I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that I’ve embarked on some sort of ramshackle process of evaluating what we’re doing in terms of Ed. Tech and design with some of my fellow Ed Techs and Designers in the colleges and central team. This is with a view to finding ways to work together better, build relationships and ultimately make some recommendations to the high ups that may or not be acted upon. (At the very least I’m optimistic that people on the ground will communicate and collaborate better and with a renewed clarity)
In some ways, we’re racing the clock, as our VC has started his consultation tour as the first part of his review/reform/something process. Best case scenario is that we’ll be able to feed our findings/opinions/fervent wishes into his process and change might be kickstarted. Worst case is – well, let’s not think about that. Something with dragons and ice zombies or something.
So we had our second discussion today and were able to successfully identify six core themes with some attendant issues and questions to press on with for more in-depth investigation. The goal is to try to come up with something tangible for each theme every two weeks, through a combination of online and in person discussions. This will ideally give us a greater sense of what we’re about (I hate to use the term mission statement but perhaps something less aethereal) which will inform some revised terms of reference for our lower level parts of the ed. tech governance structure. (This is where I’m expecting the greatest resistance but who knows.)
These are the themes that we have arrived at. (If you feel that we’ve missed something or over-estimated the importance of something, please feel free to leave a comment.)
Language and philosophy/vision:
Is it eLearning, blended learning, technology enhanced learning (and teaching), online learning or just plain old teaching and learning? Why? Are we about education innovation or education support? (It’s not simply about the language either – this can be quite political).
What are we ultimately trying to achieve for the learners, the academics, the university, etc?
Are there a set of key principles that guide us?
How do we define, encourage and support best practices in teaching and learning? (And in other areas?) How can we best serve teachers and learners? Is it strictly about the cognitive, pedagogical aspects of teaching and learning or do other factors need to come in to the training and advice that we offer including accessibility, equity and pastoral care?
What can we do as humble (yet expert) professional support staff to be listened to? How do we take a more substantive role in the decision making processes that directly affect us?
Communication and collaboration:
What can we do between our various colleges and teams to work together more effectively and share our skills and knowledge? How can we support wider dissemination of ideas in the university and in the wider education design/technology community?
What can we do to build better relationships between the colleges and central teams and to increase understanding of each other’s needs and obligations? Can we simplify the decision making process to streamline approvals for changes and new initiatives?
How can we make the elements of the existing governance structure work more effectively together and better utilise the resources available?
These are some sensitively phrased questions and ideas to get started – this process is going to be complicated by virtue of the range of different stakeholders with competing priorities and differences of opinion will be inevitable. My hope is that by keeping focus on the mutual benefits – and sticking to the discussion topics – progress will be made.
This is the padlet in progress – you should be able to add things but not change them.
[padlet key=’94wa3nemxbx0′ width=’100%’ height=’480′]
(I should mention that some of the themes were inspired/expanded by the discussions in the “Digital is not the future” hack – particularly the question of expertise)