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‘Don’t give me a creative brief, give me your problems.’

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Image representing Skype as depicted in CrunchBase

Image via CrunchBase

 

Having raced back from watching my son playing rugby in Brighton I was minutes late, but had least gone through Weller again this morning and had his report and my notes on the desktop.

 

The material we discusses was valuable, but only one part to this valuable learning experience.

 

Working live, contributing to a live wiki and being able to both chat and send message in real time proved highly successful. The process expects some give and take, polite suggestions, some ‘taking it in turns’ and for me some brief interludes to introduce me to a set up that is largely new to me.

 

We came away with some fresh insights on Weller’s OU Report (2005) on the development of an e-portfolio system for the OU VLE.

 

While using his report as the basis for our discussion some broader insights were gained in relation to the potential of Open Source, the context, culture and validity of a system for the broadest range of users … or for a niche group. The OU’s remit to widen participation and to enroll and engage with students without necessarily the prior academic record for an undergraduate or graduate place. My thinking continues to develop along the lines of branding, I like Mark Collin’s point on the culture of an institution. I’m also coming back to the value of students running with whichever platform their institution provides, not just for e-portfolios, but as Lesley Morrell has pointed out elsewhere, all being in the same blogging environment helps – it is seamless. Even if a blog on a different site is only a click-away, it is only this close if someone has bookmarked it.

 

Much learnt, and verbalising ideas like this had me believing I could make a presentation on the subject of eportfolios too.

 

How many points am I going to make? Four key issues with an introduction and conclusion. 100 words be key point with an intro and conclusion of 50 words each?

 

‘Don’t give me a creative brief, give me your problems.’ Said Robin White on the Bottom Line the other evening. (See below)

 

Ad-talk, marketing speak, music to my ears of a lifetime ago.

 

But it works.

 

If your client has a communications problem that you can fix,m you have a client. If your client doesn’t have a problem, then they don’t need you. If interviewing a client I would ask ‘who are you?’ (To establish their culture and intentions … and funding?)

 

I would want to know ‘who are your students.’ I believe that medical students are different to economists, those in the creative arts different to historians and lawyers.

 

I wouldn’t be happy with some catch-all.

 

The OU (though this year’s intake we are being told is different with a 36% increase in undergraduates turning away from a ‘traditional university degree) is a broad church. Ravensbourne College, Falmer and Bournemouth and one of my recently revived alma maters ‘The School of Communication Arts who serve the creative industries would want something different, enabling innovation.

 

One final thought, which those talking this afternoon will have picked up on, is how attractive software can be when it is simple and easy to use. Sync.in and Skype are easy. Google is easy. MyStuff is remarkably straightforward. I could share some gems of my own, software I love.

 

Ideally I’d be perched in front of a bank of screens for this, like an investment banker … or an e-j. A screen for each, the sync.in and Skype, the Weller Report and my notes on it. Instead, and possibly better for it, I had to go with what I had in my head and what by careful listening-in was sparked off. A pencil and a pad of paper proved useful.

 

The kids and dog kindly kept out of my way, though a coffee would have been nice. Sunday Lunch was waiting and they were chilled enough to let us finish. Whether or not I can escape to another part of the house is another matter! I prefer the expanse of the uncluttered dining room table.

 

Had my 12 year old’s Xbox headset on.

 

Felt like a twenty something in a call centre. To deal with the time-lag and occasional delays should we be using Walkie-Talkie or CB talk? As ‘Out.’ To let others know you’ve said you piece?

 

 

 

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