So, as one year passes and another arrives, it’s time for me to try to use a ‘public’ statement, (insofar as OUseful.info can be read by anyone with web access) to declare some of the things I’d like to do in 2010 in the hope (fear?!) that my imagined readership may try to hold me to account on one or two of the items;-)
Around about this time last year, I resolved to try to get involved with ‘policy’ in some way; aided and abetted by Joss Winn, who picked up on a tweet early in the relating to the lack of commentable versions of the Digital Britain Interim Report, we’ve since set up a not-for-profit company limited by guarantee – Public Platforms Limited – to look after the interests of WriteToReply, a document commenting platform based on a WordPress theme we’d seen used on a couple of government consultation sites and that we used to republish the Digital Britain Interim Report. WriteToReply also spawned a JISCRI project (JISCPress), brilliantly managed by Joss, which started to develop a platform to support project calls. So here’s my first resolution:
Continue to work on the development of the WriteToReply and JISCPress platforms, including: technical development; use case development; business development.
With an election due, I’m quite keen to see what we might be able to do with the various party manifestos… So if the digital engagement’n’social media folk of any of the main parties want to give us an electronic copy of their respective manifestos, and a free license to republish them in commentable form, that would be handy;-)
Last year’s resolution to engage with the policy thing was in part a response to a call from my Head of Department to get involved with such matters; this year, the call is out to generate billable hours in the form of consultancy work, so here’s resolution number two:
Generate in excess of 15K UKP invoiced by the OU for my “services” doing whatever. I’ve always been resistant to this sort of thing (“why would anyone want to pay me? And what would they want in return….?! I am not worthy etc etc”) so if you do have any budget that needs consuming by a “public agitant” (cf. a critical friend;-), I may be able to help… but no guarantees!;-) Also considered: mashup workshops for non-programmers (alongside Mike Ellis if he’s up for it..?!), tinkering with your toys (see the Arcadia Project blogs for what I managed to do in the Cambridge Library context).
The third item on the list is a continuation of another of last year’s forays:
To further explore the notion of data journalism, as well as the use of live data in an (open) educational context. The main short term focus for me in this direction will be around the data.gov.uk initiative, and in particular the crafting of: a) shareable parameterised queries, that are: b) expressed in representations that can be directly consumed by third party applications and visualisation widgets (i.e. no programming required;-) But I also hope to get into the Linked Data thang in the context of HEIs (or at least, try to keep up with whatever Stuart Brown manages to pull off!)
A guiding principle for all the above will be to continue to work in an open fashion, ideally in the context of one of more “uncourses”. One thing I’d love to be able to do is run an open course under an OU assessment-only model. So if you think you’d like to do an introductory uncourse on plug’n’play visualisation, or doodling with data and then bung the OU 150 quid for a bit of for-credit assessment, let our Sub-Dean (Teaching) know ;-)
On a personal front, Martin Weller has been leading a charge on developing a promotions framework that acknowledges “digital scholarship” activities, so I need to decide whether or not it’s worth taking two whole weeks (or so I’ve been told!) to put together a largely meaningless promotion case document together in a form that the promotions panel will deign to look at, or whether I just keep blogging things I find OUseful and interesting and fail to further my career for yet another year.
PS And finally: last year I had the opportunity to spend 10 weeks on a Fellowship in Cambridge, as well as deliver an invited talk at EdMedia in Hawaii. Although I’d love to be able to do either of those things again, I’d also quite fancy spending a week or two shadowing someone in the Houses of Parliament Library, or a ‘data engineer’ in an F1 team;-), as well as a chance to pop over to North America/Canada and just see what might happen if I got to spend a bit of time with the likes of Scott Leslie, Brian Lamb, Jim Groom, and others ;-) (I also owe George Siemens an article and need to chase Downes about digging in to the link structur of edu-blogs.)
PPS there are a couple of other things’n’people I really should include in this post, but it’s time for tea:-)