Take a look at the little cheat sheet in the bottom right once you're logged in, for an easy introduction to the core functionality as well as shortcuts and commands. Also here's a short tutorial (<4 min) to get you going: https://vimeo.com/88334167
You can also explore the knowledge base here: http://docs.metamaps.cc. We'd love to hear your feedback. Don't hesitate to email with any questions, ideas, comments, anything!
UTS:Metamaps, a proposed custom implementation of the free open source platform Metamaps.cc, is a collaborative technology that connects students and academics through Slack communities within UTS via a chatbot, enabling dynamic knowledge generation and capture from chat-rooms and mapping in real-time. It brings together live video + audio + text chat, network mapping + visualisation and a commons knowledge graph to facilitate better conversation and decision-making in complex knowledge ecosystems.
Students converge around topics/issues/domains and use collaborative concept mapping and structured sensemaking processes.The result: increased systems comprehension, better shared understanding, and an evolving knowledge commons for students working in teams on projects – a common project/organisational memory.
UTS:Metamaps is a proposed tool to facilitate student learning around complex systems thinking, collaborative problem solving and modes of inquiry - an environment for structured conversation and knowledge generation, with a Commons knowledge graph.
Through the deployment of an instance of the open source technology Metamaps.cc, UTS:Metamaps will primarily be a resource that aims to:
Network and relate various areas of activity and increase cross-pollination of ideas between students
Create a virtual cafe across students/teams/units where “collision” of people + ideas + issues can occur
Generate knowledge from teams via prompts → feedback to group for effective decision-making
Increase social cognition - greater network density.
Rationale and significance
21st century knowledge ecosystems are inherently complex and difficult to manage over time. Ad hoc networks and organisations struggle with knowledge development, retention and transfer in the collaborative production process. There are clear needs for better tools to scale social cognition. The field of collaborative technology holds the promise of facilitating increased social cognition, the ability we have to address greater complexity and wicked problems. The field is evolving and there is a lot of beta-testing to do.
Metamaps.cc functions as a live sensemaking environment that supports formal knowledge generation as well as informal peer learning, from individual → collective. It offers innovations in Co-presence (real-time audio/video/chat, smart signaling, multiple modes of engagement), a Collaborative hypermedia concept mapping interface and Integrations with existing tools, data sources, etc.
Metamaps can act as the backbone for a collaborative knowledge graph – an accessible and searchable Library of Commons knowledge and digital resources. Other integrations can be built, bespoke, based on requirements. Maps become specific locus points for collision, concepting, conversation. It can be used immersively in collaborative pod classrooms as well alongside collaborative sense-making and knowledge generation in real-time in real-space, using interactive screens, mobile devices and other input interfaces.
Social sensemaking processes are designed for structured knowledge capture, whether in person, in a map or through a chat with a bot - extending concept mapping processes and outcomes from any one input or interface, facilitating various types of engagement in socially constructed meaning making. Outputs of the conversation in the form of systems maps, concept trends, the amount of messages between teams on different topics, and growth metrics of the shared knowledge graph can also be analysed.
Students and academics will be able to use this together as a collaborative ideation and sense-making platform to develop resilient practices within complex systems. In the Bachelor of Technology and Innovation (BTi), the focus of session 2 is around themes of ‘data’ and ‘connecting and networking’, therefore UTS:Metamaps would offer a powerful tool for students to experience these ideas in practice (e.g. in 94676 Technology Lab 2: Connect and Network), and to be used in their own project work (e.g. in 94669 Project: Data-driven Design Challenges). Beyond the BTi, the tool could also help develop graduate attributes in the Bachelor of Creative Intelligence and Innovation and the Diploma in Innovation (e.g. GA1 ‘Complex systems thinking’ and GA2 ‘Creating value in problem-solving and inquiry’.
Metamaps is inherently transdisciplinary in approach – it has a variety of use cases currently including: world-building, strategic foresight, innovation trajectory mapping, innovation challenge design, organisational design, Open Knowledge Repositories (OKRs), user experience mapping and design and more.
UTS:Metamaps can be used virtually or in person in collaborative classroom environments, and used in real-time by multiple participants. Work students have produced online through collaboration can be presented in class. The approach facilitates the idea of bringing together the best aspects of online and face-to-face learning, embodied by Learning.Futures.
Approaches to conducting the project, including timeline
We will use an instance of Metamaps.cc as the foundation for a collaborative knowledge graph of UTS learning networks to facilitate increased social cognition. Metamaps.cc is an open-source (AGPL), graph-based online collaboration platform It has been used with NASA, New Economic Foundation, Conservation X Labs, USC World-building Institute, Learn Do Share, Ouishare + more.
The UTS: Metamaps project will be a pilot. The initial testing will be conducted with staff teams, before making the tool available for student learning in Spring session 2017. The scope of this grant is for:
implementing an instance of Metamaps for UTS.
integrate through API with Slack (a tool to facilitate team collaboration), so that metamaps can generate knowledge graphs based on team interactions in Slack via a Metamapper bot in Slack.
onboard “mavens” for the pilot who will be connected with projects using Slack to help with rollout and weave people, projects, etc.
develop social processes and knowledge generation frameworks via bot to elicit and capture tacit knowledge from individuals in teams through structured sense-making processes and various mediums.
The project timeline is:
Mar-Apr 2017, developing detailed design plans and specification for development work
May 2017, develop a simple sign-up page for Slack + MetamapperBot customisations (lead developer for Metamaps.cc is confirmed to participate)
Jun 2017, open it up to our mavens and weavers, for initial seeding/testing
Jul 2017, roll out specific knowledge generation frameworks
Aug-Oct 2017, develop the knowledge graph through this model for 3 months in practice based learning in C10390 BTi, followed by a period of evaluation (Nov 2017).
Simultaneously, we will hold collaborative co-mapping sessions (hosted) on particular topics at scheduled times, which could be broader than just the BTi students and include anywhere up to 50 people generating knowledge in a room collaboratively. There is also the possibility to feedback the learnings from the knowledge graph during the months of testing.
The project will be evaluated by the project team, students and staff in the effectiveness of engagement, to what extent it influenced cross-team collaboration, how the process can be improved upon in design. There is also an ongoing evaluation process as participants see their existing organisational knowledge reflected back to them every time they use UTS:Metamaps or access the Commons resource.
Communicating progress and findings
Progress and findings will be communicated through the following activities:
engagement of staff teaching in the BTi in Spring 2017, with other interested staff from across UTS;
using multi-team shared project overview spaces during the pilot;
creation of representations of the systemic knowledge, generated into infographics and presentations, for presentations to pilot user groups and FTDI staff, and for use in classes and potentially wider access;
presentations and journeys that we present “through” the Commons knowledge graph at the end of the project will be made at an internal FTDI seminar and the UTS L&T Forum 2017.
Sustainability of project outcomes
From a systems perspective, because Metamaps is a healthy open-source project under active development, it is sustainable as a self-managing platform for the UTS community. UTS can continue to benefit from anything built in the future with Metamaps as it is under AGPL license, and a member of the Collaborative Technology Alliance. The UTS Metamaps implementation will be hosted on the Metamaps server on an ongoing basis.
In the first instance, UTS:Metamaps will be embedded in the BTi Spring 2017 curriculum. Later it can be expanded within the BTi (e.g. session 3 focuses on complexity), but may also be available both within subjects and as a co-curricular tool for students in other courses in the Faculty of Transdisciplinary Innovation and the wider UTS community. There is the possibility for a wider deployment of this based on a successful pilot, which could be used over cohorts of students to build on the organisational memory.
Additionally, since data is easily exported from UTS:Metamaps, analysis can be performed on the entire database dump, including looking at use and collaboration metrics as a possible future project with the UTS Connected Intelligence Centre. Initial conversations have been had with CIC about this future opportunity.
Well, well! A month and a half into 2017 and its never been clearer that we need better ways to get creative and make sense together :-) There's been a lot going on under the hood over the last year on Metamaps.cc. If you haven't been watching closely there's a lot to catch up on! Some of you might have noticed, but in case they slipped by you - Metamaps.cc now has:
Real-time audio + video + text chat within maps
Shared maps with invited collaborators and access requests, publicly and privately.
Starred maps (like 'favorites' that you can easily return to)
Markdown formatting (including images) in Topic descriptions
Import/Export maps via .CSV and JSON files
Some other highlights include updated documentation and tips for using the platform (docs.metamaps.cc) and the launch of our API for developers (metamaps.cc/api). There's some exciting features coming this year that we're busy designing and prototyping, like map edit notifications, map history and new mapping modes that make it easier to work with our growing body of shared knowledge (discover, remix, present, and more).
Over the next few months you might notice that an interface element has changed, or something doesn't work like it used to. We're constantly working towards a more intuitive mapping experience, so enjoy the evolution, and don't hesitate to let us know what works and what doesn't.You can join the discussion, share ideas, and provide feedback in our new online community on the emerging Hylo platform!
If you're interested in the ever-evolving roadmap for Metamaps, comment or vote on our open trello board. We work on Metamaps as a distributed team in a radically open way, so If you want to track the work or get involved and contribute, you can visit our workspaces at Trello (for design) and Github (for coding).
We are so grateful to every single one of our beta testers (that means you!). We appreciate the patience and feedback you're able to provide us. We deeply believe in the potential of Metamaps and the ideas, processes and theory behind it, not only to help individuals and groups think better together, but also to produce real and necessaryproductive social change. Thanks for being part of this grand experiment in collective intelligence.
If you have the time, please reach out and say hi - we'd love to hear from you on Hylo, at email@example.com or @metamapps on Twitter; your feedback and support is essential to guiding our direction in 2017 and beyond.