Last week I gave a talk on “The ‘Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World’ Report: Implications For IT Service Departments” to staff in BUCS (the Bath University Computer Services Department.

The following day, as she described in a blog post, Chris Sexton, IT Services Director at the University of Sheffield and UCISA chair, facilitated a similar session on “IT Service 2.0“.

Chris concluded that “There was a general acceptance of the conclusions of the report which was that Universities need to change, and that change will be driven by students and what they will demand“. Such comments could also apply to the discussions at the BUCS seminar. And the reservations which Chris described:

However, there was some opinion expressed that the report was an exaggeration of the change that web 2.0/social web will make in students. There was also a concern that we could be in the situation of using technology to cut costs – to deliver more with less – to the detriment of what a University education means“.

also reflected some concerns which were aired here at Bath.

Both of these events were  based on the recent report on the recent “Higher Education in a Web 2.0 World” CLEX report.

One of the points made in the report was the lack of a clear institutional blueprint for action:

Decisions on whether or not to implement Web 2.0 technologies are, however, the responsibility of each institution individually having regard to its particular ethos and circumstances. Here, experience can be shared, but there is no blueprint for action and, indeed, it may not be possible to develop a blueprint in an area that is so highly context specific.

Senior managers in IT Services at the Universities of Bath and Sheffield have started the discussions regarding such an institutional blueprint. I’m also aware of a forthcoming Web Community event at the University of Bradford which will address how the Web can be used to support the University’s mission and objectives.

Is there scope, I wonder, for an event for the community on exploiting the potential of Web 2.0 which could help in the process of developing an institutional blueprint? In November 2006 UKOLN organised an event on “Exploiting the Potential of Wikis” followed a year later by a similar one-day event on “Exploiting the Potential of Blogs and Social Networks“.

Both of these events, which were fully subscribed, provided an opportunity to explore some of the policy issues associated with provision of or access to wikis, blogs and social networks.

I think we are now in a situation in which we need to address the institutional issues associated with use of services in ‘The Cloud’ (e.g. sustainability, reliability, and legal issues) , the relationships between the bottom-up and personal use of networked services and the institutional provision of such services and the relevance of ‘Social Web’ technologies to support teaching and leaning and research activities within our institutions.

I’ll start exploring the possibilities of organising such an event. I’d welcome suggestions on the topics which should be addressed at such an event and possible speakers.

I’ll conclude by sharing the resources for the talk I gave at Bath. The slides are available on Slideshare (and embedded below) and a video of my talk is available on Vimeo.  In addition local-hosted copies of the resources are also available on the UKOLN Web site.

[slideshare id=1558270&doc=social-web-090610015810-phpapp02]

Please note that this post originally had a link to an incorrect version of the slides (a version which had been uploaded to a guest account). The post has been updated with a link to and an embedded versionof the managed resource. However the original version of the slides has not been deleted.