‘HE in a Web 2.0 World’ report

This week saw the launch of the final report from the Committee of Inquiry into the Changing Learner Experience titled HE in a Web 2.0 World.  This Committee (which despite its close ties to JISC is actually independent as I understand it) was formed in my final months at JISC so this report has been a long time coming and I’m glad to see it finally released to what for the most part seems to have been positive feedback though it has come in for some (I think constructive) criticism.

I’m not going to critique the report itself, there are far more qualified people out there than me for that, but for what its worth I do think the title of the report makes a common mistake in the use of Web 2.0 as a term.  The report seems to focus very much on the ‘social web’ (which is fine with me as thats where I am most comfortable) but does rather miss the whole ‘web as a platform’ and ‘software as a service’ elements of Tim O’Reillys original vision (albeit a marketing driven vision!)

What I’d like to do is say how impressed with the way the launch was handled as a ‘multi-platform’ activity.  The press release not only came with an associated podcast but also a well publicised tag for Twitter, blogs etc.  That printed reports are only available on request (I’d love to think this was ‘print-on-demand’ but that might be too much) is also a nice touch.  I also like the fact there was a genuine launch event as I still believe the face to face aspects of comms and marketing is vital.  Also I love that it was open enough to let Brian attempt to video the talks.  A long time ago when I still had a direct involvement in this kind of activity I used the term ‘blended communications’ as a riff on the way ‘blended learning’ was at the time becoming the term of the week in the e-Learning community and I think this was a fine example of that.

Steph and Neil have both recently written about the challenges of the ‘social media release’ and I’m glad to see JISC are also experimenting in this interesting area.  Its not without its challenges and requirement for resources but I do believe its the way forward.

This is not to say I wouldn’t have done things a little differently.  I would have liked to see the report released as a ‘beta’ similar to the way the Power of Information was released for comment in advance of its final report.  Using Commentpress or Commentariat (or even Write to Reply) is technically straightforward and would have added another nice social touch to the entire activity.

I don’t want to take anything away from the team though – I think it was a great piece of work and I hope to see more like it in the future.