In August 2018 City of Glasgow College won a national tender to deliver support for the National Manufacturing Institute for Scotland.
We won the tender on the basis that we were taking a radical approach.
NMIS is to be a distributed centre to support staff in Colleges and Universities across Scotland . Our initial task to simply raise awareness of the development and to develop skills in the sector that would potentially allow staff to share digital learning materials. The focus being on digital learning and teaching skills and industry4.0
Using an instance of Google Education we were able to shape a very unique multi Institutional offer – that allowed sharing across institutional boundaries. We used the resource to build the resource rather than pay for web design or the hosting of a community and a repository.
This started with a conversation with Google – based on premise that if an educational institution could have Google Apps for Education then surely a collaboration of Educational institutions could have their own Google Apps for Education domain and associated services.
We utilised a Google Site – with a community offer , ambassadors could have access a Google account with among other things unlimited storage.
We designed and licensed the platform and resources to be as open as possible while allowing a closed community area , for the sharing of learning and teaching content within the community.
We also licensed it in way that we could hand over the community to new ‘owners’ or back to the community at end of initial introduction phase.
We hit all of our targets through a combination of teachmeets, webinars and compelling content. But we didn’t get quite as far as we wanted.
Our targets were modest – to reach at least 200 staff across College sector with interest in developing their digital skills and interest in new manufacturing techniques Industry 4.0 , and to build an online community of 50 Ambassadors with extended access to the Google Account.
Having proven the model we are now getting approaches from some other groups to deliver similar offerings to them. It works in a public education context.
Over the next few months the original site with its community will be transitioned to the University of Strathclyde who will become the domain owners for next part of the national role out of the National Manufacturing Institute Scotland. We are looking forward to seeing how they continue to develop , particularly the community aspect of the service.
The tale of this initiative highlights what is technically possible and the barriers to building sustainable online communities.