The final showcase event took place on 24th September 2010, presenting findings from across the trial projects involved within the Trialling of Collaborative Online Tools for BCE project. An audience exceeding 80 people from across the sector converged on the Royal York Hotel, York, including senior managers, academics, lecturers, IT directors, knowledge transfer managers, business development managers and staff from support services.
The focus of the event was on the use of online tools to support, enhance and enable collaboration between Further and Higher Education and their commercial, public sector, cultural and social & civic partners. The four dimensions of BCE were covered, namely: Employer Engagement, Knowledge Transfer, Lifelong Learning or Cultural Community & Public Engagement.
Feedback from the event was extremely positive, with an overall score of 4.7/5. One delegate commented:
“There was an interesting blend of pedagogy, technology and business engagement which are aspects of University life which are often considered in entirely discreet silos with no sense of connection – but there obviously should be!”
Another attendee summarised that the event offered:
“An exciting demonstration of innovative approaches to Business and Community engagement in a realistic context of change and uncertainty.”
Professor Di Martin, University of Hertfordshire, chair of the JISC BCE Advisory Board, gave the opening keynote, providing an overview of the importance of Business and Community Engagement, including current observations about government policy.
Then followed a number of themed sessions, each showcasing findings and experiences from the Trial Projects. The three themes were: Security and Data Protection, Building and Maintaining a Community of Practice and Exploring the Tools.
The second plenary session focussed on the Northumbria University Trial Project, Open ICT Tools, in which online tools were used to facilitate global collaborative learning with external business and community partners. Three students from the School of Design who took part in collaborative space – the Global Studio – presented their perspective, reflecting on their experience of using online collaborative tools to work with external partners.
The third plenary session was delivered by Brian McCaul from the University of Leeds. He provided a fast-paced presentation, focussing on the intersection of Knowledge Transfer and Web2.0 – what he calls “Knowledge Transfer 2.0”.
The generic project tag #BCEct was used to capture backchannel comments and conversation on Twitter – preserved and available to view as a PDF document. Each session was also videoed and will be made available via the JISC BCE You Tube channel and included in the forthcoming online resource, hosted on the JISC infoNet website, that will form the lasting output from this project.
The showcase event concluded with a panel session, all speakers from the day invited to join Simon Whittemore, JISC BCE Programme Manager, on the podium to take questions from the floor. A range of topics were discussed, from the future of the BCE programme to digital literacy to approaches to building online networks. Discussion was certainly lively, proving the central role of collaboration in the BCE environment.
The showcase event was certainly a success and all speakers, Trial Projects and the project team are well deserving of the praise the event received. One attendee concluded:
“I found the breadth of approaches and ideas, the involvement of students, as well as staff from Research and Enterprise Divisions, and the enthusiasm for collaboration and engagement really encouraging. As the presentations reflected projects which had actually been implemented, I could envisage the problems and hurdles which had had to be overcome, and set them in the context of my own institution.”