huddle_logoCurrently I am working as part of a distributed team, which spans several organisations and therefore several internal VLE systems. Trying to join up for co-working and collaboration is then essential to progression. We have decided to tr out Huddle as an environment to enable cross-organisational working. So far, so good. The space is intuitive, have a good range of functions (discussion, wiki, file sharing, meetings, phone conferencing etc) and it’s all under one virtual roof. Huddle is free for one space, and is totally free for charities. The only snag encountered so far is that web-conferencing appears to still be a work in progress, but otherwise it is looking to be a highly functional space. 

As we explore Huddle I am quite keen to explore its potential for use with students. A great strength of this is that it has good functionality but does not sit behind any institutional firewalls. It appears, so far anyway, to offer VLE functionality without a barbed wire strength firewall fence being wrapped around it. 

Pro’s so far for Huddle 


  • intuitive
  • appears to support a community approach to co-working
  • easily managed permissions
  • under one roof functionality
  • good online support for users
  • slick
  • low cost/free
  • potential for work based learners
  • useful for subgroup permissions/workspaces 

Hurray for Huddle (so far 🙂 )

Isolated academics – technology might help?

Last week’s THES had an article relating to the dangers of isolation in academia. 
I do not work in a University building, I work approximately 200 miles from my faculty in Chelmsford. I rarely experience isolation at work. Why? Because through technology I can communicate with a massive range of people, people both like and unlike me. Within the University and outside. In a faculty staff common room the integration is surley limited. Research within universities is so specialised you are, odds on, unlikely to be able to connect and chat through the deepest ideas with colleagues, who have depths in other specialisms. Through the building of communities (formal planned, and informal individual) it is possible to combat academic isolation. To connect minds despite location. This is not to replace face to face in all cases of course but to root out others with common background and engage may erode the isolation inherent to deep research. 

On a more personal level as a young (ish) female academic I would find the common room in some faculty’s/departments isolating I’m sure; sometimes isolation is worse in a crowd! Through the use of technology I can find other like minded, sometimes demographically reassuring connections.