Friday, November 16, 2007

OUNL learning and working environment (Part 2)

The 5-day strategy seminar on the OUNL learning and working environment for the future is nearing its completion.
  • On Tuesday, we finished the presentations with Bert's contribution on the role of the Ruud de Moor Centre for teacher professionalisation, Huub & Ron's duo-presentation on the service and ICT support centres. Rob concluded with the presentation of the Master in Active Learning, and a heated discussion of the role of OTEC in the future learning and working environment.
  • We then started with the discussion of how we want to further develop and position the OUNL lifelong learning activities (other than the courses and programmes we offer) in our search for a lifelong relationship between learners and the OUNL, with an attractive offering of services and contents.
  • Starting Tuesday lunchtime, we split up in two groups in order to make our visions of the future of our regular (Bachelor/master - BaMa) and our lifelong learning (LLL) offerings more explicit, through scenario's, high level use cases and a domain model. While Kathleen chaired the BaMa group with support from Henry, Rob chaired the lifelong learning group with support from Hubert and myself.
  • We used Google Docs to collaboratively work on documents and used Gliffy for the diagrams. All the sources, working documents and multimedia materials were made accessible through a private Wetpaint Wiki that Rob had set up. Nice tool that, really impressive. The dialogue between the two groups in the last two days was limited to informal moments during lunch or dinner, or after working hours. But we were able to read the working documents that the others were building.
  • Today, while the managers in the LLL sub-group developed a rough business case for the service we chose to develop first, Hubert and I worked on formalising some of the free-text scenarios. We soon discovered that even at such a high level of abstraction, our ideas for LLL services are extremely complex, involving many different concepts and actors. However, the exercise has helped to make the design process more concrete for all participants, and has allowed us to identify some critical issues that still need to be resolved.
  • Whereas the BaMa group had succeeded in taking some distance from the current situation during the development of the scenario's, this turned out to become more difficult as soon as the task became more concrete. For us in the LLL group things were a bit different, as we could start from scratch as it were, and in developing our scenario's the limitations of the current situation were less of an obstacle.
  • For me as a newcomer in the OUNL it was striking to see how organisational obstacles and defensive mechanisms come into play when discussing the practical plans and task divisions of such a large project. There seem to be a lot of unresolved issues between the different entities in the organisation, and I am not sure that good process can be made as long as there are such forceful hidden agenda's. But then I am only a by-stander in this process.
  • Also for the LLL group the management and organisational issues have not been sufficiently dealt with yet, at least not from my perspective. There are issues of overlap with other projects and initiatives, there are issues of development and programming capacity, and so on.
  • I hope that we can end the meeting on a positive note tomorrow noon, and that we can agree on follow-up activities for the next month, that can lead to implementation and management plans that are acceptible to all parties. In my view, a co-ordinated approach is needed to tackle the issues that lie ahead. The ideal situation would be one were all those that are actively involved would work closely together - also literally in close vicinity to each other - to get the critical mass and cross-fertilisation that is needed to pull this major undertaking of.
  • Anyway, we continued working in separate groups, right up until 9:30 this evening - thereby skipping our social event. Yesterday and today the evening only started around 10:00. Henry, Hubert and I would play some billard, and then join the others in the Weinstube for some bread and cheese and a German Weissbeer.

1 comment:

Debi K said...

Thanks for the recent mention. We really appreciate it. Come check out our newly revamped website--we'd love to know what you think, thanks again for the mention
debik at gliffy dot come