On Thursday 21st June 2007 I gave the opening plenary talk on
Web 2.0: Opportunity Or Threat For IT Support Staff? at the UCISA SDG IT Support Staff Symposium.
The symposium was opened by David Harrison, Assistant Director of Information Services at the University of Cardiff and the current UCISA chair. In his introduction David argued strongly that IT Service department needed to be user-focussed, and this time they need to mean it as otherwise the user community will go elsewhere.
Steve Gough, Assistant Director of IT Services at the University of Reading and chair of the UCISA SDG Distributed IT Support Staff sub-group, welcomed delegates to the event and described how a Facebook group had been set up for the symposium, which would provide an opportunity for delegates to gave an understanding of the strengths and weakness of Facebook.
These two brief talks provided a much welcomed context for my talk, in which I argued that Web 2.0 can be a valuable opportunity for IT support staff, as well as for our user community. However in order to maximise the benefits, we need to make use of Web 2.0 technologies to support our activities – which will also provide us with an opportunity to understand the limitations and to develop strategies for addressing any concerns.
My slides are available on Slideshare and I’ve noticed that within a few days 5 Slideshare users had added the presentation to their list of favourites. And one user, sleslie, (who describes himself on his blog as “an educational technology researcher and emerging technology analyst … at the BCcampus Learning Resources Centre“) gave his comments on the slides.
What should be the quick elevator pitch for why people should adopt Michael Nowlan’s (note not ‘Nolan’ as given above) “allow before disallow” attitude? And perhaps more importantly, how should institutions support such cultural change? Or, as indicated by the opening remarks at the symposium, perhaps we are already well advanced in the UK, and it is universities in North America which face greater problems.