One of the areas we are currently looking at is how we support staff who want to use new or innovative communications methods – for example blogs, wikis, social networking sites. Should we be providing a “managed” environment for these technologies, together with support and training, or letting people use the free software that is readily available (for example how this blog is set up)? What technical help do people need, what do they find easy to use, and what do they struggle with? Is there any interest? In order to answer some of these questions, we held a workshop this lunchtime with 50 attendees (we have enough people on the waiting list to fill another session as well), and had some very interesting discussions, from the very technical to broader issues surrounding acceptable use policies, training and pedagogy.
We also took the opportunity to demonstrate group response software and hardware that we have – everyone was issued with a small handset and asked to answer a number of different questions by pressing the appropriate number on it. The software quickly analyses the responses and provides the results in the form of a chart. I used it recently in a workshop on risk – we voted on what we thought the probability and impact of the University’s top corporate risks were. We then spent an hour discussing the results and voted again. It’s amazing what a difference an hour can make! We have 300 handsets, and are happy to help any department that wants to use them and LeTS have produced a guide to using them. We will be using them at our next departmental meeting.