Part of my role at the LSE that I really enjoy is working with staff to find novel solutions to age-old problems. So a few weeks ago I was invited to discuss with colleagues in a research and teaching 'cluster' within a department that perennial question: "what's the point of an away day?"
The head of department appeared to want the staff to spend the day writing serious funding proposals and yet a survey of the staff suggested they wanted to "have fun, and get to know each-other." The away-day became a half day and the focus remained a little vague. The fixed points were lunch at noon, a gastro-pub at 5pm, and those apparent polar opposites, 'research applications' and 'fun'.
The result was an off-campus half day at St Martin in the the Fields, in the newly refurbished St Martin's Hall. I had organised a 'research-poster workshop', in which tables of 4 or 5 colleagues, of different grades, backgrounds and discipline focus (socially engineered by the departmental manager), worked from a 'mock' European Journal funding call. The funding call, which modelled the 'real thing', invited applications for 12-24 month projects to build research networks with at least three country partners and a particular discipline focus. There was a specification about dissemination, use of technology and so on. The session ran along lines similar to the 'World-Cafe' concept. So each table had to come up with a draft idea, blu-tac their A2 poster to the wall and then circulate around the other four groups' posters providing feedback in the form of post-its (colour coded for each group).
We are really delighted to have this news and keen to explore with a US audience some of the resources outside the original JISC digitization projects which initiated our framework approach. This project started in 2006 as a very small 'assisted take-up' activity for JISC but has maintained a consistent level of interest, development and support.
We are also keen to develop with our US colleagues, at this specific gathering with the focus on distance education, the 'spaces' dimension of the framework and look at how access to digital artefacts via laptops, tablets and handheld devices affects the pedagogical affordances presumed of them. We'll be tweeting at #dialeUS as we plan and prepare for the conference. We hope some of you will join us.