Published Thursday 15 April 2010
Research staff at Newcastle University were inspired by Netskills to embrace web technologies during an internal one-day conference last month.
The Innovative Practice with Web Technologies session, run by Netskills, equipped staff with an overview of online tools that can be used to help make everyday working life easier and more efficient.
Steve Boneham, Consultant Trainer at Netskills, highlighted in his presentation that it’s not about emerging technologies anymore, it’s more about emerging practices and uses of online technologies in academia.
He said: “Today’s session was about showing how web technologies can really benefit the research community. The aim was to tackle some of the fears people may encounter with technology and demonstrate how being open and sharing can add value to their work.”
Steve added that the session offered lots of possible solutions, but attendees were encouraged to identify one or two new approaches they could try immediately.
The session ended with some practical time, with attendees able to experiment with some of the online tools supported by Steve, Will and other Netskills staff. According to Steve, the feedback was extremely positive.
He said: “Several people came up to say that the session has really opened their minds about the opportunities of using social media and web technologies in academia.”
Bryn Jones, Dean of Postgraduate Studies in the Faculty of Science, Agriculture and Engineering (SAgE) at Newcastle University, left the workshop with a slightly overwhelmed, yet a positive feeling.
He said: “It’s a lot of new information to take in during a short but excellent session! Although, not all of it was completely novel for me, it does take some time to get your head around it all and figure out which tools are the ones that actually work for you.”
The SAgE faculty has already used social media, successfully using a Facebook page to help applicants ask questions and sort out housing issues.
After the workshop, Bryn was inspired to think of new ways to engage and interact with students. He said the next steps for the department could involve either the use of RSS or short videos as part of student induction.
Find out more: http://conferences.ncl.ac.uk/nclcomms/workshops.php