The purpose of this document is to present a joint communication and dissemination strategy and plan fo the Aspect and iCoper projects activities and outcomes during the life of the project in order to create maximum impact.
This document, then, details the activities to be carried out in the framework of a dissemination strategy, the responsibilities to be undertaken by project partners, and the ongoing evaluation of the progress and results of such activities.
The present dissemination plan is a working tool that reflects the approach and activities outlined in the projects proposals but that will be enriched by the input and achievements of all partners. The Interim and Final reports will specify the actions carried out during the project life cycle.
The eContentplus programme identifies the following objective of a BPN:
to promote the adoption of standards and specifications for making digital content in Europe more accessible and usable by combining the "consensus building and awareness raising" function of a network with the large-scale implementation in real-life context of one or more concrete specifications or standards by its members.
The key words here are consensus building, awareness raising, and large-scale implementation. It is left to different projects to define who the participants in the BPNs are, and to map their roles and activities.
Through the roadmapping activities in ICOPER we will work on models describing how community requirements are fed into the specification design process and valorised in the standards consensus process. These models will also describe how specifications and standards are disseminated to the community and adopted, hopefully leading to large-scale implementations.
To come up with an effective communication and dissemination strategy for the best practice networks, we need to identify the different communities contributing to the different stages of this process, and to get a clear picture of the activity streams we need to connect to in order to build best practices.
There are a number of generic models that could be used to define a Best Practice Network
[footnote: the SECI model used in the ICOPER Roadmapping activites; models based on Activity Theory and the Change Laboratory process described by Yrjo Engeström and others (http://edutechwiki.unige.ch/en/Change_laboratory and http://kplab.evtek.fi:8080/wiki/Wiki.jsp?page=ChangeLaboratory ); and some of models coming out of social software practices, for example the Cloudwork project of OU (http://cloudworks.open.ac.uk/).]
The main lesson to be learnt from all these approaches is that we are not only concerned with disseminating content (pieces of Best Practice), nor do we just want to connect people. Our aim is to support and strengthen networks of people that are connected by shared objects through activities.
In the diagrammatic language of the Cultural-Historical Activity Theory community is described in this generic model:
Applied to a BPN as an activity system, this model could be filled out with the following entities (figure below): The Subject could be an Educator or a Standards Expert, working towards a good Support System for learning using a Learning Technology Specification, being part of a Best Practice Network, that is following some specific Social Rules and encourage some specific Relationship between their participants.
In this Communication and Dissemination Strategy we will be concerned with the relationships between people and issues, with a special focus on the shared objects of the particular networks and the rules and practices that the different activity systems build up.
This theoretical approach to understand best practice networks could be illustrated with two cases from the ASPECT project, which might be said to deal with three types of actors: teachers, standards bodies and VLE producers. Analytically however, we can argue that teachers are distinct from the two others as they are users/consumers of what the other two actors design. So basically we propose two networks, one for teachers and one for standards bodies and VLE producers, that are separate as they have different focus but they will also exchange ideas on practices and technologies in shared spaces.BPN 1 – standards experts and tools developers
objective (why they produce): A VLE that exceeds the possibilities of the older VLEs based on older standards.
tools: learning technology specification (concepts, data models, implementation details), meeting places (internet, f2f)
rules/procedures: how to meet, how to implement the specification (implementation details), how to give feedback,
division of labor: standards experts defines the specification while the VLE developers tries to implement and give feedback.
objective (why they produce): to meet the objectives of their curricula, to make students learn, to make it easier to teach, to have less workload, because they are asked to use a certain VLE
tools: authoring tool, VLE, support system, meeting places (internet, f2f), guidelines for teachers (both conceptual and technical)
Dissemination in a Best Practice Network is a tool to connect people to subjects and activities of the Network. We will aim at different levels of involvement:
1. Dissemination for Awareness.
We want to raise awareness about the ICOPER project and its objectives (e.g., its emphasis on transparency and open dialogue on learning technology standards, being a good source for more information). Awareness of ICOPER may be useful for those target audiences that do not require a detailed knowledge of our project but should be aware of our activities and outcomes.
Creating such an awareness will help the "word of mouth" type dissemination and help us build an identity and profile within our community.
2. Dissemination for Understanding.
We want to raise understanding of ICOPER key issues and results for a number of target groups that we want to engage in our discourse and invite to further collaboration. These are the groups that we think will benefit from the results of ICOPER, and therefore need a deeper understanding of our work.
3. Dissemination for Actions.
"Action" refers to a change of practice resulting from the adoption of ideas, approaches or outcomes offered by ICOPER. These groups/audiences are those that are in a position to "influence" and "bring about change" within their organisations. These are the groups/audiences that need to be equipped with the right skills, knowledge and understanding of our work in order to achieve real change. They should be able to combine and integrate key messages, groups and results (emphasis on selection - results analysis and modelling). They should be challenged to take part in the best practice network and planning for next actions.
1. Clear expression of the project mission and main goals (this should be done in a visionary manner that addresses both a) the project duration + b) the Best Practice Network after the project is finished
2. Creation of Wokring Groups (WGs)
3. Identify target groups per thematic category and their role within BPN
4. Identification of key messages per category per target group
5. Tailor the tools and communication for each target group
7. Establishment of the best Practice Network and integration of all thematic networks and platforms/ tools (i.e. membership application form, criteria of acceptance, requirements, benefits, profile management, IPR issues involved etc.)
8. Selection of tools and methodologies for evaluation of Dissemination activities – Performance indicators
9. Evaluate Dissemination gaps – cooperation with WP10 to establish methodology for evaluation (target groups, tools, technologies, thematic coverage, etc.)
ICOPER Working Groups
For each WG, a responsible rapporteur has been appointed who will organize and document the activities of his/her WG. The group of rapporteurs will form the core Roadmapping and Reference Model Analysis team that will have regular flash meetings together with the Roadmapping and IRM groups. Each WG rapporteur will also be responsible for maintaining and updating the respective WG spaces on both EucaNext ICOPER community and the ICOPER project site.
To disseminate effectively we have to make a strategy based on the following aspects:
The ICOPER consortium is using the Educanext platform as a tool for internal communication, as a data store, for reporting purposes, etc. The Educanext platform is offering a host of different tools, often found in a number of integrated platforms or stand-alone services on the web. As ICOPER partners are working in a number of both national, European and international projects, there is no way that we could expect all activity to happen within one technical framework. Work groups use a lot of different tools, e.g., even if Educanext has a wiki tool, there will be a widespread use of tools like Google sites.
How do you build a map of the community activities, roles, persons involved in ICOPER, so that we will be able to connect people on tasks? The challenge is to a large extent the same as the one we have when we are designing learning technologies. We need to do identity management, administer access rules, provide spaces for collaborative work, distribute resources, etc. When ICOPER is reviewing all the different standards supporting these activities to come up with recommendations, we have to make sure that we use the results to enhance our own support infrastructure to build the ICOPER community and also lay the foundations for a sustainable learning technology standards community after the end of the ICOPER project.
ICOPER has gathered input from its members on the use of social software tools, personal management tools, e-learning tools, etc., and will continue to do so. This data will be used to inform design of ICOPER community tools, e.g., Educanext and ICOPER public platform, and to build a best practice on the use of services available on the Net.
Tagging of ICOPER resources, discourse and output
By promoting a common tagging practice among communities working on learning technologies and standards projects like ICOPER, ASPECT, ROLE, a.o. could store their "stuff" wherever they like and still hope that existing and future aggregation services will be able to find and make use of the resources. At the moment, nobody in this wide community of practice is able to list what types of resources will be exchanged in which format, kept in what stores for what purpose. However, we might hope to build a consensus on the tags we attach to our objects, so that we at a later stage will be able to identify what is "ours", and for what purpose the resource was exposed to the world.
In an open community we do not "own" our tags. They will be picked up and used by people with various interests and knowledge in learning technologies and standards. Therefore, we want to come up with a tagging regime that, at the same time, clearly identifies the resources produced by the learning standard community, while fostering communication with our ultimate target groups, they being publishers, vendors, university or school principals, policy makers, etc.
Our tagging scheme should serve four purposes:
1. Identifying the resource with our Community of Practice, and with the particular eContentplus Best Practice Network (keeping in mind that these are short lived projects)
2. Classifying the resource according to some main concepts that our communities agree upon
3. Specifying what specific issue(s) the resources is addressing, according to the author
4. Making resources visible to the other communities working in the field of standards and/or learning
The scope of this tagging recommendation is to describe how tags are constructed and combined, so that the community specific resources can be tagged, searched and aggregated for different purposes, allowing identification of the source community and the subject of the resource.
The model should be:
* simple to understand and implement
* accurate enough to be able to retrieve the information easily
* flexible enough to cope with the complexity of the domain of learning and standards
The proposed tag model consists of using a combination of currently used tags with the addition of a number of limited ad-hoc ones. According to this model, each resource should be tagged with at least one tag – preferably with 3 or more tags.
The tag that identifies the learning technology standards community at large is LearningStandards. This tag is a compound of two words, learning and standards, each being too broad to use alone. (This tag could also be 'learningstandards', as for tags there is no distinction between capital and lowercase letters).
ICOPER as a particular community is identified with the tag 'icoper'.
ICOPER and other Best Practice Networks like ASPECT are working on core concepts giving a high level view of the Learning, Education and Training domain. For dissemination purposes a 1:1 match between all the ICOPER key concepts and recommended tags would not be very productive in terms of aggregation, e.g., in a tag cloud. We therefore suggest a simplified model, based on the ICOPER educational framework, outlined in Figure x.
Figure 1 Tagging for Core Concepts
(Note: Wether the first box should be LearningAssessment, LearningImpact, o.a. should be discussed. To have one more box et the end, e.g., LearningAssessment, is no good solution, as it would be filled with pretty much the same stuff as Box 1.)
Users may extend the core concepts with their own descriptive elements, specifying in more tags aspects of Learning Needs, Learning Preparation and Learning Delivery. This might be description of specific specifications or standards the community analyses, e.g. HR-XML or IMS QTI used for competency descriptions and assessment. Or it might be analysis of tools used, e.g. Repositories, Moodle, Slideshare, etc.
When the tags are used within the communities we will see that the practice clusters around a number of domain specific tags that could be subject to standardisation at a later stage.
The above suggestion for tags does not imply any kind of levels or mandating of tags. Each resource should be tagged with as many tags as the author wishes, preferably more than one, ideally 3 or more. Each tag consists of one word only (hyphens are allowed).
The following is a list of examples in line with this recommendation, one example per line and tags separated by commas:
LearningStandards, LearningNeeds, HR-XML
LearningStandards, LearningNeeds, LearningDelivery, QTI
LearningStandards, LearningNeeds, HR-XML, IMS-LD
LearningStandards, LearningPreparation, IMS-LD
LearningStandards, LearningDelivery, OAI-PMH
LearningStandards, LearningDelivery, Educanext, Moodle, Plone
LearningStandards, LearningNeeds, CurriculumExchangeFormat
ICOPER is part of an eContentplus "project familiy", all working on related challenges as our project. We engage many of the same experts, having liaisons with the same standards bodies, analysing the same specifications and standards, and so on. The ICOPER Best Practice Network is best served if we manage to join up with the other networks. Therefore, the communication and dissemination work in ICOPER should aim at establishing best practices for standards and learning technology discourse and services that will be used by our European target groups as a whole.
One source of inspiration for this work could be the PROD work led by one of ICOPER's associated partners, JISC CETIS (http://prod.cetis.ac.uk) PROD is a directory and monitoring tool for JISC funded projects, developed as part of JISC CETIS support for the JISC e-Learning Programme. What we could learn from PROD is how projects, people, organisations, tags and standards are brought together in a living directory that is connect people and tasks/objects. Furthermore PROD is offering an open API that let any service extract relevant information form the directory.
Figure x ICOPER work spaces
These ICOPER work spaces let us identify a number of user roles we want to engage with:
In real life many of these roles are often combined in one person. A university professor might be both part of university management, a course designer, a instructional designer, a content author, definitely an instructor, a course evaluator and a standards expert. In our communication & dissemination plan we need to factor the ICOPER spaces in a way that gives us a well defined set of target groups that we easily could relate to already established groups and networks, and activities. We have therefore crystallised the following target groups (Table x), – identified their members in terms of people (professional role, work place relations, activity role relations, etc.); organisations (which organisations might represent/be a channel to these people); value of standards (what are the motives for their willingness to engage in communication with ICOPER); and the objective of the dissemination effort directed to that particular target group.
We will adopt a multi-strand approach to dissemination to ensure that our efforts are effective. Experience has shown that disseminating using just one method is unlikely to be successful.
Social Software tools
Standards and Specifications Discourse Database
The main idea of the Standards and Specification Discourse Database (SSDD) is to promote and facilitate information and discourse on standards and specifications. It is the main objective to utilize this type of platform to also support the development of the ICOPER Reference Model as this model is by its bottom-up appraoch highly depending on feedback and consensus on a variety of issues.
SSDD is a developed as a separate deliverable (D7.2). Therefore, we will outline here only the parts which directly concern the dissemination aspect and give a brief outline of the overall concept of SSDD, the following picture summarizes SSDD.
The main process consists of the process of discourse itself and a consolidation process. This means that the results of the discourse are agreed on, so that the discussion can progress and move to the next level. This process needs moderation which should be organized by the (thematic) workgroups. Furthermore, a variety of users will participate, those roles should correspond to the dissemination target groups, so that appropriate information is provided to them.
Finally, SSDD includes information and knowledge which can be presented also for dissemination purposes - this includes the standards / specification itself, as well as experiences (about standards) and further information channels. This has to be incorporated into a common tool / information strategy. Based on this conceptual model, it has to be defined which parts of SSDD also are utilized for dissemination processes. The focus is therefore the discourse process in which we can identify the dissemination tasks.
Supporting a discourse process with a (ICT) tool means that this process has to be clearly understood. This also includes that the target groups / participants should be involved. A main requirement for the SSDD is that users will benefit from their participation.
The main dissemination challenges for SSDD can be described as following:
As a conclusion, the following dissemination tasks are related to SSDD:
ICOPER Shared Calendar Service
Co-ordinating events and deliverables plays a major role in a Best Practice Network. However, it is nearly impossible to have all members working towards a single calendar, for example hosted at the project website. The most viable solution would be to let people use their own calendar systems, but to encourage them to tag content relevant for the ICOPER project so that these events could be harvested, aggregated and shared in different services. The Internet Calendaring and Scheduling core object specification (see: http://www.ietf.org/rfc/rfc2445.txt ) which was agreed in 1998, has lead to a number of useable implementations and become the basis of the current iCalendar standard (see: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ICalendar ). With a number of commercial implementations around the standard, it is now viable to use event data in personal and published calendars in a systematic way, via common publish-and-subscribe systems.
It is envisaged that an 'aggregated' best practice network calendar could itself become a powerful way for a community to register its interest and participation in a multitude of common events. It could also form the basis of a number of other services for the community, and connect us with other sister communities.
ICOPER will establish a community calendar service based on the following process model:
1. Individual users will enter their event data into their personal calendars, providing these tools are able to export calendar files in .ics format, e.g., Google calendar, Microsoft Outlook, and Apple iCal.
2. The ICOPER community can then tag their entries according to a tagging recommendation which will be agreed shortly. For example, "#icoper" might be the tag to identify the entry relevant for ICOPER; "#icoper-pot_training" might identify the event as a prospective training event; "#icoper-WPx" might identify the event as a Work Package x event, and so on. In the first instance, only the simplest tag "#icoper" should be used. The more detailed ontology will be developed by the Dissemination group.
3. The individual should publish his/her calendar(s) to an accessible service, e.g., their own Webdav server or any other service that will be able serve up the .ics file(s). We will provide a secure ICOPER calendar server space for those without their own accessible service.
4. The individual should register the URL to his/her calendar feed with the ICOPER aggregation service.
5. The ICOPER aggregation service will gather, on a regular basis, the individual calendar feeds; analyse the data; and create one or more aggregate feeds. E.g. giving the ICOPER view on General Assembly meetings, Work Package meetings, prospective training and dissemination events, scheduled training and dissemination events, etc. In the first instance, this may be a single "#icoper" event feed.
6. ICOPER feeds are published by the aggregation service, and will be provided openly as a web service to any subscriber. It is intended that they will be integrated in different community portals by the relevant stakeholders, e.g., the Educanext portal for internal communication, the ICOPER public website, and further ICOPER widgets.
The development of a new reference model means that also a variety of dissemination tasks occur. This relates to dissemination for awareness as well as for action. Selected target groups have to be adressed and involved.
In WP7, a variety of activities are run which can also be used for dissemination purposes:
For the Reference Modeling and its successful execution, the following dissemination activities should be run;
In additon, the Liaison Management concept also requires the provision of appropriate information in accordance to the level of the partnership.
Best Practice Observatory (WP9 input and WP leaders)
Is the ICOPER Best Practice Observatory an aspect of the Standards And Specifications Discourse Database?
Training Activities (WP9 input and WP leaders)
Conceptual Models (Big Picture)
Short section to be entered here which will be elaborated in the Roadmapping deliverable. input from (WP8)
Briefings (should be integrated also in the SSDS)
(A Briefings is partway of a newsletter and a catalogue. It should be a no more A4 page, that summarize the work (WP/Thematic category) and update people on the progress made, Including tasks and completion rates).
template should be added here:
Branding: (including some strategy for regional promotions i.e. translated brochures, press releases, presenations, etc.)
The forms to be used to gather data from the ICOPER consortium are available online at http://spreadsheets.google.com/pub?key=p4gSXqAlZLa90HwYwmDsgMw
Fore an overview of the tables, see below.
ICOPER will organise a number of events, which will gather a limited number of people, only a fraction of the total number of potential participants in the target group of the particular event. Therefore, ICOPER will apply the concept of enhanced events, or amplified events. By using social technologies to enhance the dissemination effect of events ICOPER want to reach out to more people and to create resources that could be re-used.
These recommendations apply for both meetings within the ICOPER consortium and meetings ICOPER organise or co-organise:
• Propose tags to be used in Social Tagging Services
⁃ to provide links to resources• Publishing presentations
⁃ to help find related resources
⁃ to encourage participants to contribute related resources
⁃ to enable evaluation and impact analysis of the event
⁃ to encourage community building
⁃ Presentations should be published in an open format (e.g., PDF in addition to native formats produced by Microsoft's Powerpoint, Apple's Keynote, etc.)
⁃ Presentations should be published to public web services, e.g., Slideshare, Educanext• Provision of wifi access to the Internet
⁃ Presentation should be marked up with an licence that allows sharing and re-use, e.g., a a Creative Commons licence
⁃ Participants should have access to free wifi services to access the Internet• Use of a back channel that allows giving messages, providing relevant links, comments and community building in parallel to the face-to-face interaction during the event
⁃ These services should allow use of instant messaging tools, i.e., certain ports should be open
• Use of wikis, blogs, etc. to take notes, solicit comments and support consensus building
The organiser of an event should announce URLs to back channels to be used and suggest tags for the event/themes when sending out the invitation.