UK Web Focus (Brian Kelly)

Innovation and best practices for the Web

A Call for a Web 2.0 Policy Debate

Posted by Brian Kelly on 22 Dec 2007

A brief interview with me has just been published on the JISC Web site with the title ‘Information Professional of the Year’ calls for Web 2.0 policy debate. The article reflects many of the discussions which have taken place on this blog during the year:

There are divergences in opinion within the sector over the most appropriate development and deployment strategies for Web 2.0,’ he claims. ‘Some argue that higher educational institutions should be installing Web 2.0 services locally whilst others would argue that externally-hosted services can be used to support institutional requirements, with this providing benefits of scale and acknowledges that such services will, in any case, be used by people in their social activities.’

My call for a policy debate on these issues is clearly very timely in light of the demise of the Eduspaces social networking environment, its subsequent rebirth and the lively discussions taking place about the migration of the Eduspaces environment and the sustainability of the community.

I will be revisiting these issues in the new year.  But until then I’d like to wish everyone a Happy Christmas  – with the exception of readers in the US, to whom I pass on my seasonal greetings :-)

9 Responses to “A Call for a Web 2.0 Policy Debate”

  1. I believe there may be place for a policy on storing your personal, professional and/or course related data on third parties sites. There may also be a policy on dependence on third party sites for personal, professional and/or course related activities.

    I believe that a “web 2.0 policy” would only cause confusion, since there are so many and so varied ideas as to exactly what “web 2.0” exactly is.

  2. HI Stuart – I would very much agree with your comments. The focus of the interview was on the need for a discussion on use of third party sites for work-related activities. In addition, there’s also a need to discuss the use of services which are directly related to the individual for use in a work context – e.g. who owns and manages photos on Flickr taken in a work context6 and what happens if the person with the Flickr id leaves the organisation.

  3. Hi Brian
    It would be a great idea to capture in a policy document the many issues which are arising from Web 2.0 technologies for those responsible for developing and hosting institutional elearning systems. Such a document could incorporate the different viewpoints as expressed in our various blogs over the past few months – if we cannot agree on every aspect of policy. The session you hosted at the JISC CETIS conference recently covered a lot of issues which need to be captured properly too. Perhaps a wiki would be a good place to do this – though we’d better be careful to use a reliable site which isn’t going to go down or suddenly be removed… ;-)
    Merry Christmas!

  4. mary m said

    I have just joined this blog and would be very interested in the policy suggestion, but from the angle of Web 2.0 technologies in schools. Provision of these technologies in the context of child protection and how schools are currently run, can contradict their essential concept. Yet the various policies on the personalisation of learning, BSf etc.will increasingly depend on the type of authentic, motivating and collaborative technologies that networks such MY Space, UTube etc provide.

    In my opinion, this fundamental contradiction between policy aspirations for learning in the 21st century in our schools, and the requirement for assessment, benchmarking, reporting and the provision of an absolutely secure online environment, make the reality of online provision a nightmare and potentially an increasingly alienating experience for learners in schools.

    Perhaps I should add that I am part of an organisation, C2k, involved in providing a regional learning platform for all pupils and teachers in Northern Ireland.

  5. Hi Mary – The policy implications of use of Web 2.0 by young people is an area of growing importance to me, as this relates to the interests of the Museums, Libraries and Archives Council (one of UKOLN’s co-funders). I am aware of Childnet International which is “a non-profit organisation working with others to ‘help make the Internet a great and safe place for children'”. I know they are working on resources related to protection of children. Although whether it is possible to provide an “absolutely secure online environment” may be questionable (after all, can we provide an absolutely secure physical environment?). However this is part of the policy debate we need to have.

  6. mary m said

    Hi Brian – Yes I agree there are many organisations tasked with ‘internet safety for children.’ And that’s fine and necessary as far as it goes. But for me the policy issue needs to get to grips with much more fundamental issues. Virtual communities are a medium of being, but how often is the Internet referred to as a ‘tool’ thus robbing the discussion of all the social and ethical implications of another medium of existence. This has implications for the ethics of online existence, the democratisation of the online world etc, etc..All of which are not really taught in our schools. Yet we espouse the possibilities afforded by the medium on the one hand, while clinging desperately to the ‘real’ world values on the other. Agreeing what we mean by Web 2.0 by being virtual might be a good starting point.

  7. Hi Mary – thanks for the response. I agree that the “ethics of online existence” is another important area that needs to be addressed. I tend to regard this (and the related areas) as part of what I initially regarded as an information literacy policy debate, but am now now moving to use of terms such as ‘new media literacy’ or ‘transliteracy’ as this, I feel, can embrace the user as a creator of content and not just a passive consumer. And when you say that such issues aren’t really being taught at schools, I wonder whether they are being addressed systematically in high education.

  8. It’s clear to me that new media literacies aren’t being taught systematically in education full stop. There is a real need, both in terms of e-safety & security issues, learning, life and work skills, and in terms of citizenship and social participation for exploring and supporting new literacy programmes – but little actually happening on the ground. To me institutional evaluation and engagement needs to extend to supporting learners to help themselves – developing independence, resiliency and responsibility from a young age, supporting social engagement online by equipping learners to be critical participants. It seems crazy to me that this isn’t happening when NML could support and connect so many current policy concerns – particularly the personalisation agenda, Key Skills & Citizenship, and do so in an engaging, learner centered way.

  9. […] issues of ownership. Indeed I feel that this topics should be included as one of the topics in my recent call for a Web 2.0 […]

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