, lots of great ideas.  Anyone who can compare Shakespeare to Gen Y and then follow up with a great demonstration using @zefrank gets 2 thumbs up from me.

Digital Transparency – Tom Abbott, Online Communications Office, University of Warwick

Take extraordinary and make it ordinary.  A lot of this is new but different. Needs to become a fabric of who we are. Students expect it.

How do we as universities take the extraordinary and just make it the ordinary? Mentions that what I talked about in my presentation yesterday might seem new and different, it needs to just become a fabric of who we are. Students will expect it.

The digital challenge is not the technological challenge.  It’s more social, ethical, etc.

Have to provide content when they want to access it, not only when you want to provide it.

Nike: “For us, it makes no sense to use anything other than digital to connect with customers.”  Just Do Digital. Audience is not reading newspapers or watching television.

You have 1 mouth and 2 ears, use them in that ratio. You have to LISTEN.

Provide something of value, or people won’t really care and won’t stick around.

Digital media = look at Obama.  But can he transition all of this digital media and all of these people who have bought in to him to the governmental space? Do they stick with him when the honeymoon is over?

What IS a digital University? Blogs, iTunesU, open courseware, wikipedia, etc. The full package.

Check out eduPunk.

Research-TV : initative by the University. VNR service for university research using a partnership model.  Free to broadcasters via satellite. Was providing video online and embeds way before it became the norm.

Warwick Blogs – built its own platform rather than using WordPress or other platform. Sold it to VP’s as a ‘reflective environment’, but it became more of a social network.

http:/blogs.warwick.ac.uk – 5753 different blogs, 116257 entries. 120,707 images.  Discussive environment with interaction.  1.7 comments per post on average. Generated by Warwick students (Long Tail!!) Much of the social interaction of Warwick Blogs is shifting to Facebook and Bebo. The content is becoming more educational in nature.

Warwick blogs is a great place to explore what students think of the University and what their experience is like.

Warwick Podcasts - Just did it.  Figure if they got a committee together to do it they’d still be talking about it. (LOL!!!)

All sorts of subjects and topics.  Great way to get the academics comfortable of moving beyond text to talk about research and teaching. Warwick Arts Centre, Writing Challenges, Medieval Islamic Medicine, A Short History of Symmetry, etc.  Some getting as many as 4,000 downloads a week.

Most of it is self-produced by academics, they produce the rest.

Warwick iCast - Took audio approach from podcast and switched to video. 140,000 views on YouTube.  Used an outside agency to produce.

Digital Press and iTunes U – Launched in January. Not exclusive arrangement, can use with any channel. After first 5 weeks, 56,000 downloads. 4 promotions on iTunes U homepage. Modes of reading – 5 downloads a day to 250. Positive feedback from users. Student interest in production is huge.  Academic engagement is increasing. Relevant and exciting content at the right time will help get promoted by iTunesU.  Do relevant content.  i.e. Obama in January, Darwin last few weeks, etc.

Showed some examples from iTunesU. The 3 we saw were videos.  I always think of iTunesU as audio podcasts. Good reminder.

Social Media - No ‘official’ presence, but they are listening and answering questions and addressing comments when they need to. Be aware of the conversations going on. “If Twitter means nothing to you at this point, it will in about 6 months time.”

A few themes to finish:

  • Creativity and Innovation
  • Environment (Learning Spaces available for students to collaborate in. Learning Grid is a ‘social space’ for students that allows them to rearrange the area into spaces that they can work in.) Collapsible cardboard video booth that you can put on campus and capture student input and insight on video.
  • Management and Capacity (resources.)
  • Skills and Capability – don’t need to teach Gen Y how to do it, DO need to teach academic/staff though.
  • Sustainability  – budget, getting organizational buy-in.
  • Brand and Reputation
  • Importance of Transparency

Great presentation, Tom!  And a good conference overall. I’ll post more thoughts later. Take care!

Comments posted (2)

Cheers for the kind words and positive response.

I really need to think more about the Shakespeare is Gen Y thing as it was a lot of fun.

Oh – and you rocked too!

And BTW – iTunes U for us is very video led – the bulk of US content may be audio as a fact of having been using the service for a lot longer, but the UK institutions are leading with more video content. It’s a much bigger part of our approach.

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