Just another UKOLN Blogs weblog
RSS icon Email icon Home icon
  • Amplified Conferences: Are We There Yet?

    Posted on June 11th, 2009 Marieke Guy No comments

    This year’s Eduserv Symposium 2009, held on Thursday 21st May, 2009 at the Royal College of Physicians, London, was titled ‘Evolution or revolution: The future of identity and access management for research’. Interesting…but not really my cup of tea.

    What was my cup of tea was the way the event was amplified. Eduserv used a company called Switch New Media to pull together a number of resources including the live stream, the programme, live Twitter feed, live blog (Scribble Live) and speaker details. (Apparently Switch New Media were also involved in the amplification of the JISC Conference and the JISC Libraries of the Future event in Oxford).

    The video footage itself was incredible, there were a number of different camera angles, close ups and long shots of the audience. For me the only thing that seemed to be missing was the actual slides (though these were shown as part of the stream footage).

    Eduserv also provided a social network prior to the event and had a number of staff attending to remote attendee needs. For example I saw Mike Ellis from Eduserv ask a speaker a question after discussion with a remote attendee through the live blogging.

    The Eduserv Symposium Home page

    The Eduserv Symposium Home page

    I’ve dipped into a number of streamed events but have to say that this is the first time I have felt like the only thing I was missing was the coffee break banter and the lunch queue!

    The CILIP in Scotland 09 event was also recently streamed and the team were keen to try out new amplified approaches. Ian Edelman, Web manager at Hants Council wrote an interesting post entitled At least I didn’t have to go to Scotland on his experience of the event.

    He comments:

    I did, however, feel dislocated from the action and not seeing the speaker made it more difficult to follow the presentation. Sound quality could have been better. I had to move through the slides myself rather than the speaker doing it, so a couple of times I got out of sync. But all in all it worked and as technology improves the experience should as well.

    Brian Kelly also wrote a blog post on CILIP2.0 event held in London not long before the Scottish CILIP event. In his post the Lessons Learnt from the Amplification of the CILIP2 Event he talks in more detail about specifics (mainly technical) that could have improved the day.

    So are we there yet?

    Live streaming, sharing resources and remote attendance of conference is becoming pretty mainstream so the question is really are we there yet? In the past I’ve tried to follow events but unless I was really keen to see a speaker I’ve always ended up turning off and getting on with something else. The experience just didn’t work for me.

    I’m no expert on the technologies involved in streaming an event but appreciate that not all organisations can pay for a dedicated company to ensure all the pieces fit together, however these days most technologies needed can be used for free. So assuming that the technology isn’t a problem what are the most important factors and what do we still have to learn? Note that I’m talking here as a user/consumer of the event – not as an event provider.

    • Inform people before the event – make sure you let people know what is happening in advance, put the details out there (on your Web site, on your blog, on Twitter etc.) Share tags and location of resources.
    • Involve them before the event – Allow them to be part of the community, join in any social networking, chat etc.
    • Keep it together – Have a main page for the event and if possible embedd all your the resources on it. Link to everything. Something like the Onetag idea might be a start.
    • Give remote people a voice – Have someone monitor Twitter and any live blogging, pass on their feedback to speakers and ask their questions for them. Have a remote contact for the event.
    • Inform people after the event – make sure you continue to let people know where all the resources are and attempt to get any screen casts up as quickly as possible.
    • Follow it up – Try and get feedback from remote attendees, check blog post on the event, have a look at your stats. Take all you learn on board.

    I’m sure there is more too it than that but right now it seems to be very much about making people feel involved.

    I’d add to this list an issue for those actually at an event but relating to amplifying of it – respect your delegates. There can be issues with filming delegates, especially when taking close up footage. There are many ways to deal with this: for example by asking people to agree to be filmed when booking to attend, or by asking them when they arrive. This is could be too dictatorial so another option might be to offer a no-go filming area in the auditorium.

    At UKOLN we’ve been amplifying conferences for some time (See Brian Kelly’s post back from September 2007) but we are always learning. I’m going to try and take as much of this on board as I can when I sit in the other side of the fence and offer video streaming of an event I organise: The Institutional Web Management Workshop 2009. Any feedback will be much appreciated!

  • Green IT 09

    Posted on May 7th, 2009 Marieke Guy No comments

    At the moment the Green IT conference and exhibition is running at the Business Design Centre, London.

    Squeezed between slowing economic indicators and rising energy costs, the IT industry is facing its biggest challenge ever as it strives towards a sustainable future. At the same time, many IT departments are facing up to their own local responsibilities, in terms of both business efficiency and corporate responsibility. Green IT 09 gives you the chance to be part of the whole debate.

    There are some interesting looking sessions on topics including Employing cloud computing to drive energy and cost savings, Get Lean and Mean: Green IT’s significant contribution during Tougher Times and Green IT for the London 2012 Olympics.

    All the presentations from last year are available to download, hopefully they’ll make this year’s available soonish too.

  • Improving Services and Reducing Costs Through Flexible Working

    Posted on May 5th, 2009 Marieke Guy No comments

    Just a reminder that I’m speaking at the Public Sector Forums Improving Services and Reducing Costs Through Flexible Working one-day conference on June 23rd, Birmingham. The conference will look at how flexible working can reduce costs and improve services in the public sector. They’ve also now confirmed some additional speakers (see the confirmed case studies below).

    Improving Services Through Flexible Working

    John Pitt, Corporate Director, Wakefield MDC
    How Hertfordshire’s Flexible Working programme has:
    • Improved Performance Indicators
    • Reduced costs through better utilisation of office space
    • Increased choice of access channels for citizens

    The Savings and Drivers for Flexible Working
    Jon Watkinson, The Project Networkl Ltd
    • The generic business case for achieving saving
    • Staff benefits and increased outpu
    • Compliance with new legislation
    • Improved services to residents
    • The environmental advantages
    • Common hurdles to implementation

    WorkSMART: More than home working
    Terri Fleming, Performance & Information Manager, Denbighshire County Council
    • The basic principles of worksmart – information management, space management, home and mobile working
    • The project to date, what we have done, what it will accomplish – £2 million in accommodation savings capital by 2011
    • Problem areas, what we have come across and how we have solved any issues – the policies that needed to be drafted

    How to be a Connected Remote Worker in 10 Easy Steps
    Marieke Guy, Research Officer, UKOLN, University of Bath
    Working away from your office can often be an isolating experience, but it needn’t be. Today there are a huge amount of tools that can support you. This talk will consider:
    • the significance of social networks
    • the rise in use of various communications methods and mobile devices
    • motivating remote workers
    • how a remote workers can be effectively managed

    Flexible Working – Informal Practices to Formal Policies
    Jill Scott, Equality and Diversity Adviser, Birmingham City University
    • Pros and Cons of Formal Systems and Informal Practices
    • Developing a Formal Policy – Guidelines
    • Case Study Example (University of Exeter)

    The Way We Work’ at Hertfordshire County Council
    Emel Morris, Head of Communications for TWWW programme at Hertfordshire County Council
    • Reducing the office portfolio from 66 offices to three main bases
    • Centralising key support services – HR, IS / IT, Finance and Property
    • Introducing new technology to reduce bureaucracy and simplify processes
    • Supporting staff and managers through the changes

    Delegates will be seated ‘cabaret’ style at round tables and plenty of time for networking and group discussion will be built into the conference programme.

    If you’d like to come along, please complete the booking form.

  • Flexible/Remote Working Events

    Posted on April 6th, 2009 Marieke Guy No comments

    The right to request flexible working has been extended to parents of children under the age of 17 with effect from today. With this in mind I thought it might be a good moment to tell you about a couple of forthcoming events I’ve been invited to talk about flexible/remote working at.

    Improving Services and Reducing Costs Through Flexible Working

    June 23rd, Birmingham City FC (Conference)

    This event will look at ‘best practice’ in implementing a successful flexible working strategy and consider how it can unlock capacity, improve productivity and demonstrate cashable efficiency in your organisation.

    I’m giving a talk on How to be a Connected Remote Worker in 10 Easy Steps. There are also going to be a number of case studies presented including:

    • WorkSMART: More than home working -
      Terri Fleming, Performance & Information Manager, Denbighshire County Council
    • Flexible Working – Informal Practices to Formal Policies – Jill Scott, Equality and Diversity Adviser, Birmingham City University
    • Improving Services Through Flexible Working – John Pitt, Corporate Director, Wakefield MDC
    • The Way We Work’ at Hertfordshire County Council -
      Emel Morris, Head of Communications for TWWW programme at Hertfordshire County Council

    Full details and booking form are available from the Public Sector Forum Web site.

    Public sector Forum are running a smaller, related event on the 5th May in Birmingham called Savings through Flexible and Mobile Working in the Public Sector. The details for this event are also on their Web site.

    Universities and Colleges Information Systems Association (UCISA) Advisory and Support Staff Symposium 2009

    8th July 2009, Aston Business School Conference Centre

    The theme for the 2009 Symposium is “It’s not what you do, it’s the way that you do it“. The organisers have put together a programme which aims to address the needs of staff involved in the delivery, management or planning of advisory services in IT departments, libraries and MIS departments and distributed IT support staff working individually or in small groups away from the main centres.

    I’m facilitating a workshop on Connecting Remote workers and am unfortunately presenting in parallel with Peter James presenting on Green IT – I would have like to see him present again! (I mentioned the SusteIT project on the blog a few weeks back.)

    Futher details are available from the UCISA Web site.

    I’ve put in proposals for a few other conferences but have yet to hear back from them. I’ll keep you posted.

  • Location Independent Working

    Posted on March 24th, 2009 Marieke Guy 4 comments

    This week I popped up to Edinburgh for the JISC Conference. The conference is an opportunity for JISC to showcase many of their projects and an opportunity for us working in the UK Higher Education sector to find out what other institutions are working on.

    During the ‘Making the move to Green‘ session I heard David Morris, Professor of Business Education from the University of Coventry talking about the Location Independent Working (LIW) project. The project, which has recently finished, was part of the Institutional Innovation Programme and in Morris’ own words both an attempt to “legitimise home working” and investigate further the proposition that “it’s not about where you work, it’s what you so that counts“. There is a good write up in the Times Higher.

    The project took 40 members of staff and offered them an equipment toolkit, training and a LIW handbook which would allow them to work in locations other than their office. There was also a support blog. It then measured the affects this arrangement had on a number of factors including health, work-life balance, communication etc.

    I think the project, although interesting, is not necessarily revolutionary and the measured outcomes at the end were not surprising. What it does show is the interest the Higher Education sector has in further exploring the arena of remote working. Remote working has the potential to get HE out of a sticky mess when it comes to space and environmental drivers.

    Morris alluded to the fact that there are still many potential areas of further research. One of these touches on a question that many remote workers ask themselves (primarily for financial reasons) – Am I using more heating and electricity here at home than I would if I were in the office? I’m going to be watching the LIW blog with interest.

  • Making your Slides All Things to All People

    Posted on November 25th, 2008 Marieke Guy No comments

    I’ve just run a presentation ‘Think Tank’ at work. This was a very informal brainstorming session where we could talk about how my organisation, UKOLN, can progress with its approach to presentations.

    We discussed our current thoughts on UKOLN presentations, what we liked about other presentations and how this could be applied to our own presentations bearing in mind things like layout, content, colour, animation, branding, fonts, images etc.

    The session went well and there was lots of useful discussion.

    One predicament that came up was how much information should you put in a presentation? (Should you fill it with data or keep it minimalist? What exactly should a presentation do? Should it stand alone as a resource or only work when presented by a presenter?)

    Today, especially in academia where sharing of knowledge is the goal, presentations are increasingly being made available and used after an event has taken place. There is a fashion for ‘amplified conferences’, whereby the outputs (such as plenary talks) can be amplified through use of a variety of network tools and collateral communications and services like Slideshare have made this ‘sharing’ even easier. Even if slides aren’t going online they often end up in conference proceedings.

    Remote workers frequently come to slides after they’ve already been presented. For example here at UKOLN this happens a lot with our internal staff seminars.

    So what do you do? Your slides now need to be all things to all people.

    Having given it some thought there are a number of options:

    • One approach might be to add extra information to the ‘notes’ section in PowerPoint. This could then help those coming to the slides after the event. This information can also be captured by Slideshare.
    • Another might be to create a document to accompany any presentation. In his book Presentation Zen Garr Reynolds feels that most people currently produce what he calls a slideument (slides + document) which in reality doesn’t work. He suggests it would be better to create two separate documents: a slide presentation and a written document that sits alongside it. This is an approach that my team leader and I have been experimenting with through the use of introbytes or briefing papers that we hand out at events (instead of print outs of slides!)
    • You could also try creating two sets of slides. One for use on the stage and another for uploading to a Web site before or after the conference. This will allow you have simpler slides and possibly more of them for on stage and less ‘more information based’ slides for other use. These could be in a more controllable format like PDF. You’ll also feel better about editing your live slides at the very last minute as they are a ‘different set’.

    Are there any other ways we could deal with this catch 22 situation?