A response to Tony Bates, #change11

Thank you for providing a comprehensive set of activities that enabled me to learn about a pressing challenge in post secondary education. Your webinar and book chapter highlighted the issues. The questions you posed in the webinar helped me think about the path of my own university with respect to managing technology to transform teaching.

You state “I failed to generate a conversation or set of conversations around this topic”. Certainly threaded discussions would have helped in this regard. Although the conversations weren’t many, those that did occur helped me see the many sided ways of looking at this topic. For example, all week long I thought about the Jaapsoft graphic and began to understand the challenges I’ve faced in designing blending learning courses. This one post gripped me all week long!

In terms of your question “Could I have done something that would have resulted in more comments, more discussion and more integration of the discussion in this MOOC”? I want to offer a few comments.

First, managing technology to transform teaching is a highly complex topic. It seems to me that it requires some knowledge of how universities work, the issues facing universities, and the efforts made by scholars to stimulate change in universities. The question “can change come from within?”, requires some consideration of factors related to governance and management of universities. For example, and selectively, with respect to the space occupied by faculty, “perception of influence over decision-making and governance decreases with institutional size…results suggest that faculty governance is eroding…role of Senates has diminished…double impact of the structural bifurcation of career lines between researchers and administrators that has occurred over the last two decades, as well as the increased emphasis and pressure placed on faculty to research and publish” (Scott Metcalfe, Fisher, Gingras, Jones, Rubenson & Snee, p. 168) will influence change from within. These and other factors raised by the authors may well explain why the “change from within” may be fraught with difficulty. Integration of these factors with the points you raised in the webinar and in your writing can be a daunting challenge!

Further, in terms of dealing with your question, I somewhat belatedly wonder if (yet) another technology may have helped us grasp the intricacies of the topic, managing technology to transform teaching. Two years ago I participated in a six-part Issue Mapping webinar series led by Jeff Conklin.

We used a free software tool called Compendium, which, from my experience in the course, requires a steep learning curve. Yet these seminars enabled me to understand issues such as “Should the province of Saskatchewan establish a nuclear reactor?” in a holistic sense, to see the big picture and to consider competing views. As I recall Jeff used GoToMeeing, displayed the agenda for the day, built visuals of issues, explained concepts, and invited participants to control the screen and to join the discussion. It was the most “awesomest” learning experience. Being able to do the back-and-forth talk and to clarify and contribute in-the-moment made a complicated process easier to understand.

Part of your recent post compels me to offer a final comment and perhaps some hope. You say “The inertia and the barriers to change within the public institutions are just too great, unless they reach a crisis point, by which time it is likely to be too late”. Well lets suppose a public institution has reached a crisis point, has, as you mentioned earlier, reached the state of “getting it” and wants to do a bang-up job of managing technology to transform teaching. Well, two weeks ago I participated in a three-day workshop called “Leading Transformation: How to Set up Your Changes for Success” facilitated by Linda Ackerman Anderson. We learned about being conscious of attending to the content, people and process in a change effort and to determining whether the change we sought was developmental, transitional or transformational. The bulk of the workshop was spent on going through a Change Process Model, a roadmap to guide thinking, a navigation system so to speak. This Model starts with an organization “hearing the wake-up call”, or as you stated earlier, the crisis point, or getting it. There are other models of leading organizational change. This is one model that can be used if we are able to be involved in leading change efforts in our organizations. For ChangeMOOCers involved in such efforts the article “Awake at the Wheel: Moving Beyond Change Management to Conscious Change Leadership” gives a good overview.

The Nine-Phase Model Video provides a description of the Change Process Model. Link is at bottom of this page.

With respect to your guiding question for the week, I am leaning towards a “both” answer. Yet most days I am overwhelmed and overjoyed at the many ways of learning outside traditional institutions. Change MOOC is invigorating because participants share resources, ideas and opinions.

Thank you for doing so much of the thinking and writing about managing technology to transform teaching. Your work enables me to see my world in a changed, often challenging, and sometimes troubling way.

Metcalfe, A. S., Fisher, D., Gingras, Y, Jones, G.A., Rubenson, K., & Snee, I. (2011). Canada: Perspectives on Governance and Management. In W. Locke, W.K. Cummings & D. Fisher (eds.), Changing Governance and Management in Higher Education [electronic resource], The Changing Academy-The Changing Academic Profession in International Comparative Perspective Volume 2, Dordrecht: Springer Science + Business Media B.V.

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3 Responses to “A response to Tony Bates, #change11”
  1. Thank you for this useful summary Glenis, and for providing links to some very useful resources!

    Tony

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