Carrick, Web3D and Sustainability

I’m lucky enough to be involved with a Carrick funded project looking at how to integrate 3D immersive technologies into university education. My fellow project team members have already been put through the uplifting experience that is my pessimism. I’m quite sure that experience was enough for them to reconsider the value of having be involved.

In doing some reading for my PhD thesis (yes I am procrastinating by writing this post) I came across a paper titled Sustaining model systems of educational activity: Designing for the long haul.

It includes the following

In a certain sense, the answer to the question of why successful innovations fail and have constantly to be reinvented was already well known: institutions welcome innovations so long as they are compatible with institutional goals and are supported by external funds. But the host institutions do not integrate the innovations into their core activities, so when the extra money goes, so does the innovation.

Which nicely summarises my fear about the Carrick project and consequently, in order not to be seen as a whinger, it is necessary to come up with some brilliant ideas to prevent this from happening.

So, being a typical academic lets borrow the collective wisdom of much smarter people.

Reading further down the same paper you find the authors discussion how they really don’t know any “universal” ideas to ensure sustainability. They do, however, suggest that they have identified some critical events that influence sustainability.

These include

  • Surfacing of incompatibilities.
    The partners in the project, as they go further into it, realise that there exists some incompatibilities between the project requirements and their capabilities. In terms of the Web3D project I think the major challenges here are around the use of 3D immersive environments. I’m not sure we know just how complex embedding them into a course is and how well the staff and students will take to it. You can guess, given that I’m a pessimist, what I think.
  • Dynamism negatively influencing sustainability.
    The very short memory span of institutions lead to the original reasons for the project disappearing or no longer being important.
  • Dynamism positively influencing sustainability.
    Ad hoc events can also help.

Isn’t that hugely insightful? Oh well, wasted some PhD time. Procrastination achieved.

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