Sunday, October 23, 2011

Managed change an oxymoron; managing change and technology in Higher ed #change11

My summation and response to
Tony Bates 16 Oct 2011 recording

There is/ or is there - a general failure to manage technology well in our institutions?
Tony Bates asks if change needs to come inside or does it need to come from outside to transform the HE sector
I think his questions would be better instead of asking does it come from here or there to have a more ant informed analysis: Where does change come from, or just what is going on here?
The question below the surface will always be about whether this is for good or bad also...should money be spent if we cannot even say what it costs to do this...
An obviously situated question which is of course going to have as an answer "it depends"
Perhaps Mols question shift from can we prove, to can we improve would have been a good one.
And this does tend to be his approach as the talk continues
A diversion: use of death by bullet point in his slides could be enhanced please here's an oldie but goodie by Seth Godin on really bad ppt

Regarding if its from the inside or outside, the audience answered with:
Educators not always good at leading change (Jenny)
Faculty, HE or academics, with no will to change
Needs to disturb the inertia

Technology major change in HE has been massification
Lots of students not high flyers: in HE we are not teaching an upper 5 0r 10% of elite students, we are having to teach therefore rather than just having the students learn and therefore we need to consider how delivery occurs

The techy web 2 gives learner much more control
Whether inside of institution or not
Going to campus hasn’t changed much
Institutions needs a fundamental rethink

Techy management in 6 unis spain and italy, and another 6 case studies
And online strategic plans form 36 institutions, carried out over several yrs

There were very different approaches,
Also some common features- but overall more common than different

Crude analysis-
How many profs students use lms
Lecture capturing
Enhance classroom teaching was what unis identified as a third strand
The classroom teaching good: we want the techy to make it better,
Core techy using were lms
Conclusion, institutions conservative but adding cost with no added learning benefit
As there is a large increase in cost with putting in techy

Leadership and planning, success marked by:
Senior management team speaking from same page, the impt of techy as core for future, shared vision
Measurable strategic goals
Increase flexible delivery, anytime, anyplace
Development of 21 c skills, ability to imbed it skills in relevant subject area (in my uni eg having skills for searching, working in wikis)
Improving cost effectiveness not said anywhere, yet up to 40% of budget going this way

Need for planning at several levels, particularly at programme level, he believes this most important level as students often come in as dependent level, but that they should be able to leave as more independent, and this can only occur at the programme level not from on high and not at individual lecturer level

Projects that fail: they run out of steam and or dependent on one person
Committees tend to be advisory not able to be employed
Learning tech units, building larger and larger as faculty don’t have the pedagological skills to know what to do
Individual instructors piecemeal approach, programme level not coherent

Best practices
Often worked to have a high level committee with sub committees
(how this was studied, who was asked??? Im going to assume students were not asked, seemed a lot of policy analysis and a lot of being told what goes on rather than seeing what goes on. Again, an ant observational approach could have enhanced the data capture)
Often cannot implement without infrastructure
Clear mandates for committees and resources to make things happen
Formal channels of communication
All in all as Tony does identify this is an industrial model (for a non industrial context on a non industrial topic! Such irony)

A lot of innovation never beyond small scale mobilisations, person dependent
Exploration+ resourcing+ pilot+evaluate+evaluate +spread but most institutions did not have a strategy of this

Governance decision making all over the place
IT structure, core decisions having major impact without academic inputneed clear lines of decision making, mandate oriented

He argues for a diffusion of innovation approach throughout the institution.
(Hmmmm, top down, managerial, with direct and control overtones, as he said before, an industrial model, but maybe forgivable given institutions are still in a way back way of operating...)
With core decisions at programme and he says increasingly by students (but has not said how)
Formal quality assurance processes surprisingly the unis that had these were often not best at integrating IT
Better ones, programme level working up with media designers,

Really interesting Q:
What’s the cost, more or less expensive for an online course vs a classroom one.
What we know is we don’t know!

2 main costs:
Instructor time
How much instructor support

Ways to control costs
Redesign, transfer work to students
Eg students collect data, wk collaboratively
(my own eg is students use of peerwise, writing their own exam, giving feedback to each other)

What would be better also:
Preservice training = none did this. Teacher training often assumed, yet having a phd as basis for entry to academia has an emphasis on research not teaching.
No one taught to teach is the general culture (made worse by positively discriminating toward research and against teaching)

A Socratic myth, 6 bright rich students, one Socratic expert all under a linden tree
It simply doesn’t exist
We haven’t moved from idyllic, it cannot be

We don’t have a good reward system for teaching

Lack of training as they only have the model they had as students themselves
Lack of admin knowledge
All creating systemic barriers to change

(like the way he keeps going into discussion with the 30 or so people present in this online session)

Ideas from the audience:
Kahn model, still it doesn’t alter for students to be participatory
Opportunities for making learning informal but accreditation restricts this
Use video much more
Global accreditation system
Flipping the lecture- use capture, then ask students to come in after, but doesn’t really change the model
Look at what students need to do on campus that is critical, and what they could do online

Interest area of Stephen Downes: How this sort of advice might work outside of an institutional context, eg for a mooc? Where there is distributed learning rather than an institutionalised focus.

Tony's response: Some people don’t need or want accreditation as lifelong learners, I wouldn’t be on it if I didn’t think it was useful for my learning
But many need the accreditation, and therefore a portfolio rather than a transcript but employers don’t recognize the importance of that

Huge investment in current accreditation processes
Most unis would not support mooc as a business plan

And then it stopped working, the mp3 I mean, just as Jenny was asking a question.

My overall feeling, ANT would be a better approach to the concerns, it really needed some empirically based observation versus the information told from a management centred data collect.
Ant approach could disrupt the power of a management centric approach, and perhaps inform ways that things might be otherwise, from any level in such a network.
Noting the systemic barriers provides opportunity to also chip away at the shape of things, because these barriers take work in being sustained, and that such chipping away can also occur anywhere in the network, not just from the top.

Managed change an oxymoron: we never know where it will take us.
The changes keep happening faster than we can ever catch up.
The best we can hope for is to mediate the damage as we move toward hopes and avoid fears.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

To be or to have

From Graham Harman (2007). The importance of Bruno Latour for philosophy. Cultural Studies Review, 13(1), 31-49.

Latour’s metaphysics is utterly democratic. Atoms and quarks are real actors in the cosmos, but so are Fidel Castro, Houdini, and unicorns. We cannot declare a priori that certain actors are more real than others; all we can say is that some are stronger than others. But this strength is never measured solely in the currency of human struggles for dominance, since animals, stars and brute subatomic matter are engaged in the struggle for reality no less than are Machiavellian cabals. (p.35)

Fact or fiction, real or unreal, and perhaps also good or bad; there is no difference except in as much as there is power in being aligned powerfully.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

What I learn from technology - Distributed agency #Change11

I started responding to Jeffrey Keefers post at Silence and Voice that was prompted by Alison Littlejohn's paper for #changes 11 and would have said in response to the conversation occurring turning Alison's response on its head: can individual learning ever really exist? Things have to intersect dont they for new things to occur? But in such intersections, what other collateral realities are being done?

My pre-identified area interest in #change11 is to learn of the non-human actors, having committed to being an ANT groupie, and so following my own learning agenda- but having been touched y a collective learning forum of this mooc - i go off like Alice down another bunny hole...

Media literacies suggest the need for understanding that media has influence (McLuhan, Meyrowitz), and in education, teaching and learning understanding CCTs is to understand that they are more than tools (Turkle, Bigum and Rowan, Lanksheare, Bennet, Nespor)

Knowing what a techy does or can do lets me respond with more or less trust in the process.
Knowing of computer generated images means i make a judgement call on the veracity of what is projected. If i dont know how the techy has influence i dont make this call.
Manipulating the influence of the techy i can 'trick' others into believing things more or less. Used to be i could produce a word processed doc and my boss would be in awe- such days have passed :) But formality can appear persuasive.
In watching the Blair witch project, reality is conveyed by deliberately downplaying the polished product.
And so i would argue yes the technologies demand new knowledge, for they shape us.

The meme as discussed by Susan Blackmore suggests a cultural evolution has occurred, and the meme of technology is that it requires humans to breed....that which is imitated, and spread, a meme not an idea but that which is copied, imitated and altered as it transfers from person to person, why do they spread? because such meme ideas are selfish information that will spread if it can. So what is in the environment that makes breeding of new ideas more and less possible.
Is getting a new replicator dangerous- to carry an idea, getting a new carrier of knowledge is dangerous? Does google or other network engines shape what i have access to? yes.)

In teaching and learning, and in health, if i seriously take a web 2.0 approach, then i need to consider the influence of working in a participatory culture, wont that shift my expectation of not only what i learn...but how? Would it not also influence what assessments might be involved if assessment drives learning?

Is it dangerous to a planet to be so technologically shaped? Arguably it has done some horrid things to education. Globalised learning that can deny the import of local content. Testing of knowledge by MCQ tests because the machine can mark this. Teaching by ppt because it can be disseminated to the masses...
That my colleague can be made redundant because i can be teleconferenced out to four sites concurrently...

And for my own studies, what happens when the techy shapes the counselling, well it also shapes the roles as well as identities of those in the network. Passive actors are shown as much more active than commonly construed. If agency is seen as a distributed activity, how then also might this lead to altered conceptions of empowerment and of emancipation; to altered conceptualisations of what it is to learn collectively...

I dont have time for witty ness right now, nor for tidying up the blog today, this one's just another rough scribble
I have a conf paper that demands my attention, a deadline to meet.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

On being found by Schrödinger's Cat

Schrödinger's Cat >^.^<
No cats were harmed in the making of this blog.
Nor apparently in the following video....or at least not in my current universe.!
Thanks to loadedphysics for this great rendition on youtube

The most commonly held interpretation of quantum mechanics is the Copenhagen interpretation[5] In the Copenhagen interpretation, a system stops being a superposition of states and becomes either one or the other when an observation takes place.... so looking makes it so >^.^<

In another galaxy far far away... the many-worlds interpretation holds both alive and dead states of the cat persist after the box is opened, but are decoherent from each other. Multiple realities/ distributed realities with no capacity to coexist. Just needs a timelord to travel between them...

Alternately: The relational interpretation makes no fundamental distinction between the human experimenter, the cat, or the apparatus, or between animate and inanimate systems. The cat observes the human, and not till the box is opened do the realities collide. The relational interpretation allows that different observers give different accounts of the same series of events. More than this though; for they live different accounts (or not as the case may be).
Distributed realities but with potential to talk between them.

And so yes, reality is multiple but does not have to be conceived of in the far far away type renditions.
And in the collateral realities of scientific research how come the cat is the one in the box?
How come the experiment is not about happy cat getting a cheezeburger rather than a bomb or radiation poisoning?
Where was the ethics panel and what were they thinking?
If the same experiment might even have been imagined in a way less harming to cats wouldn't that have been a better idea?
And why stop there? The box also has a position played out but not voiced in the typical scenario.
I note that blogger would not let the cat >^.^< appear in the subject line. Sometimes the technologies talk to each other and dont converse with the actors that those of us who are human centric tend to orient toward.