All entries for Thursday 12 August 2004

August 12, 2004

Competitions and events get people active

Follow-up to The tournament – a great way of using a blog from Transversality - Robert O'Toole

Interesting to see some people self-organising a competitive event that will be documented in a blog.

I've been thinking more about the benefits of running events and competitions that get people to acquire new skills, try out new things, and even create a product that has ongoing benefits to themselves and others. This is an approach that has successfully been used by the Warwick Skills Certificate to get student more motivated and more involved. I'm now wondering if it would work as well with staff, and even with mixed teams of students and staff to get them to use IT more. Meanwhile, Kay has been thinking of new events that she could run with support from specific deparments. For example, a movie making competition.

Some of the benefits of an event/competition based approach are:

  • instant gratification – usefullness and interest is not dependent upon the immediate utility of the end product, so people are prepared to try out new things and can focus more on skills and team building;
  • can be done in short time-span, with targeted support and team mentoring, less of a commitment, more fun;
  • publicity! – motivates people to take part, raises the profile of the skills and products;
  • little dependence on departmental support, yet could still produce a useful end product, re-useable skills and even institutional change;
  • can cover a wide range of skills, including e-learning;
  • team members can contribute different skills and knowledge, helping each other.
  • the profile and focus provided by an event cuts through all of the communicative and organisational noise that prevents us from getting through to people.

Interesting anecdote from my time as a philosophy student:

Several of us found that we wanted to acquire a range of skills broader than the standard undergraduate philosophy curriculum. We also wanted something that would give us a focus for our work outside of the long timescale of formal modules. So we decided, in a couple of weeks time, we would publish and distribute a philosophy magazine. This gave is a focus to be organized, learn IT and design skills, try out marketing methods, and learn basic business skills. It was a great process. We put together a magazine with an interesting set of contributors, printed and distributed it in bookshops around the country, advertised it, and held a good launch party in the philosophy department.

I suspect that Warwick is a very 'event' focused university. I've talked to a few other students about this and they agree.

The tournament – a great way of using a blog

Writing about an entry you don't have permission to view

What a good idea. Vicky and her friends are having an ongoing tournament involving competitions in:

Pool, Snooker, Risk, Darts, Bowls, Monopoly, Yahtzee, Badminton, Tennis and Poker

This will be documented in the blog. Obviously this is the sort of use that we'd like to encourage. Perhaps Union Societies could be involved? How about halls of residence? Departments?

Is there anything else that we could do to make blogs more useful to support these competitive/social events?

Mark Radcliffe, Kate Bush obsessive

Writing about web page

You see, i'm not the only one! Radio 2 DJ Mark Radcliffe has undertaken a campaign for Kate to appear in public on his show. That may seem about as likely as Lord Lucan reappearing, but as I can personally testify, he can often be seen playing roulette at the Grand Palms Casino in Gaborone. So it must be possible.

Mark has created a 'bushometer' recording recent sitings and evidence for the existence of this mythical beast. Several explanations for her prolonged absence have been raised, including the fact that she is in hiding due to the policies of her father George W. You can vote on some of these theories at the above web page.

Also – i've never listened to Radio 2 before. Am i getting old?