MmIT 2015: Digital Life Beyond the Institution

Title: Digital Life Beyond the Institution

Speaker: Brian Kelly

Event details: MmIT 2015 conference, 14-15 September 2015.

Date and time: 13.30-14.20 on Monday 14 September 2015

VenueThe Edge, The Endcliffe Village, Endcliffe Crescent, Sheffield, S10 3ED

Social media is now widely (but not universally) acknowledged as having a valuable role to play across a range of institutional activities, including marketing, learning and research.

However use of social media challenges a number of established beliefs and practices such as ‘software must be open source’, ‘the institution must manage its IT infrastructure’ and ‘users’ privacy is paramount’.

Anecdotally it appears that there are inconsistencies across the institution in how social media can or should be used, with, perhaps, IT service departments stating use of services such as Dropbox contravene institutional policies whilst academics and researchers may encourage use of such technologies.

However the importance of Cloud services should become self-evident when we consider the continued use of online services when members of an institution leave their host institution and wish to continue using services they are familiar with and continue to engage with their peers. Ironically it appears that many in-house services will act as an ‘institutional silo’, with staff and students having little time to migrate content and communities when they leave their institution.

The importance of making effective use of an IT environment after leaving one’s host institution should be regarded as an aspect of an institution’s digital literacy policy, since digital literacy covers the ability to be able to evaluate and use digital resources as part of life-long learning. And yet the typical institution’s VLE, VRE, etc. are likely to be inaccessible once the user has left their institution.

This session will explore such tensions, describe a risks and opportunities framework for assessing and addressing the risks in using Cloud services and explore the role of librarians in supporting a digital life beyond the host institution.

The session will be informed by the presenter’s personal experiences in leaving two institutions recently and facing the challenges in continuing to be able to exploit his areas of expertise, content and professional networks in order to continue to be a productive member of society!

Biographical details
Brian started work in the higher education sector in 1984 and, between then and 1994 worked in IT service departments at the universities of Loughborough, Liverpool and Leeds. Brian Kelly worked for three Jisc-funded organisations, Netskills, UKOLN and Cetis, from 1994-2015. Following cessation of Jisc funding Brian is now working an independent consultant. Brian continues to have an interest in best practices for exploiting web technologies and exploring the potential of innovative technologies and practices.

Brian is a prolific blogger on the UK Web Focus blog. He has giving many presentations and has been an invited plenary speaker at international conferences in Sweden, Taiwan, Singapore and Australia as well as the UK. He has written peer-reviewed papers on web accessibility, web preservation and web standards. He has made use of social media to raise the visibility of his peer-reviewed papers – this has been so successful that his papers are the most downloaded of any researcher at the University of Bath.

In order for Brian to be able to continue to effectively exploit his knowledge, expertise, resources and networks he will need to continue his digital life beyond the institutional digital environment. The approaches he has taken will be described in his talk at the MmIT conference.


The slides are available on Slideshare and embedded below.