Overall Approach

Strategy and/or methodology and how the work will be structured

  1. Set up

Introduce the DIAL project across the six colleges, meet with key people and establish physical personal presence/connection and working space/hot desk in each college. Create a DIAL identity and make visible online, create a group projects blog, use social media networks, twitter, FaceBook, scoopit, etc to inform and engage the wider audience. Allow for flexibility of use, low-participation levels; allow stakeholders to become familiar with the project in its early stages.

  1. People (all)

Contact existing stakeholders who are currently or have shown an early interest in the DIAL project; these could be staff or students currently in innovative research and progressive practice at UAL. Create a DIAL operational group.

Invite stakeholders to propose DIAL pilot groups (year one). It’s helpful to have nominated ‘champions’ or ‘stewards’ in place to support, nurture and guide the project groups forwards. Encourage group initiator/s (staff and students) to establish content and concept and create an open blog post to communicate their ideas. This methodology reinforces the independence of each group and signifies the grass roots interests who are steering the group. The notion of ‘technology stewardship’ describe by Wenger, White and Smith (Digital Habitats 2009 pp.24-27) as individuals who implement and support the integration and development of communities clearly reflects the DIAL project approach different ‘streams of activity’ undertaken to achieve it. The following descriptive ‘streams of activity’ headers ‘community understanding, technology awareness, election and Installation, adoption and transition and everyday use’ from Wenger, White and Smith (2009). Stewarding technology for communities will help inform approach and method of development of DIAL groups. “These streams can become more or less salient at various times, but they should not to be thought of as a sequence. They mostly run in parallel and constantly inform each other.” Wenger, White and Smith (2009 pp.26)

  1. Institutional / Staff: Work closely with HR, learn IT, web environment and new VLE teams to develop improved systems and resources to support staff development flexible learning approaches.
  1. Staff: Work closely with specific courses & departments to develop improved systems and resources to support and integrate flexible learning approaches.
  1. Students: Work closely with specific courses & departments to improve how students engage and use systems and resources to support flexible learning approaches. Work closely with Student Enterprise & Employability Service (SEE), a new service that brings together the work of Creative Careers, the Enterprise Centre for the Creative Arts (ECCA), Artquest, Own-it and ArtsTemps to improve graduate employability by enhancing presentation skills and professional online identities. Encourage course level activities to integrate these practices into the curriculum.
  1. DIAL offline

The importance of face-to-face ‘on the ground’ action, dialogue and activity is fundamental to the project success and an endorsement of the principles of blended learning approach the project aims to embed. DIAL groups will take a problem based and ‘research by doing’ approach, which is a really useful method for identifying and unpacking the problem. The cycle of planning, observation, open reflection and action against a focused framework allows groups to explore the issues together. Case studies, debates and resources will be developed.

There will be regular debate and forums around the issues presented by the groups. Existing learning studio events will be used as well as special one-off ‘DIAL forums’ addressing the ‘big issues’ including key staff representatives and open debate. The first ‘DIAL forum’ will debate open education and be held during 5 – 10 March, to coincide with OCWC global ‘open education week’.

  1. DIAL online

The DIAL groups will be encouraged to communicate and practice online using social/educational media content communities to exchange ideas, comment, create forums, knowledge and resources. The DIAL site will be open to the web and release OER content and resources, ‘visitors’ will have access and be able to download DIAL material and resources; visitors may join the site on request. Individuals and groups will be responsible for uploading and managing their own content and profiles on the site. DIAL ‘residents’ (DIAL members and group participants will be able to login via LDAP), alumni and industry partners will be invited to become DIAL ‘residents’. Support and collaboration will be fostered via ‘staff led’ fellowships, secondments and projects’, to the mutual benefit of the staff involved and the common good.



  1. UAL Strategies

Align key project themes with existing institutional strategies and initiatives (http://dial.myblog.arts.ac.uk/2012/01/23/university-strategy/ ).

  1. Important issues to be addressed, e.g. interoperability

Important issues to address in the project include the best approach to course interventions; we need to incorporate an understanding of the unique nature of arts education and to respect course staff and students to develop their course in line with their needs and wishes. Boundaries may need to be established and we may need to grow our understanding of courses dynamics.

DIAL communities and groups: what qualifies a community a group, how do we classify a community, groups or individuals, who are the core members and who are the periphery members? Are they communities or Individuals with a common interest, who come together around objects and ideas, common outlooks? DIAL will explore the development of the group dynamic, participation and measure of success. How does cultural change happen?How can we bring about changes in belief and attitude? What’s in it for participants?

The DIAL community as a whole will be a complex and crucial network, the groups must have skills, space and time to grow and develop.

DIAL may encounter contradictions across the subjects, specifically in relation to the notion of ‘Art school’, business and employment. How do we acknowledge and manage the sensitivities of differing perspectives and debate? In the rapidly changing educational contemporary social and political landscape, DIAL may support multiple perspectives on the same subject.

Ii will be important not get too lost or entrenched in the assumption of just using online and digital for everything. The Learning Studio is a good example of face-to-face discussion, http://process.arts.ac.uk/category/discipline/research-practice/learning-studio .

Over the next two years UAL will encounter some intense periods of change to its digital environment and practices, along also with wider social and cultural changes and the ongoing rapid developments in technology.

How do we address the possibility of over-demand for support and participation, if demand exceeds this project’s scope?

  1. Scope and boundaries of the work, including any issues that will not be covered

The project will focus on specific groups, the groups will be made up of a diverse selection of interests, DIAL will support these groups and help draw out synergies across groups.

  1. Critical success factors
  • Senior Management support and buy in
  • Course leaders support and buy in
  • Improve professional identity, surface common interest.
  • Visible change and improvement in staff DL skills in flexible learning (Web 2.0 tools/communication)
  • Impact and change at course level, course changes
  • More flexible approaches to staff development CPD and PPD
  • More flexible approaches developed and integrated at course level
  • Improved communication, awareness and debate regarding UAL DLs
  • Improved support procedures and increased confidence of student individuals who wish to develop a professional online presence
  • UAL clarification of issues regarding impacts and/or benefits of implementing or not DL standardisation procedures and policies for staff and students
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