SHEEN Sharing

A Project of the Scottish Employability Co-ordinators' Network

Coordinating employability resources on the web: We made it!

Launch of SHEEN Sharing project: Using web 2.0 applications to co-ordinate employability resources on the web. (NB: This article will always appear at the top of this page! Scroll down for more recent updates.)

Sarah and I have been coordinating SHEEN Sharing on behalf of the Scottish Higher Education Employability Network (SHEEN) for the last year. We’ve been working with all Employability Coordinators (ECs) across Scotland to develop a means of co-ordinating employability-related resources on the web using web 2.0 technologies.

The project developed out of a need identified by all the ECs to a) use web 2.0 applications to support greater virtual networking and to build a community of practice and b) to provide a place for colleagues “to go to” where we could recommend a range of resources we have found useful in our own development work. The project had no technology budget so everything we have achieved has been through using free tools on the web.

All the hard work put in by Sarah and the Coordinators  culminated in a really successful launch event on Wednesday (3 February). Sarah has described in her earlier blog post what we covered on the day. It was great to see the fruits of our (collective) labour and to receive feedback that we had not only produced something of immediate use but also provided an opportunity which can be built upon as the sector continues to develop the employability agenda.

We developed a public-facing set of web pages using a free tool called Netvibes. Under each topic tab, viewers can find on the left a series of live feeds which pull in comment and opinion on the related topic from all over the web and on the right a series of resources that the Employability Coordinators have recommended through our professional community. We used the social bookmarking tool diigo to help coordinate this information. You will also see on the welcome page a series of short introductory videos on how to navigate the pages as well as introductory text on each tab. The link is

We’re in the process of writing up a final report but I’d like to share  some of the comments that other EC members made on the day about their experience of the project:

“I have been inspired by others’ stories. It has demystified web 2.0 for me”

“It has shifted my mental attitude of the web. I used to see it only as something I could take from whereas now I actually contribute to it”

“I am able to discover new resources….and this is what I hoped for out of the project”

“I’m taking in bits of this project to other parts of my work in the university”

“I was initially disappointed about not having a “one stop shop” but now I know how this works I’m finding so much more than I ordinarily would”

“Seeing that others have bookmarked the same resource as you is validating”

“Using Diigo has changed my view of information management”

I’d add to my colleagues comments by saying that it is only through looking back on what we’ve achieved that I realise just how much I’ve learned over the last year through the project. I wasn’t just project managing; I was a participating member of the community of practice working through my own learning curve as we went along. Now I can’t really imagine not using diigo to help me manage all of my bookmarks and I’d never thought I’d be helping structure the netvibes pages (learning a little bit of the jargon about widgets and pipes as I went along!).  And I know other colleagues involved in the more detailed planning and development phases of the project feel the same way. It has been mentioned more than once that we’ve managed to enhance our own employability through the professional development that has taken place for each of us!

This is not the end of developments though. The ECs continue to contribute to the recommended resources sections on the netvibes pages and we hope that things will grow as we move into the next funding phase which will be addressed through the Scottish Funding Council’s new action plan for employability –  Learning to Work 2.

February 10, 2010 Posted by | SHEEN Project Dissemination, SHEEN Project Events & Meetings, SHEEN Sharing Project | , , , | 2 Comments

Flying Under the Radar: Lessons Learned from a Fun Faux-pository Project

My time as funded consultant on the SHEEN Sharing Project came to an end in February 2010. However, I keep being asked to share the lessons learned about our success as a project.

In April 2010, there are two educational repositories events where I’ll be taking part in discussions with my SHEEN Sharing hat on. Both events have asked for a position paper summarising my views on the lessons learned in SHEEN Sharing around the use of Web 2.0 / social media for resource sharing in educational communities. This blog post will serve as my position paper for both events; the slides I prepared go to with it are here on Scribd (BTW I no longer recommend Scribd- you can no longer get an RSS Feed for a group’s documents or a collection, nor can you embed their collection widget or an individual document in WordPress. Which is why you have a link to this slideshow, and why it doesn’t appear in the SHEEN Sharing Project Documents feed in the right-hand column).

The events in question are:

April 13-14: ADL Learning Content Registries and Repositories Summit (held in Virginia, USA; I’ll be attending remotely).

– As well as submitting a position paper, I’ll be taking part in two panels, talking about SHEEN Sharing: Registry and Repository Initiatives Panel and Discussion (April 13) and Social Media and Alternative Technologies Panel and Discussion (April 14).

April 19: JISC CETIS Repositories and the Open Web (held in London, UK).

Position Paper Overview
At the time of writing there are already 11 papers on the ADL site and 3 on the CETIS wiki. I’m not reading any of these erudite missives until I’ve written this.

I’m also focussing quite narrowly on my experiences on the SHEEN Sharing project and what the project sparked for me, going into it as a formal learning materials repositories person. The project was small scale and had the benefit of flying under the radar of institutional strategies and policies, that is, we avoided the kinds of concerns (IPR, metadata APs, technical architectures, sustainability of tools, etc.) that traditionally hamper full flexible fun engagement with educational communities. It would therefore be easy, and silly, for me to say “Just do all your repositories stuff like this“. Instead, I’ll just present what we found in hopes of furthering discussion, raising questions, and seeding ideas.

My Background and Approach

  • I’m a formal repositories kinda gal, a librarian with a primary professional interest in learning materials repositories and educational metadata since 1999.
  • For 14 months I had the guilty pleasure of organising a totally Web 2.0-based educational resource sharing project, with some success.

A Starting Point
There has been a recent trend to say “well, repositories for learning materials failed, metadata is useless, the Web is the repository” etc., etc. I would prefer not to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need to acknowledge that there are organisational use cases for formal, organised, well-catalogued repositories.

We also need to acknowledge that these are not, on their own, going to be the best place for educational communities to develop, share, brag about, co-create, tag, network around, learn with, educational resources.

These are the use cases that we once lumped into an un-differentiated learning object repositories model. We were kinda starting to see the problems (cf CD-LOR, PROWE, SPIRE).

“[…] the pedagogical, social, and organisational aspects of these communities have not been at the forefront in the design and development […]. Research has consistently demonstrated that the most substantial barriers in uptake of technology are rooted in these factors”

Margaryan, A., Milligan, C. And Douglas, P. (2007) CD-LOR Deliverable 9: Structured Guidelines for Setting up Learning Object Repositories. Available here.

Then the Web 2.0 paradigm shift came along and gave us much better opportunities to harness all of the creativity and collaborativity of teachers and learners (cf JISC Emerge, HEA DMU Learning Exchanges, JorumOpen, EdShare, etc. etc.).

For me, the pertinent questions are:

  1. How can educational communities make best use of both formal repositories and Web 2.0 sharing?
  2. How can repository developers and managers support educational communities by leveraging Web 2.0-type technologies?

Formal Repositories

Formal repositories meet a certain set of use cases, requiring things like:

  • A long-term view of, and expertise in, resource curation and management;
  • Good quality metadata for high precision and recall in resource discovery;
  • In some use cases, resource preservation;
  • Solid support for rights protection;
  • … and so on …

All this is very expensive and requires a high degree of strategic buy-in from funders / management.

Make no mistake though, this kind of work is going on out there. Off the top of my head I think of the UK DCSF National Strategies site for school teachers; the NHS Scotland and England e-learning libraries; the HEA EvidenceNet repository for higher and further education teachers.

A Meta-Whinge
Most formal repositories initiatives (I mean strategic learning materials repositories developments, as distinct from JISC-style R&D projects) in the UK rarely seem to take part in these kinds of discussions these days. It seems like there is a community for those in the know, those who are always talking about what’s going to be strategically do-able in 5 years, and a non-community of those doing what they can now with currently available scalable technologies for user communities with urgent requirements. We used to all get together and talk, but no more. I am digressing but I think there is polarisation happening between the purist/open source/research-led/enthusiastic amateur/early adopter side and the requirements of those who need to do something now with tax-payer or organisational money. Both sides are missing out.

More Importantly, A Micro-Whinge
What’s missing in formal educational repositories initiatives these days is full and frank support for non-technically-minded educators to integrate resources in them within their own community social media and Web 2.0 approaches (I don’t mean just providing your own in-tool discussion, profiling and tagging features!).

We almost seem to be going backwards. For example: Jorum (a UK national higher education repository for learning materials) was heavily constrained by unfortunate early decisions demanding almost comically restrictive walls around the repository materials. The repository itself, however, allowed flexible provision of newsfeeds, updating every kind of search available in the repository. Now we have JorumOpen, free of restrictions on access, but no obvious Web 2.0 functionality at all, not even the most obvious newsfeeds. The HEA’s EvidenceNet repository is similarly open, but again with no newsfeed capability.

How is it that repositories being built in this day and age without the ability for a user to create a newsfeed on a search of interest to them, which they can then push out to their network via widgets, wiki pages, whatever?

So What Was SHEEN Sharing? Was it a Bird, a Plane, a Repository?

Overview of SHEEN Sharing Project

NB: SHEEN = Scottish Higher Education Employability Network.

  • Proposed by the SHEEN Employability Coordinators’ Network (ECN) in direct response to an urgent internal need.
  • Funded by the Scottish (higher education) Funding Council.
  • Administered by the Higher Education Academy.
  • Overseen by the SHEEN Steering Group.
  • For the benefit of the ECN and their immediate stakeholders.

Project Resources

  • Project timescale: Jan – Sep 2009 (later extended to Feb 2010).
  • Project lead: Cherie Woolmer, Employability Coordinator, University of Strathclyde (voluntary).
  • Project consultant, 2.5 days / week: Sarah Currier.
  • Project Development Group: enthusiasts in the Employability Coordinators’ Network (voluntary).
  • Admin and advisory support from HEA.
  • Travel and events budget.
  • No technology budget.

Who Are the Community? The Scottish Employability Coordinators’ Network

  • Ca. 20-22 members at any given time.
  • National, across all Scotland’s HE institutions.
  • Geographically distributed, with some members, particularly in the north of Scotland, less able to attend centrally based meetings.
  • Mostly female (76% female / 24% male).
  • A mix of part-time and full-time (59% full-time / 41% part-time).
  • A mix of professional backgrounds: Lecturers; Researchers; Careers advisers; Policy developers and implementers; Staff developers; Educational developers; Librarians.
  • A mix of institutional situations, in terms of:
    1. the type of department they are based in: 59% educational development; 41% careers service; some co-located in different departments;
    2. the emphasis required by their institution: working at a policy level; working on curriculum and course development; working directly with academics and students;
    3. university type, from red brick to the ancients, including the Open University and the federated UHI Millennium Institute.
  • Temporary: funding for their work will not continue beyond the next couple of years (a few have permanent posts).
  • A small number of institutions did not employ designated “employability coordinators”, but most did.

NB: evaluation established that this community started out very non-technically-minded; fairly negative about using the Web at all for work, especially social media; very much working within a Web 1.0 paradigm; and with low to medium confidence about their own efficacy in discovering, sharing, and disseminating appropriate resources in their work. All of this changed considerably over the course of the project!

There was also a sense that the work accomplished must not be lost after the end of the ECN’s funded tenure in their roles.

What They Wanted

  • Communication:
    • Mutual support;
    • Sharing experience, practice and learning.
  • Resource sharing, comprising:
    • Discovery, sharing, recommending and rating;
    • Sharing experiences of use of resources;
    • Targeted resource dissemination to all stakeholders.
  • One-stop shop for employability for:
    • New employability staff coming in;
    • Employer stakeholders;
    • Academics;
    • Students.

So: A Repository? Out of the Question!

  • The ECN’s original idea was that “someone” should provide them with a Website, perhaps powered by a “repository”, and populate it for them.
  • Given the project’s resourcing, timescale and intended outcomes, they were advised by JISC CETIS to look at Web2.0 / social media resource sharing instead.
  • The HEA was keen to use the forthcoming EvidenceNet repository as a more formal home for resources that required this further down the line.

Developing Our ‘Faux-pository’

Is This a Repository?

This is an ancient architecture for a learning object repository, from IMS in 2003.

IMS DRI map showing focus on the “core functionality” of a repository (IMS (2003) IMS Digital Repositories Interoperability – Core Functions Information Model. Version 1.0 Final Specification. Available here. Figure 2.2 Core Functionality)

If So, Then is This a Repository?

Diigo Employability Group

It almost met our educational community’s use cases!

It provides excellent facilities for sharing resources; discussing resources publicly and privately; tagging resources with group tag dictionaries; generating tag and group feeds to make widgets and resource lists… and so on. Great for networking, and enabled highly non-technical users to get drawn in, because of its excellence as a personal resource management tool.

What About This?

Diigo + Netvibes + An Active Community = 1 x Repository?

Employability Resources for Higher Education in Scotland

Together with the afore-mentioned Diigo and a few other Web 2.0 bits and bobs, this completed fulfilment of our educational communities use cases. The most non-technical of users, with a tiny budget, have been able to learn to create their own portal of constantly up-dated resources and recommended resources, targeted at their own stakeholders.

Important Note Re Links With Formal Repositories
The ECN wanted to include feeds from a number of formal repositories. Here’s what happened:

  • Formal repositories with working newsfeeds:
    • EdShare at Southampton University (we used this as an example but its institutional focus and paucity of employability resources meant it came out of the final Netvibes portal);
    • Anything based on intraLibrary (but only if you can get behind the wall; their current open interface is based on SRU and doesn’t offer feeds out-of-the-box so we didn’t end up with any feeds in the Netvibes Portal);
  • Formal repositories not currently offering feeds:
    • HEA EvidenceNet (but they say they are working on it, and we’ve used their search URL in a webpage widget in meantime);
    • IRISS Learning Exchange is an example of a good intraLibrary repository using their open interface: again, the search URL can be used (but again we only used this as an early example- their weren’t enough relevant resources for the final netvibes portal);
    • JorumOpen for OERs: no way of currently putting a widget into our Netvibes portal.
  • Netvibes SWORD widget: rudimentary right now: not usable for a community like this.

Recommendations to the Repository Development Community

Overall: put educational communities at the heart of requirements gathering and ongoing planning. We all talk a good game on this; it’s amazing what happens when we really do it. And that means putting your most technophobic community members at the centre, and stories from their peers to encourage and inspire them.

First priority: make sure at the very minimum you support newsfeeds robustly and flexibly:

  • Make sure users can easily create standard feeds based on any search/browse/tag/collection;
  • Provide feeds that include user ratings / recommendations / commentary;
  • Make sure they really work!

Second priority: remote, easy-to-use deposit tools (use SWORD!) that can capture metadata;

Third priority: “save/share this resource”.. Especially to email, Twitter, Facebook, social bookmarking / recommendation sites. Again, include support for ratings/recommendations/commentary.

April 11, 2010 Posted by | SHEEN Project Dissemination, SHEEN Sharing Project | , , , , , , | 6 Comments

SHEEN Sharing Launch: Employability Resources for Higher Education in Scotland

We did it. We launched the Web resource created by the Employability Coordinators’ Network over the last hectic, busy, exciting, challenging, fun year of SHEEN Sharing. The Web resource called Employability Resources for Higher Education in Scotland.

We returned to The Teacher Building, venue of our successful SHEEN Sharing dissemination event in September last year. That is a great venue for stuff like this: they have good tech, and on-the-spot support, and great staff, and delicious catering, and a nice building (it’s all about whisky, not education 😉 ).

The day started with a keynote address from Prof. Brent MacGregor, Chair of the SHEEN Steering Group. Cherie Woolmer, SHEEN Sharing’s redoubtable project manager, gave some background from the ECN’s point of view. Then it was over to me for the entire rest of the morning session.

You’ll see my slides at the bottom of this post (which includes links to the relevant resources, including the videos I’ve created to help you use our Netvibes-based site). Gavin McCabe of Edinburgh University got to see himself on the screen as I used the evaluation interview I did with him and Jessica Henderson from Heriot-Watt again. He did get to give his story in full after lunch this time though! I also used audio clips of Fiona Boyle of Queen Margaret University and Gopalakrishnan Premalatha (Prema) from the University of Abertay to present even more voices from the ECN. This was their project, their vision and it is important to hear their voices.

Having shown people the new site, we made some laptops available at lunchtime for people to have a play around with it themselves. The feedback we got was great: people said it looked clean and interesting and was easy to navigate (once they’d seen the short introductory videos). And people reported already finding new resources and ideas, just in that short time.

After lunch, we had a panel presentation from five people from the ECN: Cherie Woolmer (Strathclyde University); Gavin McCabe & Ruth Donnelly (University of Edinburgh); David McCall (UHI Millennium Institute); Jonathan Culley (Stirling University). Each of them presented for about 10 minutes on their learning journey through SHEEN Sharing, and the impact the project has made on their work and their professional development. We finished with questions and discussion about the future: people were keen to disseminate the resource and the learnings from SHEEN Sharing into as many communities as possible.

There was a general vibe that, not only had we created a good place to find quality employability resources, but we’d also found out a lot about harnessing and developing a small community of practice, to ensure their quick growth and dissemination of their work to a wider audience. And we’d done it all on a shoestring, using only free Web-based tools. In fact, there was some suggestions that flying so low under the radar of top management and university policies was what enabled us to do such a good job in such a short time. No worrying about IPR and metadata schemas, even long-term technical sustainability or anything.

So, here are my slides (or here on SlideShare): you’ll see in here how to use our new Web resource, and also how we got here. I’m hoping to convince Cherie Woolmer to do a brief post as well, with her take on the day and what we’ve achieved.

View this document on Scribd

February 9, 2010 Posted by | SHEEN Project Dissemination, SHEEN Project Events & Meetings, SHEEN Sharing Project | , , , , | 4 Comments

Top hats & trainers: traditional repositories vs. Web 2.0 resource sharing? SHEEN Sharing at EdShare Workshop

Well, I should have blogged on this last year. But our beloved SHEEN Sharing is drawing to its official close, and I’m tidying up some loose ends. I want everything to be available on this blog for future reference.

So, last year, the JISC-funded EdShare project, based at Southampton University, put on a workshop designated “Traditional educational repositories vs. Web 2.0 sharing” and invited some people from relevant projects. Are formal repositories for sharing teaching and learning materials a thing of the past, now that we have so many fabulous Web 2.0 tools to use for resource sharing?

Now, I have a good relationship (I hope!) with some EdShare folks, primarily Debra Morris, who was organising the workshop. I was just drooling over the agenda for the workshop and wondering how I could swing an invitation to present on SHEEN Sharing, when Debra emailed me and invited me to present … on metadata! Well, I am a metadata-phile in my other professional life, but I told her all about what I really wanted to share at this workshop: what I, a repositories “expert”, or at least, very-experienced-person, had discovered about resource sharing while working on SHEEN Sharing. Debra and the other EdShare people were kind enough to say yes when I said “No, I don’t want to present on that, I want to present on this…”.

The slides I presented at this workshop are below. You can also find them on SlideShare, if you prefer, here.

I was simultaneously presenting to fellow formal repositories experts, and to a group that I thought was trying to say that Web 2.0 is taking over the role of repositories. So I was nervous. Also, it was the first time I had presented on our work on SHEEN Sharing outwith the employability / HEA / Scottish HE context; in fact, right in the heart of a more long-standing professional community of mine.

But it went great! The other presentations, and the workshop discussions were fascinating and juicy. Everyone had a keen interest in discussing and exploring, and they seemed pleased and fascinated with SHEEN Sharing’s findings. And my key messages were well received (and repeated in other presentations): that repositories and informal Web 2.0 sharing are complementary and serve different but overlapping use cases; and that repositories developers and managers must be mindful of supporting integration with Web 2.0 tools, for the sake of supporting the kind of informal, transient, and non-techie educational communities they serve.

Debra Morris wrote an excellent summary of the day here. You can just see the back of my head in one of the photos. Thanks again Debra and EdShare for this opportunity to allow SHEEN Sharing to contribute to the educational repositories community!

Here are the SHEEN Sharing slides from the day:

View this document on Scribd

February 9, 2010 Posted by | SHEEN Project Dissemination, SHEEN Sharing Project | , , , , | Leave a comment

Our Netvibes Page Inspires a University Careers Service: Can They Inspire You?

What with SHEEN Sharing having visibility on Twitter and Diigo and the blogosphere, we’ve picked up a few followers from outwith the ECN, which is great.

We got a very kind Tweet today on Twitter from Darren Jones at the University of Sussex Careers and Employability Centre.  BTW: you can see they are already pretty au fait with Web 2.0: they use a blog to update their main page with big news (see under ‘Latest News’), and their Twitter account to give short pithy updates (scroll down a bit to see an embedded Twitter widget from their @sussxunicareers account), both embedded in the page.

Anyway, Darren likes our Netvibes page and is experimenting with using Netvibes to create a student careers page at Sussex.  Here it is.  You’ll notice he’s chosen to divide his tabs by subject area. Check it out!

I’ve bookmarked this in our Diigo Employability Group.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Employability Resources, Microblogging, Resource sharing sites, SHEEN Project Dissemination | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Your Blog Moderator Has Two New Employability Resources Published

Besides SHEEN Sharing, I’ve been working on another project since about May 2009, where I’ve been researching and writing some Web stories about the use of certain data services in undergraduate learning and teaching.  These are real world data services provided to the UK research community by the Mimas at Manchester University.

The thrust of these stories has been about the value of using real world data to teach real world skills to students, as a way of both deepening their understanding of their subject area, and increasing their employability in a number of ways.

The research I’ve done, which has involved interviewing academics at various universities and colleges, will be developed into more detailed case studies later this year and published on the Web.

In the meantime, here are two small taster news items about this research.  I did the research and much of the writing on these, but they have been edited and polished up admirably by the Web authoring team at Mimas.

Census data – from the real world, for the real world

Capturing and collating UK census data, the Census Dissemination Unit (CDU) connects researchers, analysts and decision-makers with high-quality statistical outputs. This real-world data is also of great value in learning and teaching – as students and teachers in human geography at the University of Leeds have discovered …

Helping economics students ‘keep it real’

ESDS International provides real-world economic data for a wide range of researchers, analysts and decision-makers. Today, this data is also being used in learning and teaching, bringing considerable benefits to students, teachers and society as a whole. Here, we focus on how Nick Weaver of The University of Manchester and Paul Turner of Loughborough University are using this data to teach applied econometrics to undergraduates and Masters students …

I’ve bookmarked both of these on Diigo and shared them with the Diigo Employability Group.

October 15, 2009 Posted by | Employability Resources | , , , , | Leave a comment

Improvements and Updates to Netvibes Site: Feedback Please!

Our Netvibes site is the public face of SHEEN Sharing’s original remit: the one-stop-shop, virtual repository/portal type thing that presents a range of quality employability resources, as planned and hoped for when SHEEN Sharing was originally funded in January 2009.  It displays selected resources by using feeds out of Diigo, from our Diigo groups and tags, and other Web-based feeds and resources.

Now, as it currently stands it is a sandbox / demonstrator site, mainly designed by me with some help from Cherie Woolmer at Strathclyde University.  I am not an employability co-ordinator, so I have used quite a bit of creative licence in trying to imagine the kinds of things the ECN will eventually want to go into the site.  It will be much easier for folk to say “not that, this” than to try and think of things from scratch.  So please keep that in mind when you have a look!

Even with this in mind, I have learned a lot since January 2009, and received a lot of feedback.  So, before we even get to the bit of the project extension where the ECN sits down and hashes out what it wants its Netvibes to look like, I have made a range of improvements and updates, as follows:

Google Scholar Resources Gone 😦

I had to remove all the fabulous Google Scholar feeds.  We used a wonderful Yahoo Pipe that enabled me to do a search in Google Scholar (e.g. “employability AND eportfolios”, resources published after 2006) and create a feed in Netvibes that showed the up-to-date results of that search.  Google Scholar of course only lists peer-reviewed publications, so this was a very rich resource.  However, Google does not allow this kind of feed and they have now blocked this Pipe and others like it from working.  Boo!  However, I have added a Google Scholar search box here.

EvidenceNet Searches: A Holding Pattern Until They Get Their Feeds Sorted

We are waiting with baited breath for the awesome HEA EvidenceNet repository to start providing feeds of specific searches so we can pop some of these into our Netvibes tabs.  So, we hope to be able to search for resources, or events, in EvidenceNet, e.g. with the topic “personal development planning”, get a feed for that search result, put it into Netvibes and thereby always see the most up-to-date list of evidence-based UK resources or events.  We know they are going to provide this, they just haven’t yet.  In the meantime, I’ve worked out that you can just use the URL of a search results page, and put that into Netvibes as a Web page, and get a rather clunky but still usable display of said search.  See here and here and here and here and here.

Delicious Feeds on Work Related Learning: Thanks Glasgow Caledonian!

I discovered some juicy resources tagged on Delicious with “work_related_learning”, so, in the absence of anything immediate on Diigo, I added a feed for that Delicious tag here (along with an above-mentioned EvidenceNet search page).  Shout out to Allison Littlejohn and team at Glasgow Caledonian for many of these!

New Version of Diigo Allows Group Tag Feeds: Cocurriculum Resources Tagged by Employability Group

Felt much joy when I realised Diigo had fixed a previous problem in their new version: I now have an example of a Diigo feed for a specific group tag (resources tagged “cocurriculum” by the Employability Group) here.  This will be great when we come to adding tag dictionaries to our Google Groups.

New Voluntary Sector Tab with Reflective Student Blogs from SHEEN Placements

Created a new Voluntary Sector tab, which has the feed from the SHEEN Placements blog in it (it’s still there under “Student Resources” too, Fiona, don’t worry!).  It also has the project’s Twitter feed, and individual feeds from the two student blogs accompanying the Samaritans placements set up by the project.

Some Content for International Students Tab

Added a couple of EvidenceNet search pages under the International Students tab, which was previously empty.

Small but Significant: You Can Read the Page Title Now!

Changed the colour of the title text to a much more harmonious and readable shade!

Moving Forward: Netvibes Day in November

Still have some empty tabs, and would like some new and exciting ideas from the ECN about what they’d like to see in the Netvibes page.  We’ll be having a day-long workshop session to hash it all out and make decisions in November, so please keep an eye on emails on the ECN JISCmail list if you want to take part in that.  We’ll use that day to train keen development group members in keeping Netvibes up-to-date after I go, too.

Launch in 2010

And, we’ll be running a launch event in January or February 2010!  So please help us make it as good as we can!

October 12, 2009 Posted by | Bookmarking, Resource sharing sites, SHEEN Project Dissemination, Tagging, Using Newsfeeds | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Improvements to This Blog: Feedback Still Welcome!

During the course of SHEEN Sharing’s initial nine month phase, we received quite a bit of feedback re this blog.

Some of this arose from the original ambiguity about the blog’s purpose.  While we were getting started, this blog was both a dissemination tool for the project, and a sandbox/demonstrator for the ECN to see how different Web 2.0 tools worked.  So, we had not only project news, documents and postings about how to use Web 2.0 tools, but also various feeds and widgets in the right-hand columns demonstrating how other tools and tags could be used to enrich the content here.  Some ECN members were very keen at the start, and tried using the blog to post about things they wanted to discuss with the rest of the network, or employability resources they were interested in.

Now, we are much clearer about what we want to achieve and which tools we want to use for which purpose.  We are using our Netvibes page as our one-stop-shop site, kind of a virtual “repository”, for disseminating quality employability resources to the ECN’s stakeholders.  We are using Diigo for two purposes: one is for co-ordinators to save, share, discuss and disseminate their favourite employability resources, the other is to use Diigo’s excellent social networking tools to provide safe online group discussion spaces.  You can see how using Diigo to save and share resources can feed directly into our Netvibes page with no additional work by the ECN by looking at this tab and this tab.

We are using this blog, plus our Twitter account, to disseminate the SHEEN Sharing project itself.  It will stand as a record of the proecess we went through and what we achieved.

With this in mind, I have removed several of the “sandbox” widgets with feeds from the right-hand columns, and also re-arranged and re-configured the remaining items there in a way that I hope will make the blog easier to find your way around.  Please do have a look and feed back to me if you can suggest any improvements.

I’ve also updated the SHEEN Sharing Project page and several of the Scottish Employability Projects’ pages, to indicate progress made.  In particular, check out the pages:

Sharing Student Experiences Trial Group


Voluntary Sector Project Trial Group: SHEEN Placements

October 12, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Bookmarking, Group Spaces Online, Microblogging, Resource sharing sites, SHEEN Project Dissemination, Social Networking | , , , , , | Leave a comment

SHEEN Sharing Extension to February 2010

Good news: SHEEN Sharing has officially been extended until February 2010.  Our thanks to the SHEEN Steering Group for this validation of the hard work everyone involved has put in so far.

You’ll be seeing some new blog posts coming out here updating you on many different aspects of SHEEN Sharing’s progress.

We’ve been extended to really capitalise on the first nine months of the project.  Now that the ECN are starting a new academic year, and have had tasters of all the cool Web 2.0 things they can do, we want to really start embedding the chosen trial tools and new practices in their work.

When SHEEN Sharing started, the core idea was to end up with a one-stop-shop on the Web to share and find and disseminate and discuss good quality employability resources with a range of stakeholders in and around the ECN.

Our One-Stop-Shop: Netvibes
Our one-stop-shop is the virtual repository for employability we have created using Netvibes:

This repository is still in a “sandbox” phase: the next four months of SHEEN Sharing will be dedicated in part to turning this into a resource the ECN can use, contribute to and be proud to send to other stakeholders.

Contributing Your Favourite Resources: Diigo
The way for ECN members to contribute their favourite resources to the Netvibes repository is through bookmarking and sharing them on Diigo.

This has the added benefit of allowing them to access their own bookmarks from any computer on the Web, and to link in with each other and a wider international community to discuss and share resources.

Catching up on Netvibes and Diigo: Flashmeeting Webinar Later This Month
With the extension of the SHEEN Sharing project until Jan/Feb 2010, we will be having some more Flashmeeting webinars.

I will be hosting monthly webinars, with open drop-in support from 9:00-10:30, and presentations / discussions on particular topics from 10:30-12:00.  The first webinar this month will be for a recap/catchup on Netvibes and Diigo (including an overview of new features in Diigo v4, released late last month).

In addition, Cherie Woolmer and the project development group will be organising a series of employability co-ordinator led webinars to show-and-tell tools and practices that have changed their jobs and lives for the better through SHEEN Sharing.

Further Diigo Trainings: Introductions, Recaps and Diigo-ing Deeper
We will also be running two more Diigo Training days, in November 2009.  Each day will consist of a morning session recapping the original introductory workshop for those who haven’t been able to attend, which can also serve as a refresher for those who would like one.  Each afternoon will be a chance to dig a bit deeper into Diigo for those who have already been using it.  Those who attend in the morning will also be welcome to stay for the afternoon.

NB: Diigo recently released an all-new and shiny version 4.  This includes one amazing new feature: the ability to save an archived copy of a resource you have bookmarked, so if the resource ever disappears you have a copy of it to use in future.  It also includes the feature we’d been eagerly waiting and hoping for: the ability to set up a working feed from a Diigo Group by individual tag (e.g. a feed just for resources tagged “cocurriculum” by the Employability Group).  We’ll cover all this and more for those who want to see it at the afternoon trainings.

Keeping Up-To-Date on SHEEN Sharing
Further information on the above and more will continue to be disseminated via the SHEEN Sharing blog and Twitter account.  Please note that the blog is now totally dedicated to dissemination of SHEEN Sharing as a project: sharing of employability resources by the ECN will continue via Diigo.

The SHEEN Sharing blog can be visited here:
You can subscribe to updates from the blog using the RSS feed here:
Or, you can look at the blog updates on the Employability Netvibes page, in the first tab which is currently devoted to SHEEN Sharing as a project: (see the section in the bottom right: “SHEEN Sharing Blog updates”).

To follow us on Twitter for even more pithy updates, go here:

October 12, 2009 Posted by | Blogging, Bookmarking, Resource sharing sites, SHEEN Project Events & Meetings, SHEEN Sharing Project, Using Newsfeeds | , , , , | Leave a comment

Winners of Evaluation Survey Prize Draw!

Well, we had a very successful and useful evaluation meeting yesterday.  You’ll be hearing more about it soon.  But most importantly, Alison Cook of the Scottish Funding Council not only gave us her time and highly pertinent and useful questions and comments, she also drew the prizewinning names from the hat.

We had offered two £25 Amazon vouchers as prizes, with winners to be drawn from all the employability co-ordinators who filled in the SHEEN Sharing Evaluation Survey.

Well, the rainbow’s end must have touched down over the Highlands yesterday, because the winners are:

David McCall (UHI Millennium Institute)


Jonathan Culley (University of Stirling).

Congratulations guys (you’ll be hearing from me soon) and thanks to everyone who completed the survey- sorry we couldn’t afford to give you all a voucher!

September 17, 2009 Posted by | SHEEN Project Events & Meetings | , , , , | 2 Comments