uoc

UOC: branding a la xarxa 2009

Network society: management and monitoring

Nota: post publicat al blog de la Càtedra Unesco d’eLearning UOC amb el títol Network society: management and monitoring

“An institution’s internet presence is the sum of all of the actions that the different players carry out on different parts of the web. Internet strategy does not end with the design of the official website. The digital environment needs to be managed.” This concludes and sums up the Network society: management and monitoring presentation that Genís Roca offered in March to nearly a hundred professionals from the Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC), as part of the working sessions with the Student Services Area and the Student Incorporation and Monitoring Area.

It was made clear in the session that brand presence on the internet can only be managed if there is a strategy in place that takes into account an organisation’s own activity on the web and its digital environment: other institutions and individuals who maintain and share web presence linked to our own.

There is now the possibility for anyone’s opinion about a brand to appear on the first page of Google’s search results when we look for information. This means we have to reflect on the fact that an organisation’s digital identity is not based on the messages it sends out. Instead, its web presence is the sum of its own activities and those generated in relation to it on the internet by other institutions and individuals in a range of settings and formats.

An organisation’s digital identity is built by what is said about it on the web, in the digital press, in blogs and on social networks. Thus, organisations need a web presence model and strategy that encompasses what they do, but also what the other players on the internet do in this respect.

Managing digital identity means managing complexity. It requires the designing of a web presence model that takes into account a range of possible scenarios. Specifically, according to Genís Roca’s model, we need to pay attention to the nine variables resulting from the intersection of the sources of activities on the internet (own, other and shared) and the owner of the platform where this activity takes place (which again can be own, other or shared).

presenceonthenet

This web presence paradigm involves both what is taking place in our domain and that taking place beyond this. It highlights the complex combination of our own and others’ actions taking place in each of these settings. Management of all this is what is involved in managing our identity on the web and this is why organisations have People, Information and Technology.

Managing an organisation’s web presence means managing People, Information and Technology and what happens when these intersect: attitudes, tools and skills.

strategyonthenet

With respect to attitudes, organisations have to be able to adapt and balance the way businesses and technologies are understood by pre-1970s generations (a minority with great decision-making powers and most of the positions of responsibility) and the way businesses and technologies are understood by the new generations (a growing majority that is skilled and knowledgeable in the web, but underrepresented in the organisation’s power structure).

In terms of tools, the web is rich in open environments, collaborative sites, platforms for communication and discussion, solutions for sharing documents or jointly managing projects. An organisation has to know what tools can provide value and make the most of their being available, flexible and free.

Finally, as far as skills are concerned, an organisation has to focus on knowing how to find, read and listen on the web. These monitoring tasks require the prioritising of what needs to be found on the internet so as to ensure that the most appropriate search methods and environments are used in each case to retrieve relevant results.

To read on the internet, an organisation has to take advantage of the features offered by RSS and be able to order, or even customise, the diverse range of sources of information offered by the web so as to retrieve the most pertinent and up-to-date information in their areas of interest.

To listen to the web, an organisation has to be aware of what is being said about it globally. It needs to track its appearances in the headlines and know which blogs are talking about it and which sites aren’t. It has to monitor trends and search habits on the web, links and any mentions in the blogosphere, the web conversations that are most closely linked to its aims, and its position (and that of the competition) in the internet’s benchmark rankings.

In short, an organisation’s web presence management is the result of managing people’s attitudes in terms of the potential offered by social information systems and technology, exploiting certain online tools to help meet objectives and the skills needed to listen and develop appropriately on the web.

Networked knowledge: a new platform for the UOC’s online content


Nota:
post publicat al blog de la Càtedra Unesco d’eLearning UOC amb el títol Networked knowledge: a new platform for the UOC’s online content

The Universitat Oberta de Catalunya (Open University of Catalonia, UOC) has produced a new tool that lets users surf semantically through the online content relating to the University and interact graphically with the information: UOC – networked knowledge. The platform has been developed in collaboration with Bestiario and offers an innovative system for exploring and working with the web.

The new platform provides access to 350 resources through a search system based on tags. The idea is to offer content linked semantically to other resources. The result is an interactive tool that intuitively connects users to networks of content similar to those they have accessed.

net_uoc_edu

The basis for the whole knowledge system is the tag. Each resource is given a number of tags to define it and link it to other content. Thus, a given combination of tags creates a network of resources and highlights the relationships between these in terms of their semantic likeness, ie, in terms of the tags they share.

net_uoc_edu

The graphic representation of this network and its browsing helps users find new contents that are relevant to their search criteria. According to Santiago Ortiz, member of Bestiario and an expert in information visualisation, “the proliferation of the use of tags linked to different content and sources has led to another non-hierarchical sub-network that can be taken advantage of to share content and knowledge.”

net_uoc_edu

The basic idea behind UOC – networked knowledge is to highlight networks of similar resources, grouped in terms of a series of criteria, and to help generate new knowledge. Santiago Ortiz describes it in the following terms, “The idea of grouping is of vital importance on the internet, as the web is rich in small and isolated content. Smart correlation of a range of content can produce a complex message, a canon of knowledge.”

UOC – networked knowledge is the graphic interface for the UOC’s online resources and structured around the uoc_net delicious account. The software used to graphically represent the content networks and links is 6pli. The result of applying this software to the online resources relating to the UOC is an interactive environment for the articulation of content.

According to Santiago Ortiz, UOC – networked knowledge “lets you create bodies of content with important interrelations between them. It is a space that lets you create different groupings depending on a number of criteria which you can combine together. It makes the networks of relations visible, letting you surf through them while maintaining an associative context for the content based on a literal and spatial idea of the web.”

UOC – networked knowledge is also available in Spanish and Catalan.