With Owen Williams in ITMS, I have been playing around with the idea of a DMU Commons, or a federated set of spaces [blogs] for using, sharing and producing, which users can theme and extend using widgets. DMU staff and students can use their own space on the Commons for blogging or as a website. They can make it public or private, or share it with a few colleagues. You can see what we are thinking about here: https://our.dmu.ac.uk/about/
We have been working on the idea that permeability across departments and projects within/beyond DMU demands that staff and students can autonomously contribute to the production of DMU as a University with a clear vision. However, it also focuses upon how open we are as a community. Openness is a critical attribute, and connects to our view of the curriculum, research, partnerships, data, community-working etc.. This open strategy might be captured in a view of DMU as a “knowing University”, framed less by the dictates of the knowledge economy, and more by enabling society/communities to solve problems at a relevant scale and thereby to innovate. Permeability and openness are critical in enabling new spaces and teams to be created, in order to solve those problems. These spaces might be found on an emerging “DMU Commons”. Some matters arising include:
1. What are our communal structures? How are teams formed and re-formed in order to produce DMU?
2. Which communities do we serve and how to we connect with them via the Commons?
3. How do the social relationships between governors, staff, students and communities support innovation and permeability? How democratic/deliberative can we be?
4. As an organisation, how do we enable multiple cultures through our vision?
5. How do we manage governance on the Commons? Is consensus possible?
We hope that the Commons will encourage openness in planning, archives, data, networks and technologies, in order to enable Centres, staff, students, businesses, communities etc. to innovate and to exchange ideas. The DMU Commons might include a range of more enclosed spaces for critical data/business confidentiality, but it should enable research projects and outputs, teaching and learning plans, Centre plans, archives etc. to be linked and developed.
The DMU Commons runs on WordPressMU [see: http://wordpress.com/] hosted by the Web Services Team in ITMS [formerly the Library Services' Web Services Team]. The Commons is an emergent place, but we have been supporting project blogs there for over a year:
There are also some examples of staff use of the Commons:
If you are DMU staff/students and would like to play around on our Commons you can create a personal blog/website or register, follow the guidance at: https://our.dmu.ac.uk/administration/
There is emergent help/guidance on http://our.dmu.ac.uk. If you can work Blackboard you can work this. Self-help, using the tutorials at https://our.dmu.ac.uk/help/, is the order of the day. It's common land rather than private property, after all. However, any issues, email firstname.lastname@example.org.