Web Science TV

Prep for WebSci@10

Going through the WebSci@10 running order/Web Science Trust ©2016

At the end of last year, I directed a major 10th anniversary project for the Web Science Trust – the WebSci@10 Live TV Channel – and played an important role in the small team designing and organising the event. My contribution involved working with a range of people; key industry innovators, Internet pioneers, and leading researchers, as well as fellow professionals, event venue staff, and research lab colleagues, to produce 10­hours of engaging content.

I recorded interviews, both face-to-face and via VoIP, with more than 20 contributors, including Martha Lane-Fox, Professor Dame Wendy Hall, Sir Nigel Shadbolt, Professor Daniel Weitzner, and Lohan Presencer. I also communicated directly with academic colleagues around the globe (from Seoul and Singapore, to Berlin and Chicago) commissioning content from the WST Network of Labs, edited many hours of content, and planned the schedule for down to the last second. In addition, I recruited, trained and managed a student production crew to assist with the broadcast and promote the event via our social media channels.

Cutting the Web Science cake

Cutting the Web Science cake/Web Science Trust ©2016

The event took place in the course of one day at the offices of Norton, Rose, Fulbright in central London. Having previously worked with the venues’ staff over the preceding three months to obtain suitable space, on the day of the event I co-ordinated the setting up of a mini-TV studio on their premises. I then directed the professional TV crew commissioned to broadcast the pre-produced and live content throughout the day via our YouTube channel. Our side of the broadcast ended after 7 hours when I handed over to colleagues at Northwestern University in Chicago in the late afternoon. WebSci@10 content can be seen below and on the Web Science Trust site.

Sir Tim Berners-Lee WebSci@10 message What now for Web Science? Web Science at Southampton

WebSci@10 brought together the extensive range of skills I have developed over the course of a long career in broadcast and educational TV production. As well as calling on my extensive practical experience in media production, I was engaged in many varied tasks in the lead-up to the event. These involved nurturing contacts with world-renowned leaders in the field of Web Science; recruiting, training and leading a team of students to assist with a variety of production and social media roles; maintaining mutually beneficial working relationships with the Web Science Trust team, venue staff, and a professional TV crew; guiding culturally diverse contributors towards established, shared objectives (in writing and via VoIP); and negotiating and setting achievable deadlines both face-to-face, and at a distance.

This event came about through my freelance project officer role at the Web Science Trust, which I undertake while working on the full-time PhD programme in Web Science at the University of Southampton. My time as a PhD research student is coming to an end, and I am currently writing up my final thesis which documents and reflects on the Learning Analytics research projects I have undertaken over the past three years. The primary aim of my research is to explore the potential for reliably identifying the presence of learners’ critical thinking within MOOC comment forums, as a possible aid to facilitators, who are often overwhelmed by the large volume of comments observed in many MOOCs. By undertaking research at a high level, my knowledge of the critical debates surrounding online learning has deepened, and has contributed to my understanding of the importance of digital media in this environment.