Digital Tools for Collaboration and Dissemination of Content. co_LAB in practice

Jon Holmes | Graham Cooper | James Field
Clive McCarthy | Martyn Thayne | Richard Vickers


co_LAB is the Collaboration Laboratory Research Network, which was initiated by staff from the Lincoln School of Film and Media. co_LAB was designed to explore and develop new approaches to collaborative teaching and learning through the use of networked digital tools, and through the transferral of knowledge, skillsets and teaching styles. Our projects involve working with mixed disciplinary groups of students, utilising discovery-based learning methods to explore issues pertinent to digital culture.

Intensive Workshops

Drone Culture - May 2014

co_LAB’s pilot intensive workshop, which took place in May 2014, featured collaborations from a number of lecturers and 14 second year students from Media Production, Interactive Design and Contemporary Lens Media. There were also collaborations from Dr. John Murray from School of Social Computing, Louise Lawler (L.S.F.M), a virtual lecture from Chris Heydra (The Hague University of Applied Sciences) and a demonstration of the ‘virtual reality’ system Oculus Rift.

The learning objectives of the project include skills in art and media production for 21st century platforms, market research, business planning, pitching, working in multidisciplinary teams and the application of social media services. The project outcomes include the production of a shared online resource, a blog (which would act as a public-facing channel for exhibiting the new ideas and content created during the workshop), and an A1 poster outlining group concepts. These posters were exhibited at ‘As Above, So Below – A Colloquium on Drone Culture’.

@WebWeWant - May 2015

Between the 21-31 May 2015, the co_LAB team ran an intensive interdisciplinary workshop designed to bring together students from across the all three colleges within the University. The call for participants was aimed at Level 2 students and resulted in 10 students from from the School of Film and Media (College of Arts), School of Computer Science (College of Science) and School of Psychology (College of Social Science) collaborating together on a core brief.

The workshop explored how the Magna Carta might be repurposed for the digital age (in the context of civic participation and safeguarding civil rights and liberties). That brief was centred around surveillance culture, privacy and big data. The workshop explored these issues through practice-based research methods, and from different disciplinary contexts, with the aim of engaging the public in critical debate. Student participants were set the challenge to design (and then deliver) a ‘workshop’ and some form of technical installation (featuring the Oculus Rift and other interactive devices) which would be exhibited at the Web We Want Festival at Southbank Arts Centre, London.

Academic Book of The Future - May 2016

Between 9-13 May 2016 co_LAB focussed on the Academic Book of the Future. The group discussed the contention that education requires a radically new paradigm, with creativity and divergent thinking representing key skills for the 21st century. This thinking resonates strongly with the principles of Student as Producer, of which co_LAB is a staunch advocate. The co_LAB workshop model engages learners in what might be considered a ‘community of practice’. Throughout the project students and staff from different academic contexts and backgrounds worked in partnership, learning through discovering together to produce new knowledge and creative responses to the brief.


Networked Tools

Google Drive

  • Only one master document
  • Cloud based
  • Collaborative
  • Used at every stage of the process


  • Online coffee room
  • It's where the students are
  • Asynchronous
  • Informal / formal balance
  • Polls / Like to learn


  • Public Facing
  • Social interaction
  • Networked teaching tool
  • #Twitterbricks

Word Press

  • Public facing Website
  • Blog posts throughout projects
  • List of publications

Our Network

Other Projects

EYA - Online Student Project

Collaboration between mixed international student teams, producing posters which are exhibited during the EYA festival in Graz, Austria.

2016 sees Lincoln working amongst 14 European Universities through this project alone


We are now halfway through the 3 year Erasmus funded project, working in collaboration with 9 other University partners exploring methods of Online collaboration tools and platforms.

Cross-Media Conference 2016 - Magdeburg, DL

Consortium meeting to discuss the next stages of the project which will culminate in a multiplier event hosted in Lincoln 2017.

Created By
Graham Cooper
Created with images by blunkswife - "drive" • astrangelyisolatedplace - "Brainstorming. #facebook" • Antigo Coletivo Mambembe - "Twitter" • Bohman - "WordPress in LEGO: instructions!"

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