Web 2.0 is a term coined to describe a set of new applications that enable communication and sharing of resources via the web without the intervention of a centralized authority's approval. Wesleyan is interested in how this new type of web publication can be used to serve the Wesleyan community, and how these new applications relate to our already existing web communication practices. See http://docs.google.com/Doc?id=df2dswdk_115c6d7vn for a draft overview of this project.
Our goal is to launch enterprise-wide instances of these applications for Fall 2007. Here's the timeline that will allow us to pull this off.
There are a wide-array of software applications that together constitute what is known as Web 2.0. We want to use this page to look at these various applications, and to develop our own internal requirements that will allow us to decide which of these types of applications we want to host internally, which externally hosted applications we wish to recommend. We also want to document innovative uses of these applications at our other institutions and in other web publishing contexts as a way of helping Wesleyan decide which applications are important, and how they might be used to meet our institutional goals.
Blogs, short for Web Logs, are class of web applications that allow people to post materials via the web. This material is typically organized chronologically, and also provides a set of categories that allow people to browse the blog by category. Blogs work in conjuction with RSS, which is a format for publishing blogs via a feed that readers (and other web applications) can subscribe to. The link leads to pages that document our requirements for blogging software, evaluates various blogging applications against these requirements. Below you will find examples of how blogs are used at other institutions and in other contexts as a means of helping us understand how Blogs might be useful at Wesleyan.
RSS is a format for publishing blogs via a feed that readers (and other web applications) can subscribe to. The link leads to pages that describe various options for reading RSS feeds, lists RSS feeds presently published at Wesleyan, and links to various indexes of the growing number of RSS feeds available from outside sources.
Wikis are group-editable web pages. (This is a wiki.) They provide an easy way for people from multiple locations to see and edit a set of documents. While some wiki software have sophisticated access-control systems, some wikis are wide-open, allowing anyone who connects to that wiki to edit pages, and to add new pages. In the page linked above, we will be developing a set of Wesleyan-specific requirements for wikis, and evaluating a set of wiki applications that we might provide to the Wesleyan community. Below we will also link to examples of how wikis are used in teaching, research, and other adminstrative communications.
Social Media is the sharing of audio and video and other media files by way of a blog or some other application. In the case of podcasting, The resulting publications can be 'read' either at a computer or often on an .mp3 player such as Apple's iPod. We are presently running a pilot project with a small group of Wesleyan faculty to see how this technology fits into instruction. We'll be looking at the various hardware and software systems that enable members of the Wesleyan community to produce podcasts, as well as analyzing the workflow that will allow this to be something that can be done efficiently. (There are also legal issues surrounding copyright that we will need to attend to.) Other social media projects may also emerge.
Social Bookmarking is a web application that allows people to share and classify links to useful web resources via a centralized website. There are a wide-array of such services available, and in the page linked to above, we'll be looking at these various services, and exploring whether or not it makes sense to install a Wesleyan-specific instance of such software. Below we'll be recording links to examples of how social bookmarking is used in higher education.
Web-based email has been around for a while now, but the 2.0 generation of web-based applications offers alternatives to the whole range of desktop productivity tools (such as Microsoft Office). Web-based word processors, spreadsheets, presentation tools, databases, and even web editors are often free (or inexpensive). They are generally less powerful than their desktop forebears, but have distinct advantages when it comes to versioning, collaboration, and digital publication.
As part of the project of investigating these new technologies, we need to also take time to consider how these new tools might interact with our existing client-based web editing environment (e.g. frontpage and golive), and how we might shift people away from client-based editing to browser-based editing. We don't expect to come to any firm conclusions on this in the short term, but it is important to be considering the entire authoring environment for all of these evaluations. (Note: Since Microsoft will no longer support frontpage extensions in the not too distant future, this is a conversation we need to be having anyway, regardless of our web 2.0 project.)
There is a whole new vocabulary for web 2.0. We're making a list of web 2.0 terms to help all of us learn these new terms.
This is a working list of requirements that we want to consider for any Web 2.0 application
Nice but not absolutely essential
Here you will find links to readings and other Web 2.0 resources.