A Review of Open ICT Tools for Collaborative Teaching & Learning
Editor: Kovacevic, Ahmed, Ion, William, McMahon, Chris, Buck, Lyndon and Hogarth, Peter
Author: Bohemia, Erik; Turnock, Chris
Section: Design Teaching Environment 3
The Open ICT Tools project explored the use of open source Web 2.0 applications to facilitate collaboration between School of Design at Northumbria University and its international business and university partners. The Open ICT Tools project was one of eight projects funded by the JISC infoNet from across the country under its Trialling of Online Collaborative Tools for Business and Community Engagement programme. The Trialling of Collaborative Online Tools for BCE JISC-funded project investigated the use of collaborative online tools to support Business and Community Engagement (BCE) in a number of trials in colleges and universities within the UK . Using the Global Studio as a research site, the project examined the utility of various ICTs for enabling collaboration with community and industry partners. The Open ICT Tools project was a practice-led enquiry that was generated from experiences gained from projects previously undertaken in collaboration with external partners within the Global Studio in the School of Design Northumbria University. The collaborations included high quality international universities and high profile commercial organisations such as Intel, Motorola, and Inverness Medical. Because of the confidentiality nature of the projects one of the requirements was to provide a restricted access to the online project sites. Therefore, one of the requirements was that the ICT tools enable information to be exchanged securely. In addition, the project aimed to trial Open Source Software and software which was free of cost. The use of this type of software was aimed to reduce the ongoing running costs associated with software licensing. In collusion of this paper we provide a number of recommendations. We recommend that IT Services in HE and FE develop processes where the novel use of ICTs envisaged by academics (users) can be trialled in collaboration with IT Services and e Learning support staff. This would complement the established pattern of incorporating ICT where either IT Services or e-Learning departments sanction specific ICTs to support learning and teaching within these institutions. We also recommend that students, academic staff and partners are supported in preparation on how the ICT tools might be used to support engagement with industry and community partners. The paper outlines the trial of the ICT tools and the technical solutions implemented at the Northumbria University in order to incorporate these within the existing IT infrastructure. Reference
 Kelly, J. and Stewart, A. The role of collaborative online tools in business and community engagement with course design/delivery. In Atkinson, R.J. and McBeath, C., eds. Proceedings ascilite Auckland 2009 - 26th Annual ascilite International Conference: Same places, different spaces. , pp. 516-518 (The University of Auckland, Auckland University of Technology, and Australasian Society for Computers in Learning in Tertiary Education (ascilite), Auckland, New Zealand, 2009).