[CSG Winter 2010] Collaborative Platforms, pt. 2

Leveraging Social Networking Within Universities – Bruce Vincent – Stanford

Tools driving very rich but less formal collaborations. Often the meeting place for researchers of similar interests. Accelerating interdisciplinary opportunities. Sharing of grant or professional opportunities. Example of a researcher using Facebook for soliciting grant collaborators and working through research issues. A broad phenomenon. PIs are free agents in a public marketplace of ideas. Becoming a way of getting known within a field.

Some professors at Stanford are using Facebook, Ning, Google Apps to supplement their in-class discussions, project collaboration. Competing with functionality in CMS. There are risks – faculty are not blind to risks, and may be looking for help with managing risks. Professor has access control, can add non-enrolled members.

Part of our job is getting terms and conditions with suppliers right, understanding the risks, managing them to the extent they can be managed.

Business Processes Leveraging Social Networking
– Jive in central IT at Stanford (knowledge management for department support contract staff)
– Sharepoint and Confluence moving toward SN functions and business processes/workflow and department websites. Bill Clebsch – putting distributed desktop support people on a social network platform has had dramatic productivity benefits.

Open Social
– Open APIs for exposing and displaying web content and web applications Based on Javascript, HTML, and XML. Expose a web app to be exposed in a portal or other page.
– New-ish spec, yet gaining rapid adoption (google, yahoo, myspace, ning, confluence, jira, linkedin, more coming).
– Basis for more flexible options web portals
– Very low development overhead to get going
Stanford testing to see if they can have web apps living in open social containers and keep the security.
Shows an example of adding the Stanford time/leave reporting widget into iGoogle and Ning.

Bernie Gulachek – Adobe Connect at U Minnesota
They (central IT) manage Connect – have since 2004 when it was Breeze. Users authenticate with x.500. Available to everyone on campus – all fac/staff can present, students can attend. Don’t know what the uses are for (courses vs. meetings). 600 meetings in 2004, 14,000 last year. Part of their Common Good bundle. If they had to decide today, not sure that they’d host it on campus. It’s a self-service product – they have training materials people can view. There is a claim that there are 4-5 support people working on the product.

At Michigan State they rely on Connect heavily for online instruction. They configured it for an instructional setting that worked well as self-service, but that was bad for meetings. They’re working on a separate default for meetings. There are issues with training people for online etiquette (mute your microphone, etc).

CIC schools working on a federated Sharepoint. IU and Illinois shibbolized Sharepoint and run an instance for the CIC activities. Access is managed within the instance. (half-domesticated). Access management is within a separate database, not Active Directory.

Some discussion of extending the LMS. Paul Bergen (Harvard) talks about the idea of narrowing the LMS to be an administrative app for document sharing, and then leveraging blogs, wikis, etc for collaboration. Chad (Chicago) notes that people like to use the LMS for internal processes like tenure and promotion review, where they can manage access and then see whether people have read (or at least downloaded) the materials. Tim (Virginia) notes that they exclude their Sakai instance from HIPAA use, but it’s used a lot for promotion and tenure.


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