This post highlights very briefly the work done by the Digital Economy USRG over the past 2 years that is now going to feed into the new Web Science Institute.
It has been great to see the value of digital literacy being acknowledged and enthusiastically applied across the university as part of a transformative approach to education, research and enterprise.
— Chris Phethean (@cpheth) November 11, 2013
Wendy spoke at DE2013 in Manchester last week about the ‘perfect storm’ brewing as digital education, digital research and digital enterprise converge. The WSI is well place to take advantage of this phenomenon.
From the DE perspective, we have focused on:
1) Digital business/new digital enterprises via programmes such as the creative digifest series. Last year’s event centred on the high profile keynote speaker Andrew Keen, this year the focus is on a digital enterprise “dragons den” competition and a number of University staff and students will be represented. We have also been encouraged by the demand from employers for digitally literate students and some of our Digital Champions have landed high profile digital marketing roles. This trend can only increase as the influence of digital marketing is now extending across whole organisations as social media interactions start to dismantle traditional silos and hierarchies.
2) Digital education via digital literacy workshops, curriculum innovation (4 DE modules) and MOOCS of course. A number of social features are being trialled in the Web Science MOOC, but if you think that’s radical, wait until you see what is planned for @PortusMOOC 🙂 We were also honoured to be invited to contribute to the digital literacy aspects of George Attard’s forthcoming Natural Sciences Programme.
3) Digital research via encouraging DTC researchers to collaborate with business on consultancy projects, enter the digital business competition, and submit their work to the Web Observatory.
The presentation at the launch of the WSI upon which this post is based coincided with a series of events in Rome relating to the Portus Project, and more generally our collaborations with the British School at Rome and Italian public, private and third sector partners. These continue to demonstrate the potential for the web as a means to collaborate, to access, analyse and to share research data and outputs, and to disseminate and engage a broad audience, including via the forthcoming @portusmooc. Whilst these concerns are clearly not restricted to the humanities we see particular opportunities here.
With the launch of the WSI we can also build on existing connections between the digital economy, web science and digital humanities. Via the sotonDH hub we have supported a growing number of postgraduate projects with a strong web science element and the Institute will allow us to build on this link. Furthermore we hope to see more humanities students choosing to move into web science, following the example of Terhi Nurmikko, Javier Pereda and Nicole Beale.
We also look forward to humanities scholarship playing an increasing role in the development of web science as a discipline. For example, colleagues such as Leif Isaksen demonstrate the influence humanities spatial thinking can have on the future of the web. Similarly humanities scholarship brings an additional critical dimension and provides context. So, lots of excitement to come!