Poor neglected blog

Nearly coming up on an anniversary of my last post to this blog has made me reflect on why I seem to have drifted away from the process of getting ideas out through my own blog. Certainly part of it is sheer lack of time (and possibly ideas!) but it also reflects the choice of channel these days. For me the diversions include:

Of these it is cloudworks that has perhaps been the site that has captured most of what would otherwise have ended up in the blog. Cloudworks owes its existence mainly to Grainne Conole at the OU and is a site where you can create various notes (clouds) and link them together. Then others can comment on them. Flexibility to link to twitter and embed other bits of online stuff meant that for me it was a better place when blogging alongside others – especially conferences. And as that was when I posted quite a few of my posts it meant that my own blog has become very neglected.

On the whole I am happier with my notes being alongside those of others but also I feel a bit sad about losing the personal angle and collection. So what I need is a place that brings my contributions back together again! Not sure at the moment what will best provide this – options include adding links into a space I own (e.g. this blog), setting up a personal cloud, tools like netvibes (seems less fasionable than it was), or ??? Any ideas?

Open space as a good working environment: 9 possible principles

I wrote earlier about the mixed feelings that I had about moving from old office oriented space to a new open plan building. At the time it looked like we might end up moving across into rows of desks with not enough space to get us all in. Well things have moved on a bit and it looks like IET will have a less complete move into the new building, which will lower pressure on the space and we also have a little bit longer to plan. Another change is that in the new management structure I am working with Grainne Conole and Martin Weller to oversee part of IET the “Technology Enhanced Learning” (TEL) group. Chatting to Grainne earlier this week we found that while we are not sure exactly what we want we felt like there were some principles that ought to allow good working space. Here is my attempt to list some of those principles:

  1. Space that a visitor would envy – the it looks great to work here (even if it isn’t!)
  2. That the building works with different levels of capacity – everyone there to almost no-one there
  3. A choice of place and styles of work e.g:
    • Easy chairs plus display plus whiteboard (we have some really nice Smartboard 600is)
    • Tables and chairs to chat or work with a laptop
    • Desks with good screens and keyboards (not necessarily cpus though)
  4. Expect everyone to have a laptop/notebook (could be Asus eee PC or Apple Touch)
  5. Flexible space where people can change location and cope with areas of overload (everybody in)
  6. Not planned around a desk space for everyone
  7. An area of ownership for each person – where your files are and paper can be found from day to day 
  8. Joint responsibility for tidyness and impression on visitors – care for the environment
  9. Space for hard work and continuity when it is needed – but not all the time for everyone

Well that is my first pass – there is perhaps a bit of conflict in there and I know from talking to colleagues that ownership matters but I think we need to trade some of that for flexibility and space. We need to go from fantasy to furniture order in less than a month but I am a lot more hopeful than I was in October!

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