Just finished giving a presentation to the first pre-MootUK11 Unconference about:
- Innovation and local development
- Building a community – DevCSI experience
- Tips for a successful unconference
I tried to give an overview why developers, and particularly local developers (i.e. working within the education sector, or for the sector) are important for technical innovation in education. I also outlined the things that managers and developers need to be doing in order for technical innovation to occur, some examples included, being given ‘time’ and ‘space’ to work on innovative projects, try new things such as agile development techniques and pair programming (even just once) and get out and meet fellow peers at events, network, share ideas and experience.
I also outlined the work of the DevCSI project, which is all about:
- Growing a community of support, development and innovation for software developers in Further and Higher Education
I outlined and highlighted some of the the work in phase one and phase two of the project (09-10 and 10-11). More, detailed information is available on my presentation – link at the bottom of the page.
I then moved onto the value that local developers provide organisations, e.g:
- understand local context, act as bridge between remote service providers, open source communities, and local end users and add value by integrating into local contexts
- work closely with end users to deliver innovation
- developers have particular skills such as computational thinking and version control which the institution can learn from
- measuring the value of what developers do
I also tried to give some ideas and share experiences of starting a community:
- have a core group of people who are leading the development of the community
- don’t be afraid to ask for help from existing projects, commercial sponsorship (e.g. DevCSI etc)
I outlined a number of case studies we are commissioning and the need for more case studies in the area of e-learning. I also outlined the results of the DevCSI Stakeholder Survey carried out with UK F/HE, regarding the value of developers. I was approached by Dan Attwood from Midkent college who has offered to give me a case study re: developing a moodle plugin.
Also, Roy Yarkoni from the Open University Of Israel approached me, who is interested in speaking about developing a community of developers in Israel. We agreed to continue this via email in the first instance.
I mentioned the idea of a UK Academic Developer Registry and judging by the nodding of heads, there was general agreement about the idea being a good one. Gavin Henrick suggested using Mahara as tool for developing the registry. As discussions are fairly early in this area, this idea will be considered seriously.
I finished off giving the audience some tips from my own experience of running and attending unconferences.
I really hope they found the presentation useful. I was conscious that my slides were quite dense with a lot of information to absorb, hopefully though, people got something out of it.
My slides are available here.
Thanks to all for listening and remember DevCSI can help you with the creation of your community, please contact me either about this, or other potential ‘success stories’ which demonstrate the impact of local development!
Have a great unconference, sorry I can’t be there till the end!