I'VE RETURNED FROM an internal review of major academic programmes with the deep-seated frustration that we fail to execute meaningful collaboration at third level. I doubt my conclusion is unique because I hear the same sort of cross-talk during annual conferences throughout Ireland and the United Kingdom.
I'm pinning a logo on the top of this short blog post as a symbol of a simple mechanism a dozen of my colleagues have used since 2010. The logo comes from Yummy, an iOS app that uses the Pinboard API to share and display bookmarks across the internet. I've given my secret Pinboard address to friends who used to tell me, "Did you see what he said?" Now they simply email me the link with a short subject heading (normally their initials) and I scan their insider information during a quiet time between lectures.
I'm also a fan of Slack--but only for direct messaging concerning timeline events or project taskings. I work inside an Office365 environment but only the outliers use Yammer, Skype chat and OneNote. And because the uptake is so weak, the campus O365 notifications have been disabled so there's no activity pulse point pushing out all the way to handsets.
Back in the days of the Celtic Tiger, we had budgets that accommodated overnight think-ins. Admittedly, those events rarely produced high quality eureka moments but the entire social fabric of collegial interaction seems to have eroded. This has created a silo-based environment which might help researchers dive deep but that sort of environment does not equate to the office dynamic I see around many of Ireland's start-up clusters.
There's certainly a possibility that I'm not seeing the entire picture because I'm teaching more than 20 hours a week across three separate campus locations in two counties. Even so, I've got time-tested listening tools and I'm not picking up the signals normally associated with knowledge workers who are pinging me from across the pond at this very moment with news I can use in the academic programmes I teach.
[Bernie Goldbach finishes his work at third level within the next 1000 days.]