Inspiration for joinin

Where did the idea for joinin come from?

The Imperial War Museums

Collage of images from Computer Club at the IWM

The Imperial War Museum sample use-case is of the museum accountant who is inspired by Computer Club to use technology more in his personal life, and is now more digitally aware meaning that as a fund owner he has more understanding of the requests for kit or innovations from curatorial colleagues

As part of the “Engage” series, the Imperial War Museum presented their ‘Computer Club’ which enables staff to gain hands-on experience with technology and aims to increase their digital literacy. This briefing helped us to examine the practicalities of running the programme and consider its potential relevance to Oxford:

  • Would a University unit like to collaborate on a bid to the University’s newly-created “IT Innovation Seed Fund” to run a feasibility study of a trial of this approach to introduce ALL their staff to some of the digital things around us?
  • Who could lead these sessions in a University setting?
  • If initial feedback is negative about the name “Computer Club” (and its retro look-and-feel, and the way it sounds like an after-school-club) then can we discover a meaningful way to promote this initiative to our audiences?

The “Engage” session was called “The First Rule of Computer Club? Talk about Computer Club!” and it was presented at IT Services Thames Suite, Banbury Road on 18 November 2014 by Simon Delafond and Jesse Alter, Imperial War Museums, available online are the slides and the audio of the Imperial War Museum’s presentation. (This was originally blogged about: A hands-on approach to building digital literacy.)

University strategies

Digital literacy contributes to the University strategy to sustain and enhance its excellence in scholarship by providing an opportunity to broaden and deepen the digital capability of all members of the University. Computer Club is firmly about reaching the widest range of members in a Unit. Researchers for example, but maybe more about improving the digital literacy of staff responsible for supporting research teams, see the image above, about the Imperial War MuseumComputer Club was the inspiration for joinin! A Computer Club-style of programme could support the University’s IT Strategic Plan, 2013-2018 by reinforcing activities such as disseminating and sharing effective and innovative digital technologies in teaching and learning to help members optimise their use. Computer Club could complement existing programmes from IT Services like ITLP, e.g. fundamentals or Computer8.

Submitting our proposal to the IT Innovation Seed Fund

After the “Engage” session, which was attended by at least 25, we met with about half-a-dozen people from different University units who thought they would be interested in collaborating with us on Computer Club during 2015. If we were successful with our bid for funding then IT Services would provide the facilitator, the expertise, the booking and evaluation mechanism, and some of the kit. The University unit would need to provide, e.g.:

  • the means to communicate with their members to encourage them to attend
  • management permission so that members can attend
  • liaison so that Computer Club is ‘owned’ by the unit, to include assistance with session planning, topics for sessions, volunteers to help sessions happen, evaluation of the experience, etc.
  • an appropriate space (including some technical requirements) to run Computer Club over a number of sessions
  • or to arrange (including room hire etc.) for Computer Club to run (near where your members are, not in IT Services)

Many University units supported our proposal for consideration by the new IT Innovation Seed Fund. They added ‘thumbs up’ and comments. We were able to name more than one unit willing to be a test-bed for this, and there was a lot of online discussion about this ‘ideas’ on the Innovation Fund website.

After a very competitive review process in Nov-Dec 2014 – which included a Dragons’ Den pitch funding for a trial of Computer Club in 2015 was confirmed as part of a well-received bid called the “Creative Technology Programme”, and in January we consulted our colleagues and came up with the name joinin to reflect how we feel about the potential and opportunities this programme has.

Please watch this space for more news as the joinin project grows!

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