Shirley's Journal

I'm an online facilitator, currently working on the Ultraversity workplace degree programme. This is my personal journal and you are welcome to leave comments on the entries.


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Wednesday, January 21, 2009
Policy and Practice

Somewhere between IT policy at institutional level and student-facing practice there is a black hole that sucks in everything within reach. The black hole contains an alternative universe where little escapes. I have just been reading an internal evaluation, and my strongest impression is that the findings and recommendations are not likely to have much impact on my job, but will create jobs for people who might, in a worst-case scenario, attempt to limit my digital creativity.

One of the problems with IT policy in a naturally conservative, hierarchical and bureaucratic organisation is the lack of flexibility and responsiveness. By nature, IT is a fast moving area where we can expect innovation and change. The evaluation aims refer to change in the educational environment, but there is little evidence of recognition that change is a key feature of technology.

I guess I'm in a minority (along with my colleagues) who are empowered by technology. High priority is given in the report to providing support, mainly so that lecturers can do their jobs. Perhaps this will work, although past experience does not offer much hope. The university probably needs to model support on how it might like courses to be delivered, using all the IT tools in staff development. Of course there will be problems - but many of these will be the same problems that lecturers face in online delivery of courses.

Over the last year, one of the most welcome changes in the way I work has been the acceptance by the Faculty that meetings should make use of video technology to enable virtual .participation. There is still some way to go in making this a fully interactive experience, but it is a good start. For the Learning Technology & Research team, this is not new and we have already had experience of more fully interactive meetings - but it is new for the Faculty.

Posted at 11:35 am by shirley

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